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“The Chicago accent was most widespread during the city’s industrial heyday. Blue-collar work and strong regional speech are closely connected: if you graduated from high school in the 1960s, you didn’t need to go to college, or even leave your neighborhood, to get a good job, and once you got that job, you didn’t have to talk to anyone outside your house, your factory, your tavern, or your parish. A regular Joe accent was a sign of masculinity and local cred, bonding forces important for the teamwork of industrial labor. A 1970s study of steelworker families on Chicago’s East Side by linguist Robin Herndobler found that women were less likely than their husbands to say ‘dese, dem, and dose,’ because they dealt with doctors, teachers, and other professionals. After the mills closed, kids went to college, where they learned not to say ’dat,’ and took office jobs requiring interaction with people outside the neighborhood.” – Edward McClelland, How to Speak Midwestern

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