Linguist explains the origins of "Yooperese"

Published: Jul. 24, 2017 at 10:47 PM EDT
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A Communication Sciences and Disorders professor and linguist spoke in Marquette Monday evening about ethnic and immigrant influences on the unique way that Yoopers speak English.

Professor Wil Rankinen’s talk at the Peter White Public Library was titled “Yooperese: A Story of Change”. Rankinen says a variety of languages have influenced “Yooperese” – including Italian, Cornish, and Swedish – but the language with the biggest impact is probably not a surprise.

"The Western part of the U.P., Marquette County and westward, that particular area has been heavily, and still is heavily influenced, by the Finnish language,” Rankinen said. “Whereas anywhere east of there, the Finnish language has had an impact, but not as strong as what we see westward."

Professor Rankinen said anyone interested more in the roots of Yooperese can check out Kathryn Remlinger’s book “Yooper Talk”. An link to that book is available in the related links section of this article.