Quote of the Day: "Ann Arbor was at the extreme west end of the habitable world, beyond which the sun went down into a boundless, bottomless morass, where the frightful sound of yelling indians, howling wolves, croaking frogs, rattling massaugers, and buzzing mosquitoes added to the awful horror of the dismal place." Henry Little, an early pioneer recalling the settling of Michigan in the 1830s.
by Kathryn A. Remlinger
The author also addresses the pride people take in the dialect, which includes the belief that the more Yoopanese a person uses the more authentic a Yooper it makes them. Many believe the Yooper dialect possess positive cultural values. But there are more than a few who are embarrassed by use of the dialect in their conversation. The author also reveals how the dialect differs depending on whether the speaker is from the Soo, Marquette, or Escanaba. The book is a fascinating glimpse into a unique piece of Michigan culture and the language that helps make it so unique.
That said the reader almost has to take a weed-wacker to the book's often overgrown and convoluted sentences and professional jargon. The book is rife with words this fairly well-read reviewer has never previously encountered such as, "commodification, indexicality, and metadiscursive." Then there is the following sentence, and others like it, that are strewn throughout the book. "Another example of shifting indexical values is presented in the syntax, or grammatical structures, specifically illative phrases, which are prepositional phrases that show movement to or toward a place and yet do not contain prepositions, and noun phrases that lack determiners." I accept on blind faith that the aforementioned quote succeeds, at some level, in explaining the Yooper sentence or phrase, "Let's go post office."
For those who are fascinated by language or Yooper culture and dialect, there is gold to be mined in this book. But be forewarned, at times, the book makes for hard digging. I would have also very much appreciated an appendix of Yooper words.
Yooper Talk: Dialect as Identity in Michigan's Upper Peninsula by Kathryn A.Remlinger. University of Wisconsin Press, 2017, $24.95.
The Buried Book
Wildlife 911: On Patrol by John Borkovich, Arbutus Press, 2017. $19.95
As before, you can order any of the above books, if you so choose, by simply clicking on the cover which will take you to Amazon.