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The Upper Peninsula of Michigan—known as “the U P”—is historically, geographically, and culturally distinct. Struggles over land, labor, and language during the last 150 years have shaped the variety of English spoken by resident Yoopers, as well as how they are viewed by outsiders—and themselves. Drawing on sixteen years of fieldwork, including interviews with seventy-five lifelong residents of the UP, Kathryn Remlinger examines how the idea of a unique Yooper dialect emerged. Considering UP English in relation to other regional dialects and their speakers, she looks at local identity, literacy practices, media representations, language attitudes, notions of authenticity, economic factors, tourism, and contact with non-English immigrant and Native American languages. The book also explores how a dialect becomes a recognizable and valuable commodity: Yooper talk (or “Yoopanese”) is emblazoned on t-shirts, flags, postcards, coffee mugs, and bumper stickers.
About the Author
Kathryn Remlinger is a professor of English at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan.
“Offers a very thorough and long overdue discussion of the Yooper dialect.”—Marquette Monthly
“Undeniably a significant contribution to the study of a unique aspect of Michigan history and culture. . . . For those who are fascinated by language or Yooper culture and dialect, there is gold to be mined in this book.”—Michigan in Books
“Explores UP identity, driven by anecdotes and historical accounts. She goes beyond speech analysis, providing enough narrative and peninsula history to engage readers lacking a linguistics background.”—City Pulse
“Provides an interesting case study of dialect enregisterment and the relationship between language and cultural identity more broadly.”—Michigan Historical Review