Language, Dialect, and Google

From a young age, my accent and dialect has been commented on. See, I am a Yooper. For those of you who don’t know what a Yooper is, that means I am from the most northern part of Michigan, the Upper Peninsula (or the UP). As a Yooper, I picked up a slight accent that is reminiscent of a Canadian accent, and along with this lovely accent comes a dialect that attracts some comments.

At Oneupweb, I spend a fair amount of time researching keywords and how people search the Internet. I am also at the tail end of my graduate research in Rhetoric and Technical Communications. The fact that I have not run across some of my foreign dialect in my research leads me to believe that I come from a truly unique place – well that and the mocking that comes along with some of my personal word choices.

Example: doorwall – it’s a door, and it’s a wall… what’s the problem?

Another example: pank – you pank the snow – who doesn’t know what that means?

And my all-time favorite; the one I have yet to work into my daily conversations: “I’m going Wal Mart” (I have to use Wal Mart as it is the ultimate shopping congregation in my hometown). Notice the word “to” is missing – who needs it anyway?

These invented, shortened, or combined words all mean something to Yoopers – they represent our attempt to make speaking easier – or something like that.

So I started to think about language and linguistics when I stumbled upon an article in my reading the other morning stating that the term “Google” is now a verb. I am going to take a leap here and say that many of us have used Google as a verb. If you want to find something on the web, you “google it”. This interesting linguistic shift reminds me of the UP and how, to save time, we create, change, or manipulate words to get our points across.

There is no word that encompasses the act of packing, patting and spanking the snow, therefore we “pank” it instead. Likewise, we needed a new word for a sliding glass door – so we invented one. Moving outside of the UP, when one would like to search for something on the Internet, we can “google it”.

Let it be known that I am not condoning this manipulation of words – nor am I criticizing it. Things like this happen in small towns and across the country or world apparently. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am “going Wal Mart” soon and must close the “doorwall”.

For more information (on Google verbiage or what it means to “pank” the snow), go ahead and “google it”. Once you get your results you can “photoshop it” and add some images, and then “xerox” plenty of copies for your friends.