Coming by it honestly, don’t-cha know

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life62 Comments


These are my cute inlaws—Joan and Daniel Sr.—the people who made my cute husband—Daniel Jr. And they are all blessedly Minnesotan. Heck, Joanie even hails from Brainerd, don't-cha know?

I myself am not Minnesotan, but I've lived here since 1990 and during this time I suppose I've acquired a few tell tale accent quirks that give my geographical location away. I was recently with some friends who took great pleasure in calling me out every time I let out a Fargo-esque "Ohhhh" or "Yaaaaaa."

At this point, coming from Seattle (where I swear to you, people have NO discernible accent), then going to Texas (where I swear to you, people have MAJORLY AWESOME accents), then landing here in the land of 10,000 lakes and super longish vowels, I never really stood a chance.

I present Exhibit A: a typical phone message from my father-in-law: (You'll need QuickTime to hear it.)

Click to hear Dan's Dad

Just you try to fight those vowels for 19 years, and then we'll see who has the accent and who doesn't.

(Love you, Papa!)

Cathy ZielskeComing by it honestly, don’t-cha know

62 Comments on “Coming by it honestly, don’t-cha know”

  1. #3

    Love the Minnesotan accent – had great friends who were from Minnesota when I was growing up. Yaah, sure!

  2. #4

    aww cute! But to the extremely untrained ear (English!) I can’t tell a jot of difference between any American accents!

  3. #5
    Tonja Trump

    Yep, you betcha, I miss Minnesota already! That’s it..I’m movin’ back!! Gotta love the innovation and creativity of Mr. Z not to mention the Mo-Town accent! 2×4’s..LOVE IT! 😉

  4. #8
    Melissa H

    I live in Minnesota and have for most of my life. My husband is originally from Brainerd too, don’tcha know. I lived in Oklahoma when I was little and still have family there. Whenever I go to visit them now they tease my endlessly about my accent, quote lines from Fargo, and call me a durn Yankee!!

  5. #9

    I’m a Seattle girl … and you’re right, we don’t have accents. 🙂 Loved hearing Dan’s dad – too cute!!

  6. #11

    Okay, I was laughing out loud at your father in law. Only in a good way though. I am from the south and we go on vacation and people ask me where I am from. They can’t believe it when I say Jax. Florida. It is funny to hear other accents from different places. Too cute!

  7. #12

    I love that accent…and I think your father-in-law is adorable! I’m already sad that Pete has graduated and that we no longer have an excuse to go out there! But now we’ll have an excuse to go to Seattle because he got a job out there! I’ll say hello for you.

  8. #13

    How adorable! I have a file full of old voice “takes” and I was thinking of a way to be creative to share them. I love this.

    Your father-in-law has such a pleasant voice. I am from the South so nobody has to ask me where I am from. MMMM…I am afraid I am stuck in this lifetime with the voice I have.

  9. #14

    I didn’t hear any accent….then again I’m a SD girl and it sounds pretty much the same here, don’tchya know? LOL

  10. #16
    Sonja Chandler

    My mother was from Iowa. Her entire family sounds exactly like your father-in-law. (all my aunts, uncles an cousins from Des Moines) When visiting it only takes a few hours before I’m throwing out the “Don’t cha know’s and the “Yaaaa’s” and the “Ohhhh’s”. (with my aunts it’s Ohhhh Deeear) It’s very, very contageous. But I love it!

    Cute! Fun stuff!

  11. #17

    I don’t hear much of an accent… but then I’m a California girl transplanted to Houston, TX. Funny thing, now that I’ve lived here 8 years, I don’t seem to know anyone with much of an accent, anymore. I think I rubbed off on them. LOL!

    I know what you mean. I hear myself talk and wonder “When did I start doing that?!
    When did family become fame-ily.” I hear it but I can’t seem to stop it!

  12. #18

    being from NZ – I love all the different accents around America… and yes even Seattle has them!!

    hearing that.. I think I need to watch Fargo again.. loved that movie *LOL*

  13. #19

    That message just made me run to the phone and call my parents! That could have been a message on MY answering machine! I grew up in a suburb of the Twin Cities and while I’ve been in California over a decade away from all my family (that still lives in MN) I still have those long vowels that kick back in within minutes of someone speaking Minnesotan. I should say that I get to live vicariously through your blog whenever you mention anything MN related. 🙂

  14. #20

    Wow if THAT didn’t make me homesick (ND).
    Although if that had been one of my grandparents, the words “jury-rigged” (or something more racial starting with an N) would have followed close on the heels of “2x4s”.

  15. #22

    Ooooh….just hearing your sweet father-in-law makes me miss all my gazillion relatives in MN! My accents comes out every once in a while. LOVE IT!

  16. #23
    Kris Van Allen

    oh, that could be my own FIL, ya know. Born in Eau Galle Wis, lives in Hudson. Oh, you betcha!

    thanks for posting that!

  17. #24

    Cathy – My experience is a mirror opposite – moved from small town in Texas to Redmond, WA. When I started school in Redmond, people either loved or hated my accent. I think the haters were mostly jealous, not having a accent of their own. Over the years, I lost most of my TX drawl but have gotten a little of it back since moving to Atlanta.

  18. #28
    Heather Main

    Yaaaaaaaaa he sounds just like us Canadians 😀 that is funny 🙂

    So are you going to move the catamaran for him? LOL

  19. #29

    Oh yaaaaa, he sounds just like my Dad and brothers (we hail from mid Wisconsin). It is so cute and very hard to get rid of (I haven’t lived there in 27 years and I STILL have those long vowels – oh cripes!

  20. #30


  21. #32
    Brit S.

    Hehe I love the Minnesotan accent! I’m from wisconsin but go to college at the U in the Twin Cities, and it’s so interesting how our accents are different when we’re only 6 hours away. I’ve noticed myself throwing in more “yaaa”s and even (gasp!) saying pop instead of soda every once in a while. Thanks for the cute clip- it totally reminds me of my buddies in Minnesota!

  22. #35

    Tickles me pink, Cathy – I’m in Seattle, and my in-laws are from Minnesota, doncha know. Actually Hendrix is a small town on the far west side of the state…and they have funky kind of Norwegian/Mid West accents, if that makes sense. Love it!

  23. #36
    Susannah Stapp

    I am an Indiana girl and I so wish I had an accent/dialect. I was born in California and wouldn’t have had an accent there either!

  24. #37

    Do you know why they call it the land of 10,000 lakes? Because they got tired of counting and stopped at 10,000.

  25. #38
    Kimberly Ann

    Cathy, my husband can relate. He is also from Seattle and he’s been going crazy over the accent since we moved back to South Dakota, where I grew up. He corrects me every time I say the word bag, but I’m convinced that every time he says it he’s talking about a bog.

  26. #39
    Becky Swisher

    O.K. Cathy – You have to rent “New in Town” – I promise you…and I mean promise…You will laugh your ass right off the couch!

  27. #40
    Jen G.

    I have lived in MN most of my life, I have never muttered the words “don’tcha know”. Sure a few “Yaaa’s”. But never quite like the movie Fargo or New in Town. And rarely hear it, other than from people 50 and older. And they also like to pronouce three like “tree”, go figure. But the long vowels. Definately. “I think I will have some toooast”, and I am going for a ride in the boooat”.
    That is definately Minnesoootan.

  28. #41

    You are definitely right about Seattle. I took an accent quiz once to see if it was smart enough to figure out where I lived and wouldn’t you know, it guessed Seattle!

  29. #42

    Yikes! I was listening hard for the accent but I was hearing the merest hint of canadian there…. do you reckon the minnesotan accent might be close the the NZ one then??? LOL

  30. #43
    jen geigley

    Awwwww, he sounds just like my family! I grew up on the Iowa/Minnesooooota border but the accent is all the same. (yes, we make bars and hotdishes and say things like pert-ner, it went ka-put, darn tootin, and just leave it go.) oh, and of course uff da.

  31. #44

    I’m not too sure I would want to drive around with a boat and 2×4’s strapped across the top of my car. Just a thought.

  32. #45
    Phyllis R.

    Oh hey, my ancestors hail from the U.P. (Upper Peninsula Michigan) and I end up sounding like that just after one conversation with them! You’ve done well to hang on to what you have of your west coast non-accent!

  33. #46

    LOVE the voicemail! I was born in Farrrgo, and everytime I say that, people go “I’ve seen that movie, talk like they do”, so I go “Ooooh, dont-cha knooooow, oooohh yaaaa, youuu betchaa”…everyone laughs…my life is related to the movie Farrrgo.
    Then I moved to KS, then NM, then back up north to MI and have since landed in Bawww-ston, Mass…I definitely sound like I have a Heinz 57 accent!

  34. #47
    Jan C.

    I didn’t think his accent was that strong! What I DID hear in his voice is that he’s a really nice person who is probably fun to be around.

    Did you know that apparently even Ohioans have an accent? I’ve been told with astonishment that I do not have a drawl, like I’m supposed to. What the?!!!

  35. #48

    Love your father-in-laws accent and I am from Minnesota by way of California with a little bit of Oklahoma in there. People say I have a twang, and I don’t think that is Minnesotan.

  36. #49

    This Seattle-ite wth absolutely no accent totally loved your Dad in law’s message. How adorable. Makes me miss my Dad who passed 10 yrs.ago.

  37. #50
    Linda M

    I am from Seattle and when I am elsewhere in the country, my accent is not identifiable by anyone. However, like someone else mentioned in a previous post, you need to rent “New In Town.” My favorite character is Blanche, don’tcha know.

  38. #52

    Funny that being from no accent Portland Oregon leaves me always the outsider here in Wisconsin..our kids oddly sound like they are from here..oh…they are I guess!

  39. #53

    I grew up in Roseau, Minnesota. Talk about accents! Everyone sounds like they just got off the boat from Norway up there! Now I live in Grand Rapids, Minnesota and I don’t notice accents so much. My nephew plays baseball in North Carolina and his team members say he sounds like Herb Brooks in the movie “Miracle.”

  40. #54
    Ann Grounds

    Talk about accents–I was born in Milwaukee, WI and spent my first 6 WEEKS there, moved to Cali until I was 3, and then up to Everett, WA. I never really visited Milwaukee until the last 15 years or so. However, I have been known to talk with a Milwaukee accenteven in high school! I am horrible after spending time talking with my family back there or visiting. People who know me give me the strangest looks because I am speakng a foreign language! Scarey when I haven’t lived there-it’s in the genes.

  41. #55

    The Minnesotan accent is so catchy…I have never been there but my mom’s entire family hails from said (St. Paul)…I am a 39 year old native Floridian with a Minnesota accent…Go figure! You betcha.

  42. #56

    It’s raining and dreary here in New Hampshire and my son is home sick and missing the last day of school. Your father in law’s message made me grin ear to ear. Your in laws smiles could brighten up the gloomiest New England day.

  43. #57

    How adorable! Love how he says “your vehicle.” What a great idea to put some audio up. I lived a lot of my life in PA and moved to IL. My friends here say I sound like an Easterner (particularly when I am angry), and my mom says I sound like a Midwesterner. I am truly a woman with a floating accent, I guess!

  44. #59
    Mary Mitchell

    Bless your dad in-law……he sounds just like some of my northern Illinois norwegian relatives. I even catch myself once in awhile falling back into that scandinavian dialect and I moved away 28 years ago. I think it’s that U.P. Yooper influence that is bringing the language of my youth back to the surface.

  45. #60

    Sounds perfectly normal to me! No accent at all…yaaa sure….

    I’m an hour west of you and an hour south of your in-laws. My friends from cooooast to cooooast tease me constantly.

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