Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dialect as Identity Exhibited by Yooper We-Type Solidarity

There are many ways an individual's dialect can be used as a form of identity. People who speak the Upper Peninsula or "Yooper" dialect are able to use their dialect as a form of identity by choosing not to switch to a more common dialect for their audience in an effort to make those who don't speak the dialect feel left out. This has been called a We-type solidarity because it gives the impression that speakers of the dialect think they are better than others and contributes to the us-them distinction that can make people from lower Michigan feel like outsiders. This can also be viewed as a form of retaliation because often people from lower Michigan make speakers of the Upper Peninsula dialect feel like lesser people by teasing them about the way they talk.

A perfect example of the Yooper We-type solidarity can be found in my previous post of the Yooper Map of Michigan.

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