March 21, 2015

The NYT accuses Scott Walker of changing his accent!

The article, "For 2016 Run, Scott Walker Washes ‘Wiscahnsin’ Out of His Mouth," by Patrick Healy, includes a short video, which supposedly proves the point:
Out on the presidential campaign trail, Gov. Scott Walker has left “Wiscahnsin” back home in Wisconsin. He now wants to strengthen the economy, not the “ecahnahmy.” And while he once had the “ahnor” of meeting fellow Republicans, he told one group here this week that he simply enjoyed “talkin’ with y’all.”

The classic Upper Midwest accent — nasal and full of flat a’s — is one of several Walker trademarks to have fallen away this month after an intense period of strategizing and coaching designed to help Mr. Walker capitalize on his popularity in early polls and show that he is not some provincial politician out of his depth.
Is he changing his accent? I'm skeptical. I've lived in Wisconsin for 30 years, and what strikes me is that people outside of Wisconsin, when they hear about Wisconsin, get cranked up and start imitating an accent they believe is a Wisconsin accent. They especially love to say the word "Wisconsin" in their idea of a Wisconsin accent. I don't have a Wisconsin accent myself — I'm from Delaware. The main thing I notice about Wisconsin people saying the word "Wisconsin" is that they make the syllable break after the "Wi." The imitators never seem to get that right. It's wi-SCON-sin. That's the important part. Not the part where you get all weird about the "o."

I had to laugh when I read the end of the article. The NYT quotes a woman named Jennifer Horn, the chairwoman of the New Hampshire Republican Party, who wasn't really opining that Walker had changed his accent, only that she didn't hear whatever accent the questioner had asked her about — perhaps by doing that outsider's version of the Wisconsin accent that I've heard so many times over the years:
And at the dinner, as well as in his Concord speech, his Wisconsin honk was noticeably absent.

“I didn’t hear it,” Ms. Horn said. “Good for him, good for him.”
They asked a Horn about a honk.

Anyway, is Walker trying to modify his accent in order to appeal to America at large? It appropriate and competent of him to be working with speech coaches, but should they be taking the edge off his accent and is that, in fact, happening?

85 comments:

Cornroaster said...

What a bunch of, in the accent of the NYT, "Hawgwaash."

Michael said...

We should be askin' President Obama if this is borderin' on bein' a scandal.

Eleanor said...

I get "but you don't sound like you're from Boston" all the time. It's because I'm really from here. I'm not a character in a TV show or movie that's set in Boston. I've listened to Scott Walker's speeches. He has the speech patterns I'd associate with someone from the midwest, but you really have to listen hard to hear a "regional accent". If he's working with a speech coach to make him a better candidate, good for him. Comfort on the stage is important. I doubt we'll notice anything but a more polished performance.

MayBee said...

He's still gotta get the street accent and the fake southern accent if he wants any Democrat crossover votes.

Bobber Fleck said...

Walker was born in Colorado and then lived in Iowa until he was about 10. His family then lived in (outstate) Delavan, Wisconsin. If he has an accent much of it can be attributed to Iowa.

Being originally a Wisconsin native my ears are not terribly sensitive to Walker's accent. He clearly does not have the "South Milwaukee" or "Cudahy" accent ("How 'bout dem Brewers, eh?"). Neither does he have that midwestern "Fargo" accent ("I'm going up nort to da Cabin").

Meade said...

'scan sin is what I hear.

MadisonMan said...

There are traces of a Wisconsin accent in Walker's speech, but that's it. Traces come and traces go. My own acquired Wisconsin accent vanishes pretty quickly when I go back to my hometown and re-acquire my Pennsyltucky twang.

AJ Lynch said...

Tomorrow the NYT reports on Obama dropping his g's and almost talking ghetto to black audiences.

Bobber Fleck said...

Perhaps Walker would seem more authentic if he said:

'I don't feel no ways tired. I come too far from where I started from.

Harsh Pencil said...

Meade has it perfect. 'scan sin.

Fritz said...

I don't feel noways tired of Walker's accent.

Hagar said...

My name is Yon Yonsen,
I come from Wisconsin,
to play in McNamara's ba-a-a-nd!

traditionalguy said...

The article has a clear message: Walker is a weak, uneducated man who is so ashamed of his Dairy Farmer roots that he will twist himself into a fake person at will. Too bad he is so bad.

It's more proof that the NYT fears him.

wendybar said...

Do they report on it when Obama drops his "g"s when speaking to blacks??

Tank said...

Michael said...

We should be askin' President Obama if this is borderin' on bein' a scandal.


This is what the folks are sayin.

mezzrow said...

And on such as this, we choose those who would protect us from the oncoming apocalypse.

Remember this when you think, "how did we ever get here in the first place?"

Jane the Actuary said...

Here's what I have to say about accents. I worked for a company that was headquartered in the Chicago-suburbs, and the largest part of the workforce was here. For most of the company's history, CEOs had come from within, and were "bred" with the company's culture. Some years ago, we brought in an outside CEO from New York, who never actually relocated, boasted of his love for the New York Yankees, and couldn't even be bothered to put the "H" where it belonged in his pronunciation of the company's name. God, that grated on me. It just seemed as if it was emphasizing his disinterest in the company as anything but a way for him to rake in money.

And -- what do you know? He orchestrated the sale of the company, made a pile of money, and left.

EDH said...

When Obama speaks to the nation, he uses that fake Texas whistle.


Then he'll switch to that jive talk fake southern accent when speaking to the base.

MadisonMan said...

@hagar, I thought the last line was I work in the lumberyards dere

EDH said...

Note: This was taken from his October 24, 2009 Weekly Address (4 min. 10 sec.), and none of the whistles were repeated.

EDH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bobber Fleck said...

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20150320/NEWS02/150329992/wherever-walker-campaigns-protesters-follow

T Rellis said...

Bobber Fleck said...
Perhaps Walker would seem more authentic if he said:

'I don't feel no ways tired. I come too far from where I started from.

I'm sorry, the answer is- "I dohnwt feeeel noh ways tiiiruud."

That's authentic.

campy said...

The NYT is just bouncing the rubble at this stage, waiting for a new repub to destroy.

machine said...

he does what he is told...

PB said...

Walker never had what you would call a Wisconsin accent. Everyone modifies their speaking a bit when around those who pronounce things differently.

Of course, few have done it so badly and with such unintended humorous effect as Hillary "I don't feel no ways tired" Clinton or John "Can I git me a huntin' license" Kerry.

Bob Ellison said...

I can put up with wi-SCAN-sin so long as he also says ro-DIe-land.

And please don't do "is is". What is it with Presidents and "is is"? Carter says it because he stutters, Clinton said it because he wondered what the word meant, and Obama says it because he seems to think it makes him sound thoughtful. It makes him sound stupid.

Anonymous said...

During the 1930's the Dominican Republic wanted to get rid of Haitians living illegally in the border region. It was difficult to tell whether a particular person was Haitian or Dominican, however, as many people had no identity papers and the Haitians spoke Spanish and would claim to be Dominican.
The solution was simple but effective. People of questionable nationality were required to pronounce the word "perejil," which means parsley in Spanish. Somebody has figured out that it was impossible for Haitians to pronounce the word in the proper manner no matter how well they spoke Spanish. Those who got it wrong were forcibly deported or even, in more than a few cases, shot.

Peter

Mark said...

'Work in the lumber yards dere'. I agree with MadisonMan about Yon Yonsen from Wisconsin.

If you want to see if he has been meeting with a speech coach, ask him to say 'time'. To my Wisconsin ear, his accent of that word is strange and very noticeably weird. If he is working on accent, that word now sounds normal, if it still sounds like 'toime' his accent is less because he is not spending time in WI.'

Deja Voodoo said...

We should be axin' President Obama if this is borderin' on bein' a scandal.

Curious George said...

SHheex. Next thing you know he will be saying he's a Indian to get into Harvard.

Bob Ellison said...

Ask him to say "about". If it floats on water, he might be from Wisconsin, but he might be from Canada, like Ted Cruz, and therefore ineligible to be elected President.

Big Mike said...

Did the Times think to contrast this (alleged) change of accent with the way Barack Obama turns "ing" word endings into "in" and generally tries to sound "inner city" when talking to black audiences?

MaxedOutMama said...

It's just hysteria.

But for Scott Walker supporters, it's good news. When they obsess about whether his accent is changing, it's a closet confession that they don't have much else.

Apparently the nation recovered from the devastating shock of learning that Walker got a D in French decades ago, and once you survive that type of political scandal, you're just about Teflon.

I'm waiting for the expose that Walker is not that fond of cats, or something equivalent.

garage mahal said...

Toyme and Toyme again I tell Toynette that wisCAHNsin is a great state.

David said...

Fock Ewe, NYT.

SteveM said...

I'll become bothered when, and if, Walker says : "I ain't no ways tired."

garage mahal said...

Or is it toime?

chickelit said...

They especially love to say the word "Wisconsin" in their idea of a Wisconsin accent.

I blame the French.

The pronunciation derives from a French rendering of an Indian place name:

Me-SKONsing. => oui-SCONsin => Wi-SCONsin

A similar syllabic parsing of "MIlwaukee" occurs in the pronunciation Milwaukee: natives drop the "l," rendering Muh-WAUkee

Roger Sweeny said...

It used to be that when I told people here in New England that I was from Long Island, they would say, "Oh, you're form Lawn GUY-land." And I would have to tell them that most of us don't talk that way.

Anonymous said...

As a former Iowan I want the country to know that TV stations from other states send their anchor persons to Iowa to learn how to speak clear American English. Really!

Also, I now live in Texas. I have been complimented on my diction here. Have you ever been complimented on your diction?

CWJ said...

Jane the Actuary,

I could tell a very nearly identical story. My reaction was the same as yours.

MadisonMan said...

long as he also says ro-DIe-land

Only when visiting Cree-annnnston. (Or, as it's written: Cranston) I love my Don Bousquet book on the subject.

Re: Wisconsin's largest city, I thought it had just two syllables: mwah-kee.

Michael K said...

Now, if he was from New Yawk, I could understand trying to change that accent. Nothing is more annoying.

When I moved to California in 1956, I became aware of a marked California accent, probably a southern California accent. Gradually, I stopped noticing it. Either the regional accent slipped away or I didn't notice anymore.

It has survived as the "Valley Girl" speech pattern. Television has probably erased a lot of regional accents. I can't remember most of it but I do remember girls in particular saying "cauwn" with a long A for cow.

I do notice the Chicago accent now when I am visiting. I never noticed a Wisconsin accent although I spent quite a few summers there when I was a kid. Probably all midwesterners at that time sounded alike.

Anonymous said...

Is that all there is?
Is that all there is to the NYT circus...
then let's keep dancing
Let's break out the booze and have a ball...

NYT will dis Cruz for losing his Canadian accent next, and Rubio losing his Cuban accent. Those foreigners!

iowan2 said...

It is very obvious that those that fancy themselves as the shaper of opinions, are talking about anything but Walkers policies.
When they try policies, they find that Walker is VERY relatable to the voters.

The left is found of saying Walker is destroying unions. Walker calmly lays out how he is protecting the low and middle class incomes. By defanging public unions, Walker is protecting taxpayers. By joining the list of Right to Work States, Walker is giving the working stiff the choice of how to spend the money that his rightfully theirs, not the union they are forced by law to support.

Walker is doing the right thing for the right reasons. Not to get elected, but to allow the people do as they see fit. Walker knows instinctively that the Govt's job is not to pick winners an losers. It comes across in Walkers demeanor, without him having to iterate it at every event, or interview.

Talking about anything but Walkers policies will take up all of the lefts time from now till November,2016.....19 months from now.

Curious George said...

He's light skinned and has no Negro dialect. The NYT knows thats POTUS material.

Drago said...

One day you're "changing" (but perhaps not really) your accent and having your staff write up possible changes to university mission statements, the next day you're invading Poland from the safe confines of your Wisconsin/Confederacy/Nazi perch.

It's all right there in front of you.

garage mahal said...

Anyway, Scott Walker is 100% genuine and he would never ever fake anything to get a few votes. He's a straight shooter!

Drago said...

garage: "He's a straight shooter!"

Uh oh.

Looks like the lefties are ginning up another Hillary-had-to-run-to-dodge-the-gunfire lie.

Let's just hope Sinbad is around when it happens so he can patiently explain that it never happened.

Let's also hope that when Hillary is playing hopscotch to dodge the gunfire that she "..don't feel noways tired."

Remember, serpentine. Serpentine.

Curious George said...

White liberal racist garage doesn't like Walker still. Shocked.

Leslie Graves said...

I'm a Wisconsin native.

This may just be my imagination but it seems to me that since Fargo came out in 1996, more Wisconsites (including me) occasionally put on an accent that is derivative of Frances McDormand, for fun, and then it kind of leeched into wider use.

Drago said...

garage mahal: "Anyway, Scott Walker is 100% genuine and he would never ever fake anything to get a few votes"

Speaking of being genuine, it was a pleasant surprise to see garage come out yesterday against "false flag" ops epitomized by the fake Koch phone call to Walker which garage clearly now strongly disapproves.

Integrity.

lemondog said...

Whooo friggin' cares!!!

Toilet paper dreck.

"Journalist" Patrick Healy needs to get a job investigating corruption and reporting N.E.W.S!!!

FDR, JFK, Carter, Bush, Clinton, LBJ..... a wonderful pastiche of accents.

Bob Ellison said...

Leslie Graves, those same film-makers did Raising Arizona, which featured accents that I, a native Arizonan, had never heard anywhere in the state. It was more of an Georgia accent.

I love me some Coen Brothers, and those are good films, but man, they messed that up.

Sammy the Bull Gravano writes about how after The Godfather came out, every "made" man wanted to act like the characters in that movie. Life imitates art.

garage mahal said...

Poor Scott just wants to be loved by the GOP. He'll tell you any story you want to hear. In any accent you want.

Curious George said...

"garage mahal said...
Poor Scott just wants to be loved by the GOP. He'll tell you any story you want to hear. In any accent you want."

Shouldn't you be out suppressing some local blacks?

garage mahal said...

Toyme and Toyme again I told you I don't live in madison.

Drago said...

garage mahal: "Poor Scott just wants to be loved by the GOP. He'll tell you any story you want to hear. In any accent you want."

Will he tell us, knowing that it isn't true, that if we like our health plan we can keep our health plan? That no one will take it away, period?

Will he then tell us, knowing that it isn't true, that adding 30 million low income folks to govt subsidized programs will "bend the cost curve down"?

Gee, do you think Walker would stoop to such low behavior and do you think anyone in the GOP would be so gruberized they would believe such patent non-sense?

Bob Ellison said...

Will he tell me that my Blue Cross plan will be canceled because Obamacare made it illegal?

Darrell said...

garage mahal just wants to get a paycheck for being a full-time Lefty troll.

Drago said...

Darrell: "garage mahal just wants to get a paycheck for being a full-time Lefty troll."

Then he should stop turning in "temp intern" level performances.

Curious George said...

"garage mahal said...
Toyme and Toyme again I told you I don't live in madison."

But your good with the description that Madison is worse than Ferguson, worse city in America, and that the liberal whites are the cause, and their racism is systemic, right?

Right.

Ann Althouse said...

"It used to be that when I told people here in New England that I was from Long Island, they would say, "Oh, you're form Lawn GUY-land." And I would have to tell them that most of us don't talk that way."

Same thing with New Jersey, where I lived from 1964 to 1969. You'd say you're from New Jersey and people would just sass right back at you: "New Joy-see." It's irksome and boring, but if you let them see it bugs you, they'll keep doing it.

Ann Althouse said...

Scott Walker does have the problem of this very nasal tone which seems like something that could be treated surgically. Adenoids or deviated septum or some such thing. I don't think it's an accent, but something awry in the passages.

Ann Althouse said...

Walker does need speech coaching. Often he speaks quickly and just drops syllables.

And he needs to avoid basic grammar mistakes that make him seem uneducated -- things like "between Tonette and I."

Wilbur said...

I had a friend at college (Illinois) who was from southern Illinois. Most students from the Chicago area - there more than a few, if you can imagine - thought he was from Mississippi or some similar backwater. Pretty funny to us.

YoungHegelian said...

@Bob E.

I love me some Coen Brothers, and those are good films, but man, they messed that up.

The Coen Brothers seem to be not just sloppy, but deliberately sloppy, when it comes to American regionalisms. O Brother, Where art Thou is set in the Mississippi delta but the music that's played throughout is Appalachian. As every blues fan knows, the Delta produced it's own unique style of music, both white & black, and it wasn't bluegrass. As a big fan of bluegrass, I just grit my teeth & try to maintain artistic disbelief until it's over with, but it's painful.

tim in vermont said...

Remember when they criticized Palin for not changing hers? I do.

tim in vermont said...

It's not "New Yawk," it's "Noo Yawk."

tim in vermont said...

but if you let them see it bugs you, they'll keep doing it.

Ha ha. I did the "I'm from Joysie, you from Joysee" routine from SNL one time with a New Jersey guy and he punched my arm, well, a little harder than I would have expected.

Skeptical Voter said...

Some people (and I am one of them) have a tendency to mimic what they hear around them. If you travel around the US, as I did on business in my career, or as a political candidate will, you'll pick up traces of all sorts of accents. Those traces will stick with you for a while, until they are overlaid by new accents. That subtle mimicry is present in a lot of people, and I'll cut Walker some slack on the point.

That said, even down in deep South Delaware, a Joe Biden can learn to say "They's gonna put y'all in chains!" I'd call that false Ebonics.

And as for Hillary on her southern swings? Let's just say she's more coastal fish wife than Scarlett O'Hara. But then my favorite line about Hillary is one first spoken by Dennis Miller after hearing her screech, "She sounds like my first ex-wife."

Anonymous said...

But your good

It is absolutely delicious how the same guy who is constantly calling other people "morons" constantly makes mistakes like that.



Christy said...

Althouse, isn't that "between Tonette and I" locution a little like "up with which I will not put?" Does most of the voting public know or care? And when his opponents laugh at it, will not those voters feel equally attacked?



Lydia said...

And he needs to avoid basic grammar mistakes that make him seem uneducated -- things like "between Tonette and I."

Funny that over the years Obama's been heard to utter stuff like “a very personal decision for Michelle and I” or “the main disagreement with John and I” or “graciously invited Michelle and I” and yet I don't recall it hurting him in the least. But then he's "brilliant," and Obama, so...

The Godfather said...

The Enemy has identified the point of attack: Show that Walker is a phoney like all the other phoneys.

The one thing Walker MUST do is remain authentic.

The Godfather said...

We've largely lost our regional accents over the last couple of generations. JFK dropped and added r's (Cuba was Cuber, etc.), and Johnson had that grating corn pone accent, but that's mostly gone now. I grew up in Connecticut, which had a bit of southern New England in the east ("rivah" for river), and a lot of Westchester New York in the southwest (oh my Gahd"!). I spent every summer on the coast of Maine with the fellas on the lobsta bo't. They all talk almost the same now.

Sad, really.

lemondog said...

Funny that over the years Obama's been heard to utter stuff like “a very personal decision for Michelle and I”

Interesting NYT Op-Ed:
The I’s Have It

For centuries, it was perfectly acceptable to use either “I” or “me” as the object of a verb or preposition, especially after “and.” Literature is full of examples. Here’s Shakespeare, in “The Merchant of Venice”: “All debts are cleared between you and I.” And here’s Lord Byron, complaining to his half-sister about the English town of Southwell, “which, between you and I, I wish was swallowed up by an earthquake, provided my eloquent mother was not in it.”

lemondog said...

One could say that Walker is just being Shakespearean in his use of language.

EMD said...

This is real fucking article?

Bricap said...

2010 ad
2015 CPAC speech

Three examples at different junctures in Walker's political career. In the first, the way he says dollars in particular is the Wisconsin I know. In the second, I am not seeing all that much that screams Wisconsin, though the pronunciation of Wisconsin is there. In the third, I wouldn't be able to tell he was from Wisconsin if I didn't know who he was. The way he says words that rhyme with round or down in the third example, that's not the Wisconsin accent I heard every summer for my entire life.

I'm not expecting full on Sheboygan or Cudahy or Al DelVecchio, but I know it when I hear it. It's clearer in the ad than the two speeches.

Many politicians shade their accent and vernacular towards their audience. This is nothing new. It's not a gotcha, it's not an expose to point it out. Going is shortened to goin' to sound more folksy, as an obvious example. That has to be politician 101 right there, or should I say right dere, hey?

Sounding Northeast educated is a virtual faux pas in politics. Ask Kerry and Romney or even Dukakis how that worked out. (I swear that Romney sounded so much like Kerry.) 41 did all he could to sound like he wasn't a Connecticut Yankee.

Bricap said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bricap said...

I omitted the 2010 victory speech

Char Char Binks said...

I've got to defend the Coen's from Young Hegel, and some others. "O Brother" was set in NORTHERN Mississippi, which is part of the Appalachian range, and won the Acadamy award for BEST MOVIE EVER MADE. Fargo was set mostly in Minnesota, and the Coens are from there, so they know the accent. Most people in WI don't have that accent (we have pretty much the standard non-regional broadcasting voice, actually, much like Iowa, Grundy), but if you go to Westby and westward, you'll hear it.

RecChief said...

if the NYT didn't publish stupid articles like this, how would we know who liberals are really afraid of?