Monday, February 19, 2007

M!ch!gan Madness

I've always told people that the more official adjective for my people is "Michiganian," while the colloquial term is "Michigander." Imagine my surprise, then, when I learn today that American Heritage and Webster's lists "Michigander" as their first preference!

I can't imagine why that'd be. I seem to remember that most newspapers use the term "Michiganian." And it sounds more official, more conservative, doesn't it? (By the way, I've never in my life heard of a "Michiganite," which Webster's lists.) If there are any lexicographers out there in the TOSC readership, lemme know.

This will now, of course, force me to do some deep soul-searching about who I am and what I call myself. I've always insisted on the "Michigander" label; the word's slight gawkiness and what I assumed to be alternative nature held much more appeal to me. Jim Blanchard is a Michiganian; I'm a Michigander. Or am I? Now that my two main dictionaries have spoken, do I attempt another verbal flipping of the bird at The Man by going with "Michiganian"? Or by doing that am I falling right into The Man's hands? By slavishly rebelling against the dictionaries' proscriptions, am I in fact giving The Man even more power?

My guess is I'll stick with "Michigander." For one thing, it's what I'm used to. For another, I feel it allows me to better show off my nasally dominated Upper Midwestern accent. To sound like me, you've gotta hit a hard, hard "a." None of that soft-vowel crap that Californians like to pull.

And, anyway, that's what the dictionaries would have me say.

11 Comments:

Blogger Bad D said...

Michiganian sounds like the name of an alien race. "The Klingons, Romulans and Michiganians have formed an alliance that threatens the Federation..."

5:56 PM  
Blogger Craig said...

We are a different breed. Race. Whatever.

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say you are a Caliphoney

4:16 PM  
Blogger Lavaflower said...

Currently, I am a resident North Carolinian, so my information may be a little old. The way I remember it, I was born a Michiganian but, when I was in elementary school in the mid-70s, the state legislature voted to officially change the name of Michigan residents from Michiganian to Michigander - hey, I learned it in school, so it must be true, right ;) ? I remember thinking how it reminded me of the saying, "What's good for the goose is good for the gander." So, who's the goose?

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