“How to Talk Midwestern” Book Coming in November

The Pittsburgh toilet. Squeaky cheese. City chicken. Shampoo Banana. Chevy in the Hole. These are all phrases that are familiar to Midwesterners, but foreign to anyone living outside the region. Find out what they mean in author Edward McClelland’s upcoming book on Midwestern speech and sayings. McClelland will not only explain what Midwesterners say, but how and why they say it. His book will examine the causes of the Northern Cities Vowel Shift, one of the most significant changes in English pronunciation in a thousand years. It will explain why the accents in Fargo miss the nasality that’s a hallmark of Minnesota speech. And why Chicagoans talk more like people from Buffalo than their next-door neighbors in Wisconsin. For outsiders, McClelland will include helpful chapters such as “How to Talk Through Your Nose,” “How to Hold a Conversation Without Using a Complete Sentence,” and “‘Well, That’s Different’: How to Passive-Aggressively Criticize People, Places and Things.” If you’re from the Midwest, you’ll have a better understanding of why you talk the way you do. If you’re not, well, you’ll know exactly what to say the next time someone ends a sentence with “eh?”