Population Diversity Could Influence Regional Dialect in WI
Tuesday, December 31, 2019
MADISON, Wis. -- As Wisconsin's population becomes more diverse, changes are expected in the coming years to better assist residents from other parts of the world. But it could even have more personal impacts, including how residents speak.
Census figures show that Wisconsin is still predominantly white, at nearly 87%, but the latest numbers also show minority populations are growing at an increasing rate.
Joan Houston Hall, chief editor emerita of the Dictionary of American Regional English, said dialect changes could be as simple as how residents refer to soft drinks.
"In university communities, very often people listen to what their roommates say. And if their roommates come from the Northeast and they think it's pretty cool to talk about soda instead of pop, they might well just adopt that," Hall said. "So, it's a social interaction kind of lexical change."
Hall said over the years, many polls have consistently shown that most Wisconsin residents call soft drinks "pop." But she said more recent polling shows that "soda" -- the term primarily used in the Northeast -- is gaining influence in eastern Wisconsin.
She said while it might be hard for some to see traditional ways of speaking disappear, it can be fun to embrace different forms of language use, because they will happen.
"It's a constant that language changes," she said. "It doesn't change the same way, or at the same rate in all places, but it always changes."
Hall said the changes might become more noticeable in the near future as university systems do more recruiting of international students to help address enrollment declines.
get more stories like this via email
DENVER - On Wednesday, leaders from Colorado's 13 community colleges joined a national effort to help more of the state's adults get credentials and …
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Today, a virtual summit hosted by the Las Vegas Mayor's Faith Initiative looks at the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous …
MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- A Wisconsin group that advocates for working families is launching a new campaign, which connects federal policy to the …
SEATTLE - Constructive conversations online can seem few and far between. Research from the University of Washington explores how the design of …
Health and Wellness
WATERLOO, Iowa -- Advocates for Iowans with disabilities are sounding the alarm over what they describe as a caregiver crisis, pleading with …
BRAINERD, Minn. - Minnesota boat owners are storing their watercraft for the winter. But that isn't stopping the conversation about responsible water …
BOISE, Idaho - Millions of members around the world, including some Idahoans, are observing International Credit Union Day today. This year marks 73…
INDIANAPOLIS -- As finding a career becomes more difficult for young people, a new report said the U.S. needs a more comprehensive approach to …