U.S. News and World Report just named Minnesota the third best state in the nation. We’re the only state to make the top three for three years in a row.
But apparently there’s one thing we’re not: sexy.
Big 7 Travel just released the results of a survey ranking 50 regional accents based on how enticing they are to potential mates. This is where our descent begins. The Minnesota accent landed third from the bottom for our clipped “yahs” and “you betchas.” We could only beat New Jersey and Long Island for sex appeal.
That’s a far cry from the top five: Texas, Boston, New York, Maine, and our neighbors in Chicago, in that order. Hell, even “General American” (the accent you’re most likely to hear on radio or TV) reached No. 32. Our best claim to fame is being “slightly boring, but nicely inoffensive to the ears.”
So what is it about our stereotypical speech that turns people off? Big 7 certainly didn’t have any explanations. This was all based on responses from its “1.5 million social audience.”
The “Minnesotan accent,” as we popularly know it, is a variant of the Upper Midwest accent, which you can also find in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Canada. When vocal coaches try to teach people how to learn or unlearn the accent for acting or public speaking purposes, they usually tell them to clench up their jaws, as if they’re “smiling” even though they’re not really happy, or merely trying to keep as much frigid northern air out of your mouth as possible.
But when people think about the way we talk, they’re usually thinking about the 1996 black comedy Fargo. The Minnesotan accent is practically a character in itself, simultaneously conveying niceties, repression, charmingly vapid folksiness, and things left conspicuously unsaid.
Maybe it’s these frigid connotations that give the Minnesotan accent a bad – or merely sexless – name. The good news is if Twitter’s any indication, we’re perfectly fine with how we sound, and perfectly ready to go to bed with a nice fellow who uses the word “uffda.”
“I dunno about y’all,” one user says, “But when I hear a Minnesotan woman say “Ope!” I’m done for.”