Great Lakes English
This is the accent usually associated with a phenomenon known as the “Northern Cities Vowel Shift.” You can hear this accent in Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo, Rochester and Cleveland.
- The e in bet can be retracted, to something like IPA bɜt (hence bet can sound slightly like “but.”)
- The short a in cat and bad can be extremely raised and diphthongized, as far as IPA ɪə. To outsiders cat can sound like “kee-uht.”
- The o in lot is forward and unrounded, so top becomes IPA tap (that is, to outsiders this can sound like “tap.”)
- The u in but can is often back and rounded: i.e. cut becomes IPA kɔt. (But can sound to General American speakers like “bought.”)
Upper Midwestern English
This is the dialect that was made famous by the film “Fargo.” It is mostly heard in Minnesota, North Dakota and a few areas in Iowa. It is related to the Great Lakes dialect, although with some substantial differences.
- The vowel sound in goat is often a strong monopthong, becoming IPA go:t (i.e. “gawwwt”).
- The prosody (musicality) of the dialect is often influenced by the various Germanic languages that were spoken in the region well into the Twentieth-Century.
- Most other features are fairly similar to Great Lakes English, with some difference depending on the specific region.