Joanne's Reviews > How to Talk Minnesotan: A Visitor's Guide

How to Talk Minnesotan by Howard Mohr
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Jun 08, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: non-fiction
Recommended for: Chris
Read in June, 2011

This isn't the sort of book to read straight through, but to dip into, and in parts it is laugh-out-loud funny. Like the chapter on emotional outbursts (there aren't any) and on using negatives to express positive feelings, like saying, "Not too bad," or "It could be worse" when someone asks how you are. This stoic style also applies to doctors and hospitals ("We pretend we aren't sick until our symptoms are unmistakable...anybody could diagnose us by the time most of us make an appointment. On the other hand, if we know what's wrong, why go to the doctor?" (p. 98). And the chapter on giving and accepting of gifts is dead on. So is asking directions and drawing maps. And the section on saying too much, and the one on conversational gambits ("The heat's not too bad if you move around").

In brief: the book wasn't too bad.
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04/12/2016 marked as: read

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message 1: by Erasmus (new)

Erasmus I owned this book many years ago and lent it to someone, so I will buy another copy. The Movie “Fargo” went out of its way to use every item in the book, even when no contribution to the plot was involved (like Norm’s waiting to go fishing until after he had eaten “a little lunch”). However, the Californians who made the movie did not have discriminating ears for the Minnesota accent. The trooper who stops the kidnappers on the isolated road walks up to the car and says “Get out of the caaar please” in a very distinct Chicago accent. I guess the director figured that Midwesterners would not notice. Also, in the scene where the deputy interviews the bar owner while he is shoveling his driveway, the deputy wears a heavy parka totally buttoned up, with the hood up and the neckpiece also totally buttoned. The problem is that there was water running down the gutters, so it was clearly above freezing, a condition in which no self-respecting Minnesotan would be found with a closed coat. But the movie was a hit anyway, and that was a pretty good deal for them.


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