'How to Speak Midwestern' author Apr 18

Why do we do that? Why do we put a “no” at the end of a question? As in, “It’s cold out today, no?”

Edward McClelland knows why. He also knows why Wisconsinites feel the need to add “yet” and “once” to simple statements like, “Get me a beer once, long as you’re up yet.”

McClelland will reveal all at his presentation at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 18, at the Fond du Lac Public Library. The author of How to Speak Midwestern is the guest speaker at the Friends of the Fond du Lac Public Library’s annual meeting. Everyone is invited, no registration required; refreshments will be served, and McClelland will sign and sell copies of his book.

McClelland, a native of Lansing, Mich., is the author of four nonfiction books. He last visited Fond du Lac in 2013 to talk about his history of the Rust Belt, Nothin’ But Blue Skies: The Heyday, Hard Times and Hopes of America’s Industrial Heartland. He got his start in journalism at Lansing Community College and landed at the Chicago Reader, where his coverage of the 2000 campaign resulted in the book, Young Mr, Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Columbia Journalism Review, Salon, Slate and Playboy.

“How to Speak Midwestern” mixes large doses of humor with solid reporting, giving insights into the origins of and circuitous paths taken by language, pronunciation and word use. The book includes glossaries broken down by state. Wisconsin entries include “boughten” (past participle of “to buy”), “Start with me last” (take everyone else’s order first) and the Milwaukee Goiter (if you don’t know, you need to hear McClelland speak). Yah.

The Friends of the Fond du Lac Library is a nonprofit organization that promotes and encourages the use of library services by fundraising, supporting special events and providing programs for the community. For more information, visit www.fdlpl.org/friends.


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