Although I was born and raised in west Michigan, I spent several years traveling for work in the Midwest. I spent time living in states like Nebraska and Missouri and it was certainly eye opening to learn how the other half lives! They do things a little differently out in the Heartland.

Now that I've been back in my home state for a year, I'm finally settling in to that Pure Michigan lifestyle-- which includes speaking like a true Michigander! Here are several words and phrases that have made their way back into my lexicon since moving home to The Mitten:

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No, Yeah

via Bell's Brewery
via Bell's Brewery
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Outsiders may be confused upon their first time hearing this phrase; does it mean 'no' or does it mean 'yes'? Not to be confused with "Yeah, no", this phrase is in fact an affirmation.

The phrase is so popular even Bell's Brewery named a beer after it saying, "The label and design play into the meme culture that pokes fun at Midwestern Politeness... this Golden Ale stands out on the shelf and, just like many of the Midwestern phrases we use, demands repeating. Just a really nice beer."


Party Store

via Google Maps
via Google Maps
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I never really thought much of this phrase until I moved out of Michigan, which is apparently the only state who refers to a liquor store or a convenience store as a "party store". Upon asking Nebraskans where the nearest party store was I was promptly directed to Party City-- wrong kind of party!

Why do we refer to it as a "party store"? Probably because you get all the supplies for your party there including liquor, snacks, and red Solo cups.


Euchre

Photo by Sven Ciupka on Unsplash
Photo by Sven Ciupka on Unsplash
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Once you're gathered at said party, what do you do? Play Euchre of course! The trick-taking card game is a popular pastime for us Michiganders. According to one source, Euchre also gets credit for introducing the Joker card into modern playing decks.

The closest I ever got to finding a card game resembling Euchre out in the Midwest was another trick-taking game called Pitch that my Nebraska friends taught me. Ever heard of it?


Michigan Left

Michigan.gov/MDOT
Michigan.gov/MDOT
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Throughout my time in the Midwest I never saw any sort of traffic configuration that resembled the Michigan Left. First introduced to Michigan roadways in the 1960s, a Michigan Left requires drivers to go straight through an intersection and then make a U-turn at a median crossover. These intersections are very confusing to out of towners!


Yooper/Troll

Mackinac Bridge
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
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Ask any non-Michigander what a "Yooper" is and they will respond with a blank stare. The slang term is a common way we Michiganders refer to those who live "Up North" in the state's Upper Peninsula, or the U.P. for short.

Conversely, those who live in the Lower Peninsula below the Mackinac Bridge are referred to as "trolls". The mythology surrounding the Nordic beings says the creatures are commonly found living beneath bridges.

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