How to Do a Minnesota Accent

Learn how to do a Minnesota accent from voice and speech coach Andrea Caban in this Howcast video.

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So let's work on a general Minnesota accent. We're gonna go straight for the stereotype, and then you can kind of knock it back from there. Depending on what you're going for. So let's work on the oral posture of the Minnesota accent. Take a look at me saying this phrase. 'Oh geez, I've known him for 20 years or so.' So watch what's happening with my mouth. 'Oh geez, I've known him for 20 years or so.' So there's a lot of lip corner tension, and there's not a lot of jaw movement. So you get kind of a little bit of a smile there. They call it the Minnesota friendly accent. The diphthong O. The two elements O in your Minnesota accent become shorter, to a more of a pure sound. So, Minnesota becomes Minnesota. O, O, Minnesota. The diphthong I. Because the jaw tension in the Minnesota accent, it brings that sound very far forward to I, I. I becomes I. And also, because the jaw doesn't move that much that R sound becomes kind of hard. So work and further are the R sounds in the words work and further. Work and further. So in this oral posture, the ah sound becomes more forward. So father becomes father. Gone becomes gone. So what's the musicality of this accent? Listen to this phrase, 'Oh geez, I've known him for 20 years or so.' There's a lot of upward inflect. It's a very friendly accent there. So that tells you a little bit about the people from Minnesota, possibly. But don't take my word for it. Go listen to some native Minnesota speakers, and discover the accent for yourself. Take a look at the oral posture. Take a look at the sound changes, and the musicality. And it'll give you a good idea of what the accent is like.

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  • Andrea Caban

    Andrea is a voice and speech coach and an actor in New York City. She believes you can train your muscles of articulation, your ears, your eyes, your brain and your spirit to attain the accent(s) you want. Her passion for exploring accents lead her to creating multi-character solo plays. As an award-winning solo artist, she has performed across the US and abroad and is currently touring her play Questions My Mother Can’t Answer. Andrea studied voice and speech under master teachers Catherine Fitzmaurice, Dudley Knight and Phil Thompson. She holds an MFA in Acting from UC Irvine. Andrea coaches actors and non-actors from all walks of life on speech/accent work and is available for private coaching in person and via Skype.