If you’re from Wisconsin, do you say bubbler? Or do you end a sentence with “eh” or “ainna”?
Joe Salmons, a linguistics professor at UW-Madison, spoke to the Waunakee Rotary Club about Wisconsin English at the March 5 meeting.
Joe was one of the participants in the UW’s Badger Talks program, where experts share their knowledge with the state’s communities.
A native of North Carolina, Joe noticed after he moved to Wisconsin, the state had its own dialect.
“There’s a whole lot of interesting stuff going on here, some of it with English,” he said.
Joe played a recording of four different speakers and asked if club members could identify which were from Wisconsin. Most members correctly identified one from the Badger State. Another, who members thought was from out of state, actually was a Wisconsin resident, but the recording was from the 1950s.
Linguists have found that Wisconsin English is new and is getting more and more distinct, Joe said. While other state’s dialects and accents have remained somewhat stable, Wisconsin English came into being around the 1980s, which Joe referred to as the “Fargo” era
Most people in Wisconsin agree that they can recognize a Wisconsin accent, he said. They also agree that their speech sounds friendly.
As for the term “bubbler,” it’s used mainly in the eastern part of the state and came from a Kohler water fountain label.
While some Wisconsin accents are more rural than others, including “Manitowoc Minute” Charlie Behren’s, bubbler is not a rural feature. Still, most people don’t identify it as a proper term.
Wisconsin English is changing fast, but changes can be heard in other states, including North Carolina.
That’s because young people want to be different from their elders, he said. Social change also occurs with demographic changes as people move to other states.
But people identify with the places they are from, and it takes several generations for a dialect to become establish.
Wisconsin’s may have developed later than other states’ because so many people who settled her spoke the language of their native countries.
Other News:
-The club voted David Weishoff as the recipient of the Rotary Business Person of the Year award. Congratulations, David!

-John Cullen thanked all of the club members who helped with the Super Raffle. The event was on March 4 at Rex’s Innkeeper.

-Linda Olson retired – but couldn’t stay retired. She’s now working at BDO CPA, where her daughter works.
Guests: Joe Salmons, speaker; Lyndsey Wilson, guest of David Weishoff.
Birthdays: March 1, Rex Endres (belated); March 15, Rich Murphy; March 17, Ellen Schaaf.
Anniversaries: None.
Programs: March 12, Club Assembly and U.S. Census update; March 19, Rob Kaas, Walgreen’s pharmacist on the opioid epidemic; March 25, Michael Wagner, UW journalism professor, on deciding what’s true in a polarized society.
Greeters: March 12, Cindy Patzner and Danny Paul; March 19, Ken Pesik and James Pingel; March 26, Erick Plumb and Corey Randl.