Detroit Slang

Detroit Slang
Detroit Slang

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Detroit slang is an ever-evolving dictionary of words and phrases with roots in regional Michigan, the Motown music scene, African-American communities and drug culture, among others. The local lingo of Detroit can be cryptic, but with a few pointers you should be able to decipher it easily enough.

Detroit has an unusual dialect. Although it shares some similarities, Detroit lingo is distinct from the local language used in the rest of the state of Michigan. Usually attributed to its proximity to Canada and the large number of Southerners who moved here during the first half of the 1900s, the Detroit accent is distinctive for its flat "a" vowel sounds and a slight drawl. Many people claim they can detect a Polish influence as well.

There's a tendency here to add a possessive "s" to the end of business names. It's common in other parts of the Midwest, too, even into New York state. The classic example is K-Mart, which is called "K-Mart's" in much of the region. Another frequent quirky feature of Detroit lingo is the addition of a "d" in the past tense of words like drown and stole, which become "drownded" and "stoled." Many Detroiters also add "eh" to the end of their sentences. It's that Canadian influence again.

But back to the subject at hand: Detroit slang.


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