You Know You’re From Detroit When You Use This Phrase
There are many ways to tell if somebody is from Detroit. They may have a strong allegiance to Faygo and Vernors. Perhaps they also root for the Red Wings, Lions, Tigers, or Pistons. However, if someone uses this specific phrase of Detroit slang, you know for certain they are from Detroit.
Not every Lions fan is from Detroit. Same with all of our sports teams, so going by that might make it tough to identify a true Detroiter. If you listen, you can always tell if someone is from the beautiful Motor City by one particular thing they say.
Understanding The Michigan Accent
First off, I’m not talking about the Michigan accent. Which I only recently found out we had one here in Michigan, but it is true. I never noticed it until it was pointed out to me by someone who lives out of state. Now, it’s all I hear! Our Michigan accent is like a blend of the Minnesota accent (I know, I know…) and the Canadian accent.
I’ve been asked if I’m from Canada more times than I can count because of my accent. Due to Detroit’s proximity to Windsor, and Canada as a whole, it’s no surprise that we picked up some of their accent and habits. It’s understandable. A lot of the Michigan accent is in the way we pronounce our vowels. We also “Michiganize” our words, as Owlcation puts it. We sort of rush through a lot of words we’re saying and that creates a new pronunciation.
Like, when we say “mom” it kind of ends up sounding like “mahm” instead of “mOm” with an emphasize on the O sound. The next time you go to a drive-thru and place your order, pay attention to how you’re pronouncing things (or make someone else order and pay attention to how they’re pronouncing words). You’ll likely hear a lot of “gimmie” instead of “give me” or, “can I getta cheeseburger” instead of “can I get a cheeseburger.” Likewise, an interstate highway is an “innerstate.” The way we rush through words is very Michigan.
What Is Detroit Slang?
However, the Michigan accent isn’t the only way to identify a Detroiter. There are some other common giveaways like calling soda “pop.” That’s something unique to us. So is adding a random “s” to our grocery stores like Kroger or Meijer. For us, it’s usually “I’m going to Krogers” or “stopping at Meijers.” For some reason, we make those plural.
The other day, I mentioned wanting to go up to The U.P. to someone who lives out of state and they had no idea what I meant. I was taken back. Do out of staters really not know the Upper Peninsula? Isn’t that, like, Geography 101? As it turns out, most out of staters don’t know it as The U.P. it’s always the “Upper Peninsula.” They aren’t hip to our slang, yet.
Through all of these unique pronunciations and phrases, there’s one for sure giveaway that isn’t said in any other part of the country. Do you know what it is?
You Know You’re From Detroit If You Say This
There is no better and faster way to tell someone is from Detroit than hearing them say, “What Up Doe?” It’s always a guarantee that they’re from Detroit if they use that phrase.
Nobody in Chicago says, “What Up Doe?” Not in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York City, nor Miami, neither. What Up Doe is all ours. It’s our slang way of asking “what’s up?” or “how are you?” It’s become Detroit’s standard freeing.
According to The Toronto Sun, the phrase can trace its origins back to drug dealers in the early 1980s. More recently, it was made popular by Detroit rapper Tone Tone with hits hit, “What Up Doe?” The phrase is as Detroit as Coney Dogs! I find myself using it all the time. Co-workers who are older than me say it, as do the younger ones. It’s a phrase that’s Made In Detroit.
What Up Doe is not the only slang that’s popular in Detroit! Check out some more common sayings below.