I moved to Wisconsin almost 9 years ago.  One of the things I learned early on is that they have their own language here.  Of course, I have picked up some of that language as well, even though I still say “I’m from Minnesota, I just happen to live in Wisconsin”.  Here are some of the things I’ve learned:

The County – “We’re going out to the county tonight.”  I had no idea what that meant at first but realized it basically means the country or out-of-town.  I find myself going to the county quite a bit now because I shoot pool for a bar in the county.

County Run – this is some sort of initiation into the Wisconsin lifestyle that is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced.  In short, this is where a bunch of people get together, leave early in the morning, get in a vehicle (or several), drive to the county and bar hop.  Up here in the north land there are two county run loops, a short one and a long one.    Usually the rule is to have one drink at each bar.  My first experience with this was not long after I moved here and thank goodness we did the short loop.  Eleven of us loaded in an orange van with a sober driver (this is another rule) who was also the treasurer.  We met at a bar in town, each chipped in $20, loaded in the van and took off.   There was drinking, food, karaoke (bad karaoke), arguing, a lot of fun and laughter and almost a fist fight.  The whole thing was over 12 hours and I can’t count how many bars.  The three of us ‘newbies’ somehow made it through this initiation but of course you get no trophy, no t-shirt and I really don’t think you’re supposed to talk about it.  I think it’s a secret society.

Buying Beer – Although this term is used everywhere, it means something different here.  In Wisconsin you can purchase adult beverages before 8:00 AM and after 10:00 PM.  Being from Minnesota I had no idea these two things existed.  There are bars here in Wisconsin that open at 6:00 AM!!!

Punching In – Again, this is a term that is used all over the world but here in Wisconsin it doesn’t mean going to work, it refers to when  you had your first adult beverage of the day.  This tends to happen a lot before noon.  Time means nothing here, it’s a lot like Mexico that way.

You Can’t Drink All Day if You Don’t Start in the Morning – I believe Wisconsin is the birthplace of this saying.  They take their beer very seriously here.

Cheesehead – Being a Vikings fan I will just say….you’re seriously wearing a piece of cheese on your head!!??

We’re Going to Watch Bucky – Little did I know they were talking about Bucky the Badger and college football.  I thought we were going to a rodeo, wow was I disappointed, not being a Badger fan and all.

Let’s Go Bang on the Machines – Excuse me? What did you say?  I had no idea when I moved here that you can gamble in bars.  What a strange concept.

Let’s Go Have a Beer at The Garage – That’s odd, it’s cold, why do we have to stand in the garage?  And, why are we getting in the car?  I finally realized The Garage is actually a bar, granted, it is a guy’s garage, he’s just turned it into a bar.  We park in his yard and drink in his double garage, it’s a great double garage but still.

Beer-thirty – Whatever time it is, it’s beer-thirty here in Wisconsin, they don’t judge, unless of course you’re going to wait until 5:00 to have a beverage, then they judge.

Bubbler – This is what they call a drinking fountain here.  I don’t understand it, I don’t get it and I won’t use that term.

Duck Duck Goose – ?????  No idea how that differs from Duck Duck Gray Duck but I won’t play it, sounds scary.

What Kind of Cheese Would You Like With That? – Pretty much any dish you order with cheese here in Wisconsin, you get your choice of cheese.  And it’s not just a couple of types of cheese, there’s some offered you’ve probably never heard of.

There are tons more and I’m sure I’ll get comments and suggestions on others to share.  I will do so when I gather enough.  Until then, I challenge you to use one of the above and see how your friends react.


2 thoughts on “Wisconsin-Speak

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