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WEP In the Media

 Tom Purnell psyched about doing "History Sandwiched In"

Tom Purnell, psyched about doing “History Sandwiched In”.

Some past events

  • Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 12:15-1:00 pm. “History Sandwiched In”, Wisconsin Historical Museum, 30 N. Carroll Street, on Madison's Capitol Square.
  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 7:00 pm. Spring Green Community Library, Spring Green, Wisconsin.
  • Thursday, April 10, 2014, Wisconsin Alumni Association, Austin Chapter. Founders’ Day. The Languages of Wisconsin.
  • Saturday, February 8, 2014,Wisconsin Talk book signing, UW Press booth, Garden Expo, Alliant Energy Center, Madison.
  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014, Spring Green Community Library, Spring Green, Wisconsin.
  • Thursday, April 10, 2014, Wisconsin Alumni Association, Austin Chapter. Founders’ Day. The Languages of Wisconsin.
  • October 24, 2013, A discussion about the book "Wisconsin Talk: Linguistic Diversity in the Badger State" with two of the three co-editors, Joseph Salmons and Eric Raimy, at the McMillan Memorial Library.
  • October 18, 2013, A discussion about the book "Wisconsin Talk: Linguistic Diversity in the Badger State" with the three co-editors, Joseph Salmons, Eric Raimy and Thomas Purnell, as part of Madison Public Library's Wisconsin Book Festival.
  • September 9, 2013: Wisconsin Talk: Engaging the public's interest in language, a lecture by Thomas Purnell, Eric Raimy and Joseph Salmons as part of the 2013-14 Language Institute series.
  • Presentations as part of the Language Matters for Wisconsin project, supported by The Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment from 2009-2011. Information, handouts, and videos of certain public events can be found on the Language Matters for Wisconsin project website (under the Outreach/Publicity tab).
    • February 24, 2008: Manitowoc Public Library
    • April 13, 2008: Mead Public Library, Sheboygan
    • April 20, 2008: Old Royal Inn, Mineral Point
    • April 21, 2008: Gateway Technical College, Kenosha
    • April 26, 2008: La Crosse Public Library
    • May 19, 2008: Rhinelander District Library
    • May 29, 2008: Appleton Public Library
    • June 7, 2007: Beaver Dam Community Library
    • June 21, 2007: Watertown Public Library
    • October 17, 2007: UW–Marathon County Theater, Wausau
    • October 23, 2007: UW-Superior Rothwell Student Center
    • October 23, 2007: UW-Superior Multicultural Center
    • October 25, 2007: Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center, Ashland
    • November 13, 2007: Portage County Public Library
    • April 1, 2006: UW-Madison Union South
    • March 27, 2006: Plaza Hotel & Suites Conference Center, Eau Claire
    • March 22, 2006: Milwaukee Public Library

 Wisconsin Talk coverIn the News and On the Air...

Reviews of Wisconsin Talk

Language, vol. 90, pp. 545-548, reviewed by Wayne O'Neil, June 2014. This review, by one of the leading figures in bringing linguistics into education, does a beautiful job of putting the book into the context of the Wisconsin Idea.


Menominee Nation News, reviewed by Christopher Anderson, April 7, 2014

Isthmus, reviewed by Julia Burke, September 19, 2013, "Wisconsin Talk is a smart, amusing look at our state's linguistic quirks." 


Whad'Ya Know

Print and web media

The Cap Times, Michelle Stocker. May 15, 2015. “Bubblers around Madison”. 

Twin Press. Andy Rathbun. May 12, 2015. “That Minnesoooota accent is something to be proud of”. 

University of Wisconsin-Madison News. Jim Dayton. May 6, 2015. “More than 150 students recognized with awards”. 

Washington Post. Reid Wilson. November 18, 2014. “The languages we speak at home, mapped by county”.

The Upshot. Gregor Aisch and Robert Gebeloff. August 15, 2014. “Mapping Migration in the United States”. 

Wisconsin Life

The Cap Times, Jack Craver, August 31, 2013, "Are Today's Immigrants Really Less Inclined To Learn To Speak English?", Bobby Tanzilo, July 27, 2013, "New books talk Wisconsin Talk and Badger State history."

WhooNEW (Northeast Wisconsin), Ashley Steinbrinck, June 27, 2013 "10 Silly Things We Say In Wisconsin."

ABC News, Cristina Costantini, June 18, 2013: Study: Latinos Learn English Faster Than Past Immigrants.

News and Notes (UW-Madison College of Letters and Science), Tom Ziemer, April 1, 2013, "Interactive State Map Assists on Problematic Pronunciations."

Badger Voice, Wendy Hathaway, May 2012, "'Listen Here Once': The Why and How of What Badgers Say." / Pioneer Press, Rubén Rosario, January 19, 2011, "English-Only Bill Is Unnecessary But Assures Drazkowski's Re-election."

Mineral Point Democrat Tribune, February 4, 2010, "Mineral Point Gets Involved with Language Matters for Wisconsin."

Deseret News, Scott Bauer, November 15, 2009, "Palin's Way of Talkin' Dissected, You Betcha."

Daily Herald (Suburban Chicago), Burt Constable, March 21, 2009, "Learning to Be Tolerant Trumps Need to Learn English."

The Huffington Post, Daniel Cubias, January 2, 2009, "Sprechen Zie Deutsch?: Did European Immigrants Really Learn English Quickly?", January 2009, "Linguistik: Renitente Deutsche."

Arizona Republic, Daniel González, December 9, 2008: "Migrants' English Use Rebutted."

Toronto Star, November 1, 2008: "'English or Bust' is New Reality for Immigrants: Knowledge Economy Drives Language Needs."

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 1, 2008: "Immigrants of Past Hung Onto Old Languages."

Wissenschaft aktuell, October, 21, 2008: "Auch deutsche Migranten keine Wunderkinder beim Sprachenlernen."

The Capital Times, October 18, 2008: "Study Debunks Myth That Early Immigrants Quickly Learned English."

UW-Madison Press Release, October 16, 2008: "Study Debunks Myth That Early Immigrants Quickly Learned English."

Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, Richard Meryhew, Oct. 3, 2008: "MinnesOHtan? Palin just sounds like one."

Arizona Republic, Kevin McDermott, Oct. 2, 2008: "Palin spoken: An atypical accent can spell success."

NewsoftheNorth.Net, Sarah Juon, May 15, 2008:: "How your expressions and vowel sounds give you away as a 'Skahnsinite'"

Wisconsin State Journal, March 30, 2008: "You bin shiftin' yer vowuls?"

The Lake Superior Sounder, October 25 2007: “How we Wisconsinites tend to talk and talk."

Beaver Dam (Wis.) Daily Citizen, June 8, 2007: "Boiled Lawyer and the Bubbler."

Wisconsin State Journal, February 22, 2007: "'Heartland' -- A Mystical, Culturally Diverse Area."

Wisconsin Week, October 17, 2006: "Podcasting for Student Ears."

Chippewa Herald, September 5, 2006: "You Say 'pop,' I Say 'soda'."

Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, September 5, 2006: "Regional Accents Abound in State."

Associated Press article, September 1, 2006: "Speech Differences in Wisconsin Being Studied."

On Wisconsin, Summer 2006: "Talkin' 'Skahnsin. Linguists Listen to How We Talk 'round Here." PDF

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 24, 2006: "Some Beg to Differ with Linguists."

Isthmus, Madison, WI, weekly paper, March 24, 2006: "Something to Talk About: Wisconsin Englishes Project Charts Trends in Dialects." PDF

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 21, 2006: "That Wisconsin accent . . . or is it an eccent?"

University of Wisconsin News, March 16, 2006: "Linguists set sights on "Skahnsin" English"

Wisconsin State Journal, March 17, 2006: "Researchers Want to Hear That 'Sconsin Slang" (PDF)

UW-Eau Claire News Bureau, March 14, 2006: "Linguists Invite Area residents to Discuss 'Skahnsin' English."

Interview with Joe Fryer for News Extra Feature entitled "Minnesota/Wisconsin: Our Evolving Dialects." 

KARE 11. Minneapolis/St. Paul. Original airdate: November 27, 2005. [On-line print version]

Badger Herald, March 11, 2005: "UW Linguists Find Dialect Differences."

Press Release: Wisconsin Englishes Public Forums, March 2006 (PDF)

Television appearances

ABC Univision News, Study shows Latinos Learn English Faster than German Immigrants

WEAU TV13, Eau Claire, Wisconsin. On-air interview on Wisconsin dialects with Judy Clark. News 13 Today, December 20, 2006 [No link available].

WISCTV3, Madison, Wisconsin, April 12, 2006: Television interview with Thomas Purnell.

Radio interviews

Western Spectrum, Wisconsin Public Radio, June 26, 2014: Al Ross talks to Eric Raimy and Joe Salmons about language in Wisconsin.

WORT 89.9 FM, Madison, October 16, 2013: "A Public Affair: Discussion of the book WISCONSIN TALK"

Wisconsin Public Radio, Central Time, July 22, 2013: Rob Ferrett and Gene Purcell talk with Tom Purnell about how where you are from in the US determines how you say things (about 30:00 into the show).

KPCC, 89.3 FM, Southern California Public Radio, July 17, 2011: "After 23 years in the U.S., should an immigrant be expected to speak English?" With guest Joseph Salmons.

Language Matters: Joseph Salmons interviewed on Norwegian national radio (Kulturnytt, NRK) about the influences of immigrant languages on English, September 7, 2010

National Public Radio, Jennifer Luden, April 7, 2009: "In Rural Wisconsin, German Reigned for Decades."

WRJN Newstalk 1400 AM, Racine, WI. April 22, 2008: Radio interview by Pete Ferrand with Joe Salmons.

WBEV 1430 AM, June 6, 2007, Community Comment: "'Skahnsin English."

WORT 89.9 FM, Madison, May 30, 2007, "A Public Affair."

Interview with Steve Roisum, WPR La Crosse, October 10, 2006: "Wisconsin Dialects Are Changing."

WIBA 1310, Madison, Wisconsin, March 30, 2006: "Dueling dialects in the Badger State" Radio interview with Joe Salmons and Thomas Purnell.

WTCB-FM, Columbia, South Carolina, March 28, 2006: Radio interview with Joe Salmons and Tony Clyburn.

Whad'Ya Know? Radio show, March 25, 2006: Part one

Wisconsin Public Radio, interview with Ben Merens, March 22, 2006

External Websites and Blogs & Dialect and Linguistics Websites

Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE)

The Dictionary of American Regional English. Documenting the varieties of English—those words, pronunciations, and phrases—that vary from one region to another.

Bert Vaux's dialect survey 
An extensive on-line survey of American dialects. The first Dialect Survey has been completed, and the resulting maps and statistics are available.

Phonological Atlas of North America
Now published as a massive book, this website still contains lots of information about vowel differences across American dialects. 

American Dialect Society 
The professional organization for people interested in American dialects and publishers of the journal American Speech.

Do you speak American? 
A PBS project with sound samples and additional information. 

Studying Varieties of English 
Created by Raymond Hickey, Chair of English Linguistics, Essen University, Germany, this site is intended for students of linguistics—or any other interested persons—concerned with varieties of the English language

The Linguist List
If you want to go beyond Wisconsin into the world of linguistics, here's a great resource.

William Labov
The leading figure in the study of American English vowels and founder of 'variationist' sociolinguistics.

Labov on YouTube
William Labov discusses the Northern Cities Vowel Shift in American English. From the documentary "Do you speak American?"

American Languages: Our Nation's Many Languages Online 
A project aimed at digitizing, interpreting, and making accessible important fieldwork audio collections capturing a variety of American languages and dialects. Incorporates materials from the Dictionary of American Regional English and the Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies. See also the developing digital collection of recordings at UW-Madison.

 A Way with Words

A way with words
A public radio program about language examined through history, culture, and family.

Schwa Fire
Schwa Fire is a new online magazine devoted to language and linguistics. (There's a subscription fee and individual articles can be purchased for a modest price.)

Related Organizations

Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures (CSUMC) 
Committed to the languages and cultural traditions of this region's diverse peoples, CSUMC fosters research and the preservation of archival collections, while producing educational and outreach programs for a broad public audience.

Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies (MKI)
The Max Kade Institute is dedicated to researching the story of German-speaking immigrants, preserving American print culture in the German-language, and sharing the Institute's resources through outreach and publications.

National Heritage Language Resource Center

NHLRC is developing effective pedagogical approaches to teaching heritage language learners, both by creating a research base and by pursuing curriculum design, materials development, and teacher education.


Mr. Verb
A Wisconsin-based linguistics blog. Mr. V's motto is: "Language changes. Deal with it. Revel in it."

Miss Pronouncer
A pronunciation guide for everything Wisconsin.

Language Log
The most widely read linguistics blog.