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Yooper Dialect

Yooper, Dialect, and the Upper Peninsula on Jeopardy

The Upper Peninsula is so frequently left off maps that when our demonym, Yooper, shows up on Jeopardy, it’s a pretty big deal.

dem·o·nym : the name used for the people who live in a particular country, state, or other locality

Coincidentally, the definition example on dictionary.com mentions Michigander and Michiganian, but they don’t mention Yooper. Most demonyms are reserved for states and countries as a whole. Few demonyms exist for smaller defined regions like the Upper Peninsula. Outside of those states and countries it’s hard to find borders as defined as the Upper Peninsula. It’s one reason we’ve always celebrated Upper Peninsula’s  silhouette. It’s unique, recognizable, and well, just straight UP awesome.

When it comes to any sort of national scale, the Upper Peninsula is known to few, the term Yooper is known to even fewer. It’s no wonder why us Yoopers take such pride in seeing it broadcast not only nationally, but internationally. What’s interesting, is that when it is, the term Yooper is often used in the confines of the dialect, as seen here and here.

The latest example comes from Jeopardy. On March 10, 2014 the word Yooper showed up as an answer on Jeopardy. However, this wasn’t the first time the word has been used on Jeopardy. We first took note of it being used in 2003 for the category “Odd Words”. Who you calling odd, Trebek?

In addition to Yooper showing up at least three times on Jeoprady, Upper Peninsula has shown up at least 21 times, according to J! Archive. In 2004, contestant Emily Riippa from Grand Rapids, even mentioned her love for the Upper Peninsula. At the time, she was just 12 years old. Emily, wherever you are, we have a free shirt waiting for you!

Take a look at all of the mentions below. We left off the answers–errr–the questions, because we think you’ll be able to fill those in just fine! You may even learn a few new fun facts, cow-calling anyone? We’re impressed, as according to J! Archive, the contestant got each of the following correct. Perhaps, people are more knowledgeable about the Upper Peninsula than we thought. Alex, we’ll anxiously be waiting the next one!

Yooper on Jeopardy

DATE CATEGORY VALUE ANSWER
11-26-2003 Odd Words $1,600 Yoopers are people from this part of Michigan.”
12-21-2005 Actor-Playwrights $200 Jeff Daniels wrote “Escanaba in da Moonlight”, a “super Yooper comedy” set on this state’s Upper Peninsula
3-10-2014 Dialects $800 Yooper is an English dialect spoken primarily in this state’s upper peninsula

Upper Peninsula on Jeopardy

DATE CATEGORY VALUE ANSWER
9-8-1990 Highways & Byways $800 This bridge links Michigan’sUpper & Lower Peninsulas
11-14-1991 Annual Events $300 This state has an annual Upper Peninsula state fair in Escanaba in August
7-6-1993 Forests $400 Ottawa National Forest isn’t in Canada but on this state’s upper peninsula
2-10-1997 U.S. Geography $400 Laughing Whitefish is a well-known waterfall in this state’s Upper
6-3-1997 U.S. Geography $200 This state’s Upper Peninsula has 2 land regions: the Superior Upland & the Central Lowland
6-23-1998 U.S. Geography $800 This Great Lake’s deepest point, 1330 feet, lies about 50 miles north of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
10-18-1999 Highways & Byways $500 Michigan’s Upper & LowerPeninsulas are connected by this suspension bridge that’s 1.58 miles between anchorages
4-12-2001 Ain’t That America $100 The Mackinac Bridge joins the upper & lowerpeninsulas of this U.S. state
4-18-2001 State of Confusion $800 This state got its Upper Peninsula from Wisconsin in 1837, making up for its loss of Toledo to Ohio
2-25-2002 American History $200 In 1805 this territory was created from the Indiana one, with all or parts of the lower & upper peninsulas
5-20-2004 Annual Events $800 A cow-calling contest was among the events in 1928 at this state’s first Upper Peninsula State Fair in Escanaba
2-23-2007 U.S. Cities $400 With a name from the Chippewa for “on the summit”, Ishpeming is a top ski center on the upper peninsula of this state
7-18-2008 State’s Highest Points $400 Mount Arvon on the Upper Peninsula
5-6-2009 Bodies of Water $1,600 (Jimmy of the Clue Crew points to a map on the monitor.) The Straits of Mackinac separate theUpper & Lower Peninsulas & connect these two Great Lakes
7-14-2010 Annual Events $800 An annual Michigan event is the Labor Day walk over this bridge between theUpper & Lower Peninsulas
1-12-2011 State Sandwich $1,200 It’s the cheesy filling between Illinois & Michigan’s Upper
1-2-2012 State’s Highest Points $800 Mount Arvon on the Upper Peninsula
5-4-20012 Know Your State Borders $200 On this state! Specifically, on this state’s northeastern border, it’s Michigan’sUpper Peninsula!
3-25-2013 Ohio History $400 In an 1835 “war” Ohio got Toledo & this state got itsupper peninsula
4-29-2013 State Facts $600 It’s the only state that is divided into 2 peninsulas,upper & lower
6-10-2013 State of the Onion $200 “Unable to rebound after the failure of its upper-peninsula franchise”, it “has been forced to close its borders”(Alex: You have to identify the state that is being satirized by The Onion.)

If you know of any other examples, send them our way!


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