Sunday, March 20, 2011

Michiganians or Michiganders?

What do we call ourselves? Friend Eden said good-bye from California and a lovely conversation last night with "please do a post about Michigander - it's pejorative." Intrigued, I did a little research this morning. Scholarly work by Hans Sperber, Ohio State University reviews Andrew Marckwardt's "Wolverine and Michigander." Sperber claims dialectically and linguistically that Michigander has no right to exist. It is a unique formation, and absolutely isolated in its origin. Okay. Eden mentioned an attribution to Abraham Lincoln, the gander meaning to imply goose. The quote is from a speech in Congress on July 27, 1848. Maybe Lincoln was not the first to use it in his campaign against Lewis Cass for President, but it appeared in the Whig and Free Soil literature of the 1848 campaign. I followed links and trails to a treatise on the use of live wolverines at the University of Michigan stadium. You'll be glad to know no live wolverine has appeared on the field in Ann Arbor for 50 years. Whew. Aside: Michigan will meet Duke today at 2:45 EST. Hail to the victors! Back to Michigander: recent governors have used Michiganian. Snyder reverted to Michigander. A new poll by Resch Strategies over a list of 600 voters, reveals 58% self-identify as Michiganders. Resch Strategies is a new company (2009) with public relations backgrounds around a particular party. So, who knows. 600 is not a large sampling, and the timing is...interesting. I've used "Michiganderanian" in jest, much the same way Lincoln used Michigander, but if I'm serious about proper etymology (which I am), and proud to be a Michigan resident (which I am) then henceforth I will call me a Michiganian. Thank you, Eden!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Linda! I knew you'd get to the bottom of it. I do find it very interesting that Snyder uses Michigander. Hmmmmm...