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March 1, 2005 |

Post to the Host:
As a non-native Minnesotan, I have always been self-conscious about the way I pronounce the word AUNT, as I make it sound like the insect. In previous broadcasts, I have always heard you refer to his AWNTS, as many people in this part of the country do, but tonight you talked about ANTS. Anything Kafkaesque going on here, or just equal-time pronunciation?

Carol Roede
Rochester, MN

Oh my dear, that phrase "non-native Minnesotan" makes me feel that we native (but non-aboriginal) Minnesotans have been unwelcoming and sniffy about you and your accent — have we? I'm sorry if it's so. I love Minnesota but lived happily elsewhere for years and could again and make no apologies for it. One big reason for living here now is to afford my 7-year-old daughter the pleasure of being around her AUNTS. She has four of them in the vicinity. As to pronunciation, it maybe depends on the aunt. My aunt Ina was an awnt and aunt Elsie was an ant and one could go right down the list. As a theoretical thing, I'd probably say AWNTS but when it comes down to specifics, visualizing those ladies whomping up Thanksgiving or teaching Sunday School or sitting on the porch with a glass of green nectar, then they begin to seem more antly. Your awnt is a woman of high standards who expects you to toe the mark and your ant is charitable and funny and a little irreverent. An uncle, on the other hand, is always an uncle.

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