We Hate to Break it To You, But the ‘Michigan Accent’ Just Isn’t Unique
Spend any amount of time on social media and you'll see someone who has posted something 'funny' about the Michigan Accent - you know like "we say pop!" Sorry to pop your bubble, but the Michigan Accent' isn't unique. It's not even an accent.
It's a dialect, Inland Northern American English to be specific.
Inland Northern American English
Natives of southern Michigan speak what's known as Inland Northern American, an English dialect. You share your "Michigan Accent" with folks from about Syracuse in Upstate New York through Buffalo to Cleveland then across the Mitten to Milwaukee.
Basically everyone around the lower Great Lakes talks about the same. And, yes, they all say "pop." If you want to use the soda/pop deliniation to define about where our Michigan dialect starts, the soda/pop line falls right in the middle of Upstate New York. While those closer to the Atlantic Ocean say "soda," that begins to change right past Syracuse and it's all "pop" once you get to Buffalo.
This Inland North American dialect really starts with a vowel movement. This video explains how we have shifted our a's to sound a bit more like e's, and that caused e's to sound different. It's a bit shifty, but these videos explain it well.
Listen to a few examples here:
Upper Peninsula English
Ready for more linguistic buzzkill - the Michigan Accent doesn't even cover the whole state. Northern Michigan natives speak a completely different dialect, Upper Peninsula English. Speakers of the Yooper dialect have more in common linguistically with northern Wisconsin and Minnesota than with other Michiganders below the Bridge.
So there you have it, Michiganders. Your "accent" isn't that unique. And it doesn't even cover all of the state.