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April 1, 2014 Happy april fools! Merriam-Webster accepts “Yooper” into the dictionary KATELYN WAARA News Editor It all started with a friendly game of Scrabble. Steve Parks, a Michigan native, “import” of the U.P. and current resident of Gladstone in Delta County, was playing the word game with a friend in early 2000. Looking down at his tiles, he realized he could spell “yooper” for 11 points. “Yooper isn’t a real word!” said the friend, calling Parks out on his choice of vocab, which was apparently unsuitable for the game. Grabbing the dictionary, the friend proved to Parks that “yooper” indeed wasn’t defined and therefore could not be played for the 11 points. Now, this month, after that motivating Scrabble game, many letters to Merriam-Webster and much fun along the way, “yooper” will finally be recognized in the dictionary with the definition “a native or resident of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan – used as a nickname.” “People from out of the area ask why it is important,” said Parks, adding that he tries to explain that it really means something to the people who live here. “We have our own unique identity and culture. It is important because to me, the word itself is tied in with feelings about the people, the land and the lakes.” Parks’ letters to Merriam-Webster began in 2002 and the reply was always the same. Regionalism was a major factor, and Merriam-Webster believed “yooper” didn’t pass their criteria because it wasn’t widely used outside of the U.P. or Michigan. After writing another letter in 2004, Parks was told to try again in 10 years. Instead, in 2009, Parks wrote to the publishing giant, urging them to include the term in their next edition. This time, he News: 3 Post-view of Preview Day News: Yooper A resident or native of the Upper Peninsula of Michiganused as a nickname. Merriam-Websters’s definition will appear in the 2014 edition of the dictionary. dealt with Emily Brewster, Associate Editor, who believed the word had some potential. “Emily dug a little deeper,”said Parks.“She was encouraging.” Over the next five years, Parks wrote to Brewster under many pen names, telling her anecdotal stories of the U.P.’s characters, many of which were based off of his friends. Parks formed a partnership with Brewster where he would send her items and documents to further fulfill MerriamWebster’s criteria, including proof of the use of “yooper” in 4 “Party in a glass” Students compete to prepare best mixed drink Pulse: 7 Tech Archives remembers the Houghton High “Old School” Opinion: Stephen King’s novel “Duma Key”, a crossword puzzle clue his mother found in the Boston Globe and even national media coverage’s use of the term. Think: “There sure are a lot of Yoopers here at Lambeau today!” In the fall of 2013, under a pen name, Parks again wrote to Brewster. In a defeated tone, he told her he was disappointed that another fall would soon be gone and “yooper” had still not been added to the dictionary. Accompanying the Continued on page 5 10 Wanted: Blue light phones Sports: 13 Ex-Captain Brad Stebner signs with the ECHL’s Stockton Thunder


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