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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

268

Where Did You Learn to Talk Like That?

Where is your accent on this map of American English dialects? This is so fun! Click near your hometown and you can hear examples of what folks from your area sound like. If you can't find it, Rick Aschmann, the creator of this crazy thing, asks that you send him a sample. Mine would include the following gems: lanteren, patteren, westeren, melk and iggs, warsh, pellow, grodge, crick, accrost, brocco-lie, codden, Eye-talian, thinkin, workin, parkin (in fact, just remove all g's from the end of "ing"), and bolth. [via]



268 Comments / Post A Comment

Polina

Western Pennsylvania yinzer, here. However, not fully. I don't say pop. It's soda.

maevemealone

@Polina I learned pretty young to only say pop when close to home. Too many confused looks and questions when I said it in soda regions. My dad has the most distinct "haus" which really just comes out as "hass".

piekin

@Polina NOOOOOOoooooooo BLASPHEME.

Polina

@piekin I know, I know. I attribute it to the fact that I'm on the fringes of the Pittsburgh circle.

TreatYoSelf

@Polina @Polina Mentioned this below as well, but my BFF is from Pennsylvania and I have endless fun pointing out her exaggerated 'o' sounds "I'm talking on the phoooone before I go hooooome" (all in good fun of course, she makes fun of me right back).

Not to mention both she and my friend from Buffalo say "REESEES PEECEES" and were totally shocked that I said it "Reeses Pieces" (I'm a West Coaster). WHAAAAAAT is that craziness?

Polina

@TreatYoSelf Hahaha. Yeah, I think I might do that. Don't Baltimore peeps have an O complex, too? I have fam in the greater Buffalo area, and they are also ripe for mockery. They say pop as well, though it sounds more like pap.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@Polina
And then also how, if someone is stuck at a party in Pittsburgh without a car, and you are leaving in your car, sometimes she will ask if you can "ride [her] home"!!!

Not really an accent thing, I guess, but still!

Polina

@josiah Have you noticed how often there is a total drop of things like "to give," or "needs to be?" I have a lot of friends who say "this needs washed." I don't know if that is strictly a PA/Pittsburgh thing. But I've heard it in places in England, too. "Where is the coffee?" "It's in kitchen." Related? Any linguistically learned people want to comment?

maevemealone

@Polina There is an explanation for that that I've read somewhere, but can't for the life of me remember where. It's not quite a Penn Dutch thing, but it is a unique grammatical structure to the region. Darn it, now I have to hunt for that article.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@Polina
Yes! My wife often mocks me for saying that things "need washed." (I'm from eastern Pennsylvania.) I really enjoyed the book Albion's Seed, which explains how regional cultural patterns in the United States come from English regional patterns, passed down from the original English colonists who came in groups from particular English counties.

Polina

@maevemealone Ooh yes, let me know what you find! One of the first results when I googled "needs washed" was the Wikipedia article for Central PA accents. And that would be me. "Some speculate that this construction has its origins in literal translations from Celtic languages such as Irish and Welsh, but as of yet, there is no definitive proof."

Polina

@josiah Thanks! I am totally checking out that book right now.

WaityKatie

@Polina Yep, Central PA all the way. So many things baffled me about the Central PA accent when my family moved to Lancaster when I was in 9th grade. Like, the way everyone's sentences sort of go up in the middle and then go back down? (I don't know how else to describe this). I thought everyone was being sarcastic to me whenever they would say things like "DID you then." As a question. Took me months to figure out that is just the way they talk.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@WaityKatie
Wait, you also lived in Lancaster and now practice labor law? This is just toooooo weird!

WaityKatie

@josiah Well, I used to practice labor law. Now I practice a depressing amalgamation of things that are best not spoken of.

Polina

@WaityKatie Huh! Is Lancaster considered part of the central PA dialect zone, though? I thought it was still midland eastern PA.

tortietabbie

@Polina I'm a Pittsburgh transplant and I salute you for using the right word (soda). :)

klemay

@Polina If you're interested in reading about the "needs Verb+ed" construction a little more technically, check this page out: http://microsyntax.sites.yale.edu/needs-washed . It gives you an overview and then refers you to relevant papers if you're interested.

Full disclosure: linguistic papers are NOT fun to read and often assume a certain level of technical knowledge. Most of the time I don't have said technical knowledge.

Clare

@Polina YUNZ RILLY GOIN DAHN DANHNIE ARRIS DRESSED LIKE AT?!

Sorry--Pants N'at is a reflex.

Polina

@klemay Cool, thanks! I am definitely not smart enough for delving too far into linguistics..LING 001 in college blew my mind a little.

noodge

@Polina Hey Polina - Lancastrian here, living in Philly, and the accents in central PA tie in with Philly and Baltimore. So if you go to these places you'll hear slight variations on what @waitykatie was talking about - the funny o's that are drawled, the question/not question sound, and the absence of "to" in infinitive verbs (needs warshed, needs shoveled, etc etc)

noodge

(PS: I discovered this when I was researching the etymology of "jawn" a couple years ago)
(PPS: I bet Waity Katie and I totally know each other, I think we're the same age, and we're both Lancaster transplants around the same time)

Polina

@teenie Yeah, I'm just confused because everything I've read suggests that central PAers are more in line with the western PA dialect zone. Lancaster not even being close geographically to central PA.

noodge

@Polina "Lancaster not even being close geographically to central PA"

really? Hm. I think Florida isn't even being close geographically to central PA. But the technical term for the geographical area of Lancaster is "South Central PA" (which, as a high schooler in the early 90's I LOVED - "livin down in south centraaallll")

WaityKatie

@teenie Yeah, everyone refers to Lanc. as "central PA." I don't know what the official linguistic definition of central PA is, although I think the accents are pretty distinct in Western PA v. Lancaster. And the accents in eastern PA, i.e. Philly, I guess? are different again. But I also hear a huge difference in Baltimore/MD v. Philly v. Lancaster. And Southern MD's a whole nuther thing again. Ah, regional dialects, how entertaining you are.

Polina

@teenie Hey...hey now. Seriously, not trying to be a pedantic jerk. I just think it's a bit strange. Lancaster is the same distance from Centre county as Pittsburgh for instance. One of the southern most counties in PA. And yet as you say: considered south central PA. Yet lumped in with the Philly region on the said map we're discussing, different from the central PA accent/dialect. Weird geographic term wise? Central PA. Linguistically not: East midland. Maybe I should crawl back into my dank Centre county basement.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@Polina
Well, to get all historical on you, I think this is because there were two colonial groups in the area. First were the Pennsylvania Germans and Quakers who settled at the invitation of William Penn. Then second came the Scots Irish who mostly settled throughout the Appalachians, but some of whom also settled in the remaining (which mostly meant less-desirable and hillier) parts of south-eastern Pennsylvania.

noodge

@Polina nono, you're not being a pedantic jerk. i think the separation of the regions has to do with actual geography more than distances, sometimes. so pittsburg is really pretty separated from most of pa from the appalacians, and the harrisburg/york/lancaster area is consider "south central" even though they are more eastern-ish on a map, due to their similar geography and culture. yet they're not "eastern" because, well, that's Philly and the delaware river basin which is, again, culturally and geographically different. that's what i was taught in school, at least.

(I bet if you found the population "middle" of PA, it would probably be about Harrisburg... or a bit further east, maybe even lancaster!)

Polina

@WaityKatie Ahh, to be at the centre of it all. Seriously, this is entertaining stuff!

Polina

@teenie Yeah, of course. But somehow despite the geography, us Centre county folks still ended up with the western PA way of talking about things. Maybe we are just culturally obsessed with being part of the Burgh? Haha.

Polina

And if anyone is still out there watching my rambling, read the first line of the Wikipedia article on central PA accents:

"Central Pennsylvania speech is closely related to Western Pennsylvania speech, which is generally referred to as Pittsburgh English, although the speech extends beyond just the city of Pittsburgh, and also is closely related to the Southern accent, spoken in the Southeastern United States."

SOUTHERN ACCENT?! Okay. I'm going to red up this table for lunch, now.

WaityKatie

@Polina Yeah, and what's with the centRE? What are you, French?!

chevre4evre

@Polina I don't think "Southern" is quite right, but definitely Appalachian. I grew up near da 'Burgh but I have friends and family from various areas of the southeast. While a Pittsburgh accent sounds nothing like proper South Carolinian, I would say that it has more in common with Eastern Kentucky than with Philadelphia. People not from the area tend to confuse "Southern" and "Appalachian" but I am here to tell you that they are quite different. And if you give me 3 classes of wine, I will be happy to demonstrate those differences.

chevre4evre

@Polina Oh, and?: definitely grew up saying "pop." Definitely learned quickly to exorcise that from my vocabulary upon leaving the region.

Polina

@WaityKatie Yeah we're a bunch of nuts. I used to know why, but it has slipped my mind.

@chevre4evre Yes. Totally. I can see that description being more true the closer you get to the Burgh.

deepomega

This map does not account for those of us who developed accents after having our tonsils removed when we were kids.

lue
lue

I am from Oregon and definitely fall in that huge 'the west' section, but people ask me all the time if I am from the south, because they hear a slight accent. I think it's because I grew up listening to so much country music.

KikiCollins

@lue I read somewhere there are small communities of people in eastern Oregon that have retained a fairly thick Southern accent over the years. Maybe you're distantly connected to them? :P

Liina

@lue born/raised/living in Washington (state), but my parents are both from the Chicago area. Once someone who was actually from Chicago asked me if I was from Chicago, based on my speech! I was impressed.

Yahtzii

This map also does not take into the account that I do not have an accent whatsoever, and the people who hear a drawl are just Yankees.

Anna Marquardt

@Yahtzii if you speak, you have an accent.

Yahtzii

@Anna Marquardt I don't talk, I'm an internet creep. I type "y'all" a lot.

silver flats

@Yahtzii you gotta watch them yankees

wee_ramekin

@silver flats A Kentuckian once disparagingly called me a "lil' ohwl' Yankee girl", as if it was supposed to be an insult?

silver flats

@wee_ramekin In elementary school, 'yankee' was the worst insult you could call someone, though (I kid you not) when I was nine a girl called me a 'scalawag' when I said the north didn't seem so bad. I'm still hurtin' over that one...and slightly confused. However, my granddaddy's half-brother told me that I should find me "a rich, yankee boy" to marry when I went away to college, so I guess yankees are okay as long as they're rich and looking for a bride? I don't know. I'm real sorry someone tried to hurt your feelings.

Anna Marquardt

This website's design is bonkers! But I love it anyway.

punkahontas

@Anna Marquardt Seriously! It's like I can't even look at it. But I want to know what it sayaaayyyys.

Lauren_O'Neal

Oh, the good old pin/pen merger. I was so confused when I first moved to Texas and in a meeting, a boss remarked it was "so quiet you could hear a pin drop"...and then dropped his pen on the table to demonstrate.

distrighema

@Lauren_O'Neal I talk like that-- I think I got it from my parents, who grew up within that line on the map. I remember being teased as a kid about it and not hearing AT ALL how my pronunciation was unusual. It wasn't til I was reading some wiki pages on linguistics, like last year, that I realized what that was about.

beecaveroad

@Lauren_O'Neal Ahhahahaha. Yeah I had a horrible moment freshman year of college when my frien ds and I were taking the accent test, and I realized that *I* was that person who pronounced Ben and bin the same- they both have the same twang. Yikes. And "Hauer yew?" Four years in New England and it still comes back every summer.

Lauren_O'Neal

@distrighema "Talking like that" is awesome, especially because of "y'all." I'm so glad I can use a gender-neutral second-person plural without sounding like a tool now!

Emby

@Lauren_O'Neal Oh yes, I know the pin/pen merger well. It is my only verbal quirk and for that reason, I treasure it in a way. Otherwise I sound exactly like a TV anchor. I've tried explaining the merger to my parents, but they cannot even hear the difference between pin/pen, tin/ten, tint/tent, etc.

bitzyboozer

@Lauren_O'Neal It blew my mind when I first learned that some people did not pronounce "pen" and "pin" identically! Now that I think about it more I seem to have developed a slight distinction between the two, but it's a verbal quirk that I was totally unaware of. See also menu pronounced as "minu," which confused me to no end when I first heard someone being mocked for it.

Lillian

@Lauren_O'Neal My dad was born and raised right outside of Philadelphia (so was I), but he says MIN instead of MEN, but not PIN for PEN. AND I JUST DON'T UNDERSTAAAAAND. I make fun of him a lot.

Hot Doom

@bitzyboozer YESSSS. I am from California, so when (or should I say 'win'?) I met people from the east coast, esp. Mid-Atlantic and New England, they couldn't figure out why I was always asking them for "pins" when I clearly needed a writing utensil. I had no idea that things ending in -en and -in were not homonyms or didn't rhyme.

I found that to make myself understood with the difference I have to kind of do a smiling grimace when I say "pen", etc, without looking like I'm the Joker. Sort of like smiling eyes. Smimace?

hopelessshade

@Lauren_O'Neal My Texan boyfriend once stared at me in shock when I used both pin and pen, distinguishably, in the same sentence. I might have grown up outside of Hyoosten, but I was raised by Midwesterners from Denver, for chrissakes!

OhShesArtsy

There's not a lot of information about my hometown/region. Too bad I grew up with television, I don't have much of the regional dialect to send the guy.

Very neat, though!

ebizaleth

@OhShesArtsy You probably have more of one than you think! TV actually hasn't decreased the prevalence/use of regional dialects at all, which is cool and weird.

heb
heb

My Minnesota accent only comes out if I've been drinking.

Katie Heaney

@heb but do you still say "bag" (and everything that rhymes with it) the correct way? i.e., "bayg" ?

sox
sox

@Katie Heaney AHHH! My stepmom and therefore entire step-family says maysure and for the longest time I was like seriously? Where did you learn to talk? Until I met other maysurers.

Katie Heaney

@sox whoa weird! I don't do that! it's pretty much bayg and strong o's for me.

MissMushkila

@Katie Heaney I got called on this so often when I studied abroad with people not from Minnesota. Everytime I said a new word with "ag" in it, they would all go "what? what did you say? can you repeat that?" So I would say "bagle" or "wagon" or "flag" three or four more times before I realized they were mocking me and they would all die laughing.

parallel-lines

@heb Two beers and it's nothin' but UFF DA!

parallel-lines

@Katie Heaney I've lived in NYC for 14 years and I still say 'beg' and get shit for it constantly!

parallel-lines

@MissMushkila someone I used to work with who went to University of Wisconsin had to interpet for me at work on occasion. Fuck, I still can't say bagel and will do anything necessary to avoid it.

Bittersweet

Accents! Love 'em. Grew up outside DC with a Katie Couric accent, but now after 15 years in Boston the Marky Mark creeps in. So I catch myself saying "hawkey" and "cawntent" regularly.

Bittersweet

@Bittersweet: But does anyone else catch themselves unconsciously mimicking the accent of someone they've been talking to for a while? If I'm on the phone with my colleague from Alabama, I have to watch it or I'll start imitating his drawl.

Lily Rowan

@Bittersweet Oh yeah -- that's why my accent is all fucked up (if mostly Standard American). Those tests never think I'm from New England.

Lauren_O'Neal

@Bittersweet YES. During a vacation when I was about 12, my family ended up on the same campground as a family with really strong Minnesota accents. By the end of the trip, my mom and sister and I were all saying "Oh jeez" and "Don'tcha know?" without even realizing it, and the Minnesotan family probably still tells passive-aggressive Minnesota-nice stories about the time they went on vacation and these Californians were huge jerks and made fun of them constantly.

lavender gooms

@Bittersweet Yes! And it's so embarrassing. I'm not making fun of you, honest! I just get accent slippage when I'm speaking with people that have pronounced accents that are different from mine.

I went to France once on a school trip and our tour guide was British. All of a sudden one night it was like a switch flipped in my head and I couldn't stop speaking in a British accent. It was so weird. I'm sure everyone thought I was faking it but I tried so hard to speak normally and it just wouldn't come out.

Katimski

@Bittersweet I've been back in the Northwest for six years and Marky Mark is still creeping in.

OptimistPrime

@showtime_synergy From another person with a creeping Boston accent, your comment makes it sound like Marky Mark is regularly creeping into your house... or bedroom? Which, y'know, could be cool?

OhMarie

@Bittersweet Yes, it rubs off!! I was stuck on an amusement park ride next to a guy with a DEEP southern accent a little while ago and by the time I got off, I was drawling so bad. I'm from Maryland, so saying "y'all" is about as southern as I get normally.

wee_ramekin

I like to think of this phenomenon as a survival mechanism that our (presumably nomadic?) ancestors used to quickly ingratiate themselves with other tribes of wandering folk. It's harder to hate / want to kill / steal the resources of someone who sounds like you! That sort of makes sense, right? Even though I have absolutely no proof and this is just a pet theory? Should I just write a book about it? Say My Name, Say My Name: An Evolutionary Linguistic Approach to Dialect in Pre-Historical Homo Sapiens, by Wee_Ramekin.

@OptimistPrime Uh, you basically just described the plot of Fear.

Faintly Macabre

@wee_ramekin Good start, but needs more colons.

Guy DeBr0'd

@OptimistPrime Marky Mark's usually harmless. It's the Funky Bunch you really have to look out for.

AmbiSinister

@Lauren_O'Neal oh my god. I was at a party when I saw an English dude I once worked with. When he said "hello!" I went "'ALLOW" in the most outrageous english accent I could manage, and then I remembered that we were not doing accents, THAT WAS HOW HE TALKED, and then I apologized for something he hadn't even noticed had happened and then ran away.

applestoapples

I usually speak in a de-regionalized accent around strangers and colleagues and a lot of my friends, but it switches off around my family and other people with borough accents (when I'm drunk, all bets are off).
I still sometimes accidentally say "axe" instead of "ask", and I learned to pronounce the letter R with two syllables (as in "arr-uh").

franceschances

@applestoapples Wait...how else would you pronounce it?

Ophelia

@franceschances Like a pirate! Arrrr!

shousto

@applestoapples Drunk times are when the 'at-home' tongue appears most. My friends like to laugh about my southern voice. That website has "Tiptonville, TN" as the closest to my hometown, and that man sounds like someone off of Swamp People. Probably worse than most in my area, but I've heard his type before.

franceschances

@applestoapples Gotcha! I'm pretty de-regionalized myself, except I pronounce Hot Dog as hut doug, which is apparently weird.

inkysmudge

http://accent.gmu.edu/browse_atlas.php
Check it. This one's for non-English speakers as well, and it gives you the IPA spellings. They do all say the same paragraph though, so it gets weirdly repetitive, like when you say the same word to yourself over and over until it doesn't sound like English anymore.

leonstj

Philly accent here! With a PA Dutch influence. We're under-rep'ed on this map, but the Philly accent is definitely different from the Nor'eastern PA. Growing up in NJ from the time I was 8-18, people constantly made fun of the way I say water ("wood-er").

Polina

@leon.saintjean Philly is over there. And the rest of PA is over here. I kid, of course.

monicamcl

@leon.saintjean Me too! But with a little Delaware County thrown in - although I corrected most of that when I started high school on the Main Line and realized that my accent immediately exposed me as the poor kid. The DelCo accent is horrendous; we can turn a single syllable into three. So "cut it out" becomes "cut it eeeeeeeee-yowww-oot!" Blegh.

noodge

@leon.saintjean me too? kinda? lancaster and philly are apparently more linguistically connected with baltimore (balimore) than new york and new jersey, and my accent is right in between baltimore and philly because of my lancaster roots.

(PS: my 4 year old niece said "youse guys!" for the first time the other day and I thought my english professor mother was going to have a heart attack)

tortietabbie

@leon.saintjean I grew up in central NJ and "wood-er" is how all my friends said it. :)

leonstj

@tortietabbie - this thread. I love youse guys

alsoknownas

@leon.saintjean Totally just had to create an account to tell you all how hard I resisted saying "wooder" in high school. Can you tell I'm from the Main Line? Although I hold that water ice is the ONLY dessert in summer.

leonstj

@alsoknownas - a cool glass of wooder forever! (I actually say wahhter now and it kills my heart)

Faintly Macabre

@monicamcl @alsoknownas Fellow Main Liner here! (Though it kind of hurts to say that.) I say waahhter, though. My sister and I always used to make fun of DelCo accents when we were little, but now I work in an office made up of 80% DelCo women and I find it more endearing. I'm also starting to pick it up, which is kinda weird.

Oh, and do you guys say aaaarange and Lara for Laura? Because those got me a lot of teasing at school.

giantspider

@Faintly Macabre I'm a Main Line refugee! My much younger brother plays hockey in Havertown, and he's developing a full blown DelCo twang ("go" becomes "gaaahhoew" or something like that. Is it just me or is that a particularly hard accent to transcribe?)

monicamcl

@giantspider Hah, you're right. There's nothing we can't add 40 vowels to.

@Faintly Macabre @alsoknownas I'm from Havertown, but I've removed most traces of it from my speech. At least I hope I have... I definitely drink the wahhter, although I do occasionally slip and ignore the "v" in Haverford, so it becomes "Haa-errrferd."

WaityKatie

@alsoknownas Wooder eyessss!

BoozinSusan

@leon.saintjean I say "wooder" too! It's the only word I have a discernible accent on and I've been made fun of a lot (but I will not relent! You can have your wah-ter any day!). But I'm from Lawn Guy Land, so I'm not sure exactly how "wooder" entered my family. Anyway, solidarity fist bump.

alsoknownas

@Faintly Macabre Yes, AAARange! And hAARRibble! I literally know of no other person who says this, including my Philly friends.

cc
cc

@leon.saintjean whew i was afraid i was the only other suburbs of philly lady here. wooder for me, please. also wooder ice (i get flak for that one but GUYS WOOTER ICE!)

cc
cc

@alsoknownas thank you! "italian ice" seems too fancy.

WaityKatie

@alsoknownas I think most everyone on the mid-Atlantic coast says this. I have had multiple discussions with one of my Philly friends on whether Laura and Lara are pronounced the same way, or different. My favorite is east-coasters' pronunciation of ARRR-re-GONE, for Oregon. ARRRR! I'm a misfit bc I lived on the west coast until age 10 and then moved east. Somehow I have not been able to shake the orange/Oregon thing, and I also have mild trauma experiences every time I am called upon to pronounce the word "roof" or "root beer."

WaityKatie

@cc I think you mean fayncy.

fondue with cheddar

@leon.saintjean I'm from South Jersey and there's nobody on here who talks like I do. :( Some people around here have a Philly accent but I don't. I used to say "wooder", but lost it during college because most of my friends were from North/Central. I also lost the characteristic "o" sound which may be more of a southern US thing than a South Jersey thing?

punkahontas

If you've never done it before (or even if you have):
The Accent Test

Alixana

@punkahontas Now I'm just talking to myself out loud in my office, thanks.

Alixana

@Alixana Verdict: I am accentless. Except when drunk and my southern comes out.

queenieliz

@punkahontas It says I have a Mid-Land accent, which probably lines up with growing up in Southern California with a dad from Kentucky/Ohio.

OhShesArtsy

@Alixana

I'm only Southern when I'm drunk, too. The test says I don't have an accent. People from my hometown think I don't sound like I am from there, people from the widwest think I have the slightest Southern accent. Either way, I will always say "y'all".

punkahontas

@OhShesArtsy I barely have an accent, but it pegged me for Philly or just outside of Philly (which is where I grew up.)

candybeans

@punkahontas oh, wow--i haven't lived in NJ for a while, but i still qualify as having a "northeast" accent. that's oddly comforting.
also, @bittersweet: I imitate all accents all the time.I used to live with a woman from Mobile, and for some reason all my friends at the time were southern, and eventually, the twang wouldn't go away even when I was around other people. if my SO and I ever moved to his hometown of Austin, it would take me about a month to stop bothering trying to speak any other way.

Alixana

@OhShesArtsy Y'all 4eva. Does yours also come out in times of intense stress or emotion? My wedding vows came out in what I'm told was an almost-unrecognizable drawl.

OhShesArtsy

@Alixana Definitely. It's acutally kind of useful, people take pity on the girl with the sweet Southern accent more readily and stop doing whatever it is they are doing that stresses me out.

Katie Scarlett

@punkahontas Inland North 4eva!
p.s. Thanks for posting this! It was fun.

bleepbloopblopbloop

@Katie Scarlett Dammit, this just settled an argument my boyfriend and I have been having for the past year. I lost. Inland North, it is.

tortietabbie

@punkahontas I got Midland...good voice for TV and radio, says a random internet survey!

JanetSnakehole

@punkahontas It got me right, inland north. I live in Boston now, though, and it says the only accent I don't match at all is a Boston one. Good to know it's not changing me.

leonstj

@punkahontas - I got straigt up philly too, which is completely accurate. What's philly talk for liquid nitrogen party?

KikiCollins

@punkahontas I got Inland North, but I've lived in the Pacific NOrthwest all my 26 years.
On the other hand, I live in a small farming valley that my ancestors and other Scandinavian immigrants settled 150 years ago.
My boyfriend (who was raised in Sacramento) says I sound like Sarah Palin or someone from Fargo.
Well I say Uff Da! He's just crazy, doncha know! Ya sure ya betcha!

meaux

@punkahontas. Ha! I grew up in Texas, but the test says I have a Northeastern accent. Plot twist: my parents have heavy Brooklyn accents, and my grandpa used to tutor me on the correct pronunciation of water when he would come to visit. "No, not wahhter. Wooodeh."

Alice

@punkahontas Ha, that is surprisingly accurate! I got ""North Central" is what professional linguists call the Minnesota accent. If you saw "Fargo" you probably didn't think the characters sounded very out of the ordinary. Outsiders probably mistake you for a Canadian a lot."

Which is funny, because I AM Canadian!

owlegg

@Alice Me too!

propermake

what about those of us who learned a lot of vocabulary from english/south african professors and the bbc? i have no idea how to say some words in american--like pilaster, offal, turmeric. ok, i just watch a lot of their cooking shows.

Alixana

@propermake I am not sure there ARE american words for those things!

Katie Scarlett

@propermake What a bizzarre collection of words! I like the idea that you might be in a situation where you need to use them all at once, only it's an emergency so it's super important that everyone understand your pronunciation.
"GOOG GOD! This man is choking on offal! He must be allergic to the tumeric used to season it! Lean him up against that pilaster so that his back is supported and he can breath! Quickly, now! QUICKLY!

machinesss

This website is too brutal for me to look at for more than a couple seconds.

But anyways, I never noticed how heavy my Toronto accent was until I went out and worked in Alberta for the summer. There was actually quite a difference in the way I spoke compared to people from that area. I got asked if I was American a lot, which made me rather unhappy.

gobblegirl

@marley a) the Southern Ontario/Toronto accent is hugely recognizable, though I can't describe it. Your 'O's are flat, maybe? Or long?
b) they probably knew you were from out East, but were just fucking with you because you're from Trah'na.

MollyculeTheory

Unfortunately for me, "mother's Edna St. Vincent Millay-esque crazy made up la la land accent" is not on the map.

Decca

@MollyculeTheory I need to hear that!

beerd

Wait, what does the word "dawn" sound like? Because I really thought "don" and "dawn" were homophones.

punkahontas

@beerd You (meaning I) pronounce the W.

dAWWn instead of dAHHn

TreatYoSelf

@beerd I definitely say 'Don' (West Coast/California accent here). I do the same things with some other words as well although I can't think of them off the top of my head.

WaityKatie

@punkahontas It freaks me out when people don't pronounce the W! Lawn chair does not rhyme with Lon Chaney!

QuiteAmiable

I have my good-ole Southern accent. Side note: I know the dude that is the "example" for my area/town. Weird.

The Lady of Shalott

Now I speak with what other people call "a cute little Ontario accent," but when I go home or talk to my parents or get tired or get drunk or...you know, anything, pretty much, I sound like what I am--a Detroit girl with a down-and-dirty Detroit accent. Which has just enough weird Southernisms and Canadianisms to mess people up when they listen to you.

Michigan Accent Pronunciation Guide

mynamebackwards

@The Lady of Shalott I live in new york now and it is SO HARD for me to say that I'm "going upstate" and not "up north."

alpelican

@The Lady of Shalott YES THANK YOU. I grew up mostly in Chicago but my accent is Pure Michigan (TM)

crotch_kicker

@The Lady of Shalott I grew up in Northern Michigan (West Branch - tiny hick town about 2 1/2 hours north of Detroit) I live in So Cal now - but when I'm drunk or tired, or just back from a visit to the family -- I am also Pure Michigan. My hometown is celebrating the opening day of deer season today.

That Accent Pronunciation guide made me pee in my pants. SO FUNNY!

FloraPosteHaste

Is there an explanation of Edgar Oliver's accent somewhere in there?

Katie Scarlett

I love local dialects!

I've lived in Chicago for nearly 4 years and grew up only 1.5 hrs away, and yet every time I hear a real thick Southsider accent it still makes me laugh. If it's coming from a man sporting a mustache: all the better.

So I grew up near the Illinois-Wisconsin border and I always get [lovingly] teased about the way I pronounce a soft "a." I say the "a" really nasally -- like "yeah" -- so it almost has 2 syllables. The words dad, Saturday, and cat really bring this out the most for some reason. Does anyone else do this/notice this in other from the area?

LMac

@Katie Scarlett Oh girl, I feel you. I'm from right on the IL/Wisco border (Gurnee represent!), and my accent managed to stay blandly newscaster until I moved just two hours north to go to school in Madison. And then I had the good fortune to live with three roommates whose Wisco accents could take the paint off the walls. Sure enough, I was soon saying "baaaaayg" "goooooh" and "aboat". Tragedy. I managed to lose the accent when I moved back to Chicago, but every time I go up there to visit, my "o's" get longer and more cartoon-like.

MmeLibrarian

@Katie Scarlett I am from the southern suburbs of Milwaukee, raised by parents from Maine. Things are... confusing. When I'm in Wisconsin and sober, my accent, by comparison, is undetectable. When I leave the state or tie one on, hoo boy, can you tell where I'm from, though I was repeatedly mistaken for German in England. I am also prone to overeager midwestern interjections like "Jeez!" or, as my husband's Jersey relatives have pointed out, overuse of the word "sure" as an affirmation (as in, God help me, "oh, sure." Pretty sure I could melt a bunch of Hairpin hearts with the way I say that.)

My sister is in a ltr with a woman whose mother sounds like Kitty from That 70s Show (I am so not kidding). As a result, my sister's accent is getting worse and worse and... it's adorable.

closetalker11

@Katie Scarlett I can tell the different in accent between someone who grew up in South Boston versus someone from the North Shore. It's crazy.

dustwindbun

@LMac woohoo Gurnee! Warren Township Blue Devils, right? I only lived there for a few years, but it was long enough to graduate from WTHS and work at Six Flags.
I've lived all over the eastern half of the country, and my mom is from SW Michigan, my dad's from the PA side of NJ, and we now all live in MN, but I was born in central Wisconsin and I'm told two things stuck - my love of the Packers (it's like, the law) and my WI accent. And then there's that great Midwestern "melk" one that makes me crazy, but true Chicagoans, from the heart of the city (or at least the rich close-in suburbs like Forest Park) sound completely different! So much rounder vs. the Midwest flattening.

LMac

@dustwindbun I'm actually from an even smaller town right next to Gurnee (Grayslake represent?), but I totally worked at Six Flags! I think it's a rite of passage for every kid in the area. So gross.

And you're totally right about the Chicago accent - in the richer neighborhoods, nobody has a "Midwestern" accent, but when you go to the more working-class areas, everyone sounds like they are in an SNL Bearrrrrs sketch. Also, all the cops seem to have it. And it is awesome.

anise

@Katie Scarlett I am also from the IL-WI border. (Harvard? Anyone?) I grew up saying "bayag" and "baygel" and "claahset".

Now I live in Minnesota and talk like a Minne-soh-tan despite my best efforts.

dustwindbun

@LMac omg Grayslake! and Wildwood! which wasn't really a town but they got very clique-ey about their neighborhood? But yes, I almost married a Grayslake-ian. Good times.

@anise I've heard of Harvard, but just wanted to say I feel your pain as an IL/WI-er transplanted to Minnesota, donchaknow.

annepersand

My accent is bonkers (pronounced bawnkass, no, just kidding) because I grew up in an equal split between The North and Bahwstin. But then my mom's Liverpudlian (which, for reference, the North in England gets shit on like the South in the US) and I've picked up a lot of her vowels and sometimes stop short when I hear myself sounding particularly broad/"American" when I'm speaking. And then sometimes I go weirdly West Virginian/North Carolinian when I'm talking quickly and I don't even know where that came from. And I say y'all.

Katie Scarlett

@annepersand I love Scouse! I find it oddly endearing -- probably because it often sounds so "sing-song." I never understood why everyone else in England found it so awful.

annepersand

@Katie Scarlett I love Scouse too! Her favorite expression of sympathy is "bummer," and my friends and I have endless fun imitating her back and forth to each other. "BouuUOUmer" "BuoOooUMer"

Katie Scarlett

@annepersand Aw, I say bummer all the time too! But I'm sure it sound so much nicer coming from a Scouser.
I didn't know any English people used it that way. When I lived in England in college, one friend used bummer to mean "a person who sucks up to someone" and another friend used it to refer to "a gentleman who enjoys bum-sex." OH, LANGUAGE!

annepersand

@Katie Scarlett To be honest, I doubt it's an English thing, I don't know where she picked it up from but she has made it her own and it sounds hilarious.

dustwindbun

@annepersand Sounds very 80s? Ninja Turtles said "bummer" all the time in the cartoon. Reminds me of (only in reverse) a girl I went to college with who was Croatian (and a French major with me), but grew up in the US learning English from TV, so she had this cute little Valley Girl voice - and it showed up in English, French, and Croatian. Charming.
I worked with a guy from Birmingham (England), and it was so funny to hear him saying really American things in his Ringo-sounding voice. I sent him a nasty client on the phone once, and he came up to me after and said (picture Ringo saying this) "You were right, that guy was a dick." And I laughed so hard I fell out of my chair.

gobblegirl

I wish there were better distinction between the various Canadian regional accents here! If I weren't afraid of putting myself on film, I'd submit a clip from Edmonton...perhaps each Canadian 'Pinner should find a video of a local personality on Youtube to submit? I don't like only being represented by Ralph Klein.

suchagoodone

@gobblegirl Edmonton represent! (Originally from Calgary, though.) I would love to hear my small-town Southern Albertan cousins' accents on there, as well as your average rig pig.
I went to university in the States and within the first month of my freshman year (ha ha- freshman year...) I learned not to say 'bag,' 'flag,' or 'sorry' around Americans because they would make me repeat it over and over because they seemed to not actually understand what I was saying. And then they would say it back to me and laugh.
Glad to be back in the True North with my 'sore-y' instead of hiding behind 'saaawwry.'

pinecone

@gobblegirl If only my relatives were on YouTube. They're all textbook Jewish Montreal! (Complete with lack of volume switch.)

sam.i.am

I spent half my childhood in the Midwest and the other half in the South, where I've stayed as an adult. I've tried really hard not to get a Southern accent, but people from "up north" think I have one. Anyway, when I'm tired or drunk, they both come out really bad. "Y'all, I can't drahve mah carrrrrrr."

I also love freaking people out by asking, "Are you from X? Because you sound like it." Not all Southern accents sound the same. Charleston =/= the Carolina mountains =/= Northern Alabama.

LornaLoo

I am somewhat surprised that he didn't sequester Ypsilanti, MI off from the rest of the state. People who grew up there sound like they are straight up from the South. So much, that assholes like me call it Ypsi-tucky.

kayjay

@LornaLoo I used to live in Ypsi, but I didn't grow up there. I never noticed the Southern thing, though.

DarthRachel

@LornaLoo

my roomie in college was from Ypsi and it's not quite southern but the whole kentucky thing.. i get that. she def didn't sound like those of us who grew up in clinton twp.

HoliandIvy

My admittedly nuts-sounding home accent isn't there (South-west Connecticut). It isn't super strong, but, wow, does it roll out when I'm there (also when I'm drunk).
I considered sending in a suggestion, but the best example I could think of is Thurston Howell III's parody. Which combined with its relative rarity totes casts aspersions upon the 'real' version.
So like that, but for real?

piekin

FROM THE GIANT RED CIRCLE THAT IS PITTSBURGH.
One time a clerk at a bookshop in Bourgogne, France explained to me in broken English that he could tell I was a native Pittsburgher because of my awful accent.

Polina

@piekin Damn! I knew we were recognizable, but that recognizable?

oh, disaster

@piekin Cannot get enough of that giant circle around the yinzers.

Katie Scarlett

@piekin What a jag!

Polina

@Katie Scarlett Are you in my brain? I was totally going to say something about jagoffs.

OhMarie

@piekin My parents are from Pittsburgh, and so was my middle school French teacher. We were at one of those progressive parent/teacher/also child conference meetings, and the teacher was making some point about grammar. She said, "I goed DAHNTAHN--now doesn't that just SAHND funny?" My mother laughed so hard she had to leave the room.

Faintly Macabre

@piekin So weird--I'm from outside of Philly and I once had a professor in France tell me he knew I was from the mid-atlantic region because of how I spoke French! I didn't know it was so distinctive!

joie

I am living proof that you can grow up in the same town as Sarah Palin, go to the same schools, go to the same church and even move in the same social circles and have a completely different accent. Her accent is some sort of deranged Minnesotan bastardization and mine is just drawly.

PistolPackinMama

@heyits she doesn't sound like a Minnesotan. She sounds like a Parody Minnesotan.

joie

@AnthroK8 Or as I like to call it, faux folksy. Fauxsky?

Katie Heaney

@AnthroK8 yes, we Minnesotans have got our own deranged-Minnesotan-bastardization-accent lady to deal with and that's enough, am I right??

PistolPackinMama

@heyits oh yes you are and yes we do. I live in that very lady's district, and her faulxyness pursues me everywhere.

What I hate about HER voice is how condescending it is! Ick. Or, ish, even, if you are from Minnesota.

dustwindbun

@heyits I looked it up once and that part of Alaska had a colonist influx from Minnesota, hence the Parody Minnesota accent? You must just be lucky/not descended from those people, I guess?

But yes. We shall not speak the name of MN's own TeaBagger, lest she suddenly appear and destroy us, like Gozer from Ghostbusters.

kayjay

@heyits Wait, did you grow up in Wasilla? I lived practically down the street...Eagle River.

joie

@dustwindbun There are a lot of Johnsons and Petersens in that area, for sure. My folks hailed from NYC and St. Louis, respectively, so I am sure that influenced my accent.
@kayjay !!!!! seriously? that's crazy. I did grow up in Wasilla, well, closer to Palmer (which I feel is an important distinction) but yeah...valley trash. How long has it been since you lived up here?

kayjay

@heyits I moved away in 1994, and then my parents moved to North Pole a couple of years later, so I haven't been back to that area since...1996 or 97? I think?

You? Do you still have family there?

joie

@kayjay Yes and yes. I'm in Anchorage (shit, now everyone on the internet knows where I live!) and my parents and my child's dad's family all live around here, so I don't see myself moving anytime soon. North Pole is brutal in the winter! My mom used to take my sister and I up there in the winter to visit this commune our weirdo church was affiliated with, and I remember thinking that a place that cold shouldn't be inhabited by humans.

kayjay

@heyits Okay, I need to hear MUCH more about the commune in North Pole and your weirdo church. Because I grew up in a weirdo church, too.

I actually kind of hate North Pole a lot. I've gone there many times to visit my family for Xmas, and I moved away from Alaska because of the cold and dark. So experiencing it during the holidays is not my idea of a good time. Especially since my folks don't allow booze in their house. North Pole absolutely shouldn't be inhabited by humans for any reason at all, whatsoever.

Anchorage, on the other hand, I adore, and I can't wait to drag my dudefriend and daughter there sometime when I have thousands of dollars of disposable income. Sitka, too. Lived there when I was little. My father was a state trooper so we lived everywhere in the state.

Sorry for the verbal explosion on the topic of Alaska. I rarely find any other fellow Alaskans (I live in NY now...now they know where I live, too!) to reminisce with!

joie

@kayjay ahhh! email me at heyitshairpin at gmail dot com and we can swap horror stories!

TreatYoSelf

I LOVE this!! This is a conversation with friends I've had many times. My BFF is from Pennsylvania and I have endless fun pointing out her exaggerated 'o' sounds "I'm talking on the phoooone before I go hooooome" (all in good fun of course, she makes fun of me right back). I'm from California and I have been told I have a California accent, although it seems to be west of the rockies, accents get pretty flat and much less distinguishable. What I've been told is that Californians talk much faster and really slur their vowels together, as well as inserting more slang into their vernacular. Of course, that depends on the person but I kind of believe it.

The weirdest accent to me is a Delaware one. Half of my family is from there and it's this very unusual mix of New England mixed with Southern.

OptimistPrime

@TreatYoSelf AGREED. My first roomie in college was from western PA, and I loved her crazy o words. I grew up in NH, but I don't have a strong accent. I just have a couple words that make me sound vaguely Bostonian or Canadian... the people in PA thought I had a distinct "oot" in my "about," and thought my pronunciation of "room" was hilarious. I pronounce the "oo" like foot or book, instead of like soon, if that makes sense.

jflux

@OptimistPrime I delurked just to comment on this! I'm from Mass and I pronounce "room" as "rum" too. My roommates in NYC found it hilarious.

OptimistPrime

@jflux EXACTLY. Just because they read their booooooooooks in their rooooooooooooms. I'm just lazy with my oo sounds.

cocokins

@OptimistPrime Ah! And those silly NY people with their "ahranges" instead of "oranges." What is that?! Talk about weird "o" sounds. They should talk.

LeafySeaDragon

@TreatYoSelf i'm a native ca (disneyland basically) and i really hate when people say that they can't understand me. i moved to az years ago and it took about 6 months for me to slow down enough for locals to understand me. i just moved from orange to portland or and i'm getting a little of it now, too. and i KNOW i don't talk as fast as i used to. and i really need to stop saying dude and awesome. people are looking at me funny :/

Lauren_O'Neal

@LeafySeaDragon That is really interesting! I'm a Californian, and I've never had people in other places ask me to slow down. (I have gotten a small amount of teasing about "dude" and "hella," though.)

LeafySeaDragon

@Lauren_O'Neal did you listen to the language samples? i'm a solid ca2, but in my younger years (pre-az move) i was a solid ca4 (much faster).

Maria

Was a little scared to click, but I feel like they represented St. Louis well (John Goodman & Joe Buck for the examples). It was also interesting that we are included in the North, separated from the rest of Missouri.

shousto

@Maria It's true though! I'm from Tennessee, and the people in St. Louis at the hotel could hardly hide their laughter at the accents of some people in my group.

Maria

@Maria I'm sorry, that wasn't very nice of them.

LeafySeaDragon

@Maria i love john goodman's voice, he is underrated vocally, i want him to narrate things.

Maria

@LeafySeaDragon At one point he did all the prerecorded announcements in the St. Louis airport.

LeafySeaDragon

@Maria i just fangirled a little.

PistolPackinMama

I live in Minnesota, and my family are from here. My parents have Minnesota dialect markers, but neither of my brothers nor myself do. We have what you might call Military Airbase Overseas English. Which is basically Standard Brian Williams Newsreader English.

PistolPackinMama

@AnthroK8 Also, this is so much fun to dink around with. Yay regional dialects!

melmuu

Wait, so I thought when my bf teased me for saying "laygs" and "aygs" he was just being silly, because duh, how else would you pronounce those two things? But I see now, that... ugh.

klemay

The sample from Manchester, NH is totally how people talk there... but not how I talk. WHAT IS MY ACCENT.

OptimistPrime

@klemay Seriously. I recognize it as what "people from NH sound like" but basically nobody I know actually talks like that.

cocokins

@OptimistPrime Oh, hey. Yeah, I feel like I just talk normally? Maybe it's because to me it's normal. None of that Mainey "Ya cahn't get theh frum heeaah" in these parts.

silver flats

Lynchburg, VA is my hometown. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson are the examples...womp womp. Yes, my accent is Southern...Southern hick. It's adorable and not at all annoyin', she says with a smile and a twinkle in her eyes. Praise Jesus.

oh, george

I have been waiting for a map like this for ALL MY LIFE.

Carrie Cook@twitter

Officially accent-free! Changing my whole life/career trajectory and am going to become a famous newscaster! That's how these things work, right?

Onymous

I speak perfect Cascadian English. Or God's English as it would be know if the British weren't so terrible at their own language.

tortietabbie

I grew up in NJ to Michigander parents...so I have a weird mix of Jersey and midwest. The Jersey comes out when I get stressed - "off" becomes "awf," etc.

Now I live in Pittsburgh and the dialect here is endlessly fascinating. I love the "yinzer" accent and I love the way "to be" gets dropped (that needs done!). I love listening to people talk!

Polina

@tortietabbie I love the term "Michigander."

el.aitch

Boyfriend says my Cleveland accent comes out when I'm mad ("myaaad"). That northern cities vowel shift is some real shit.

Coal Tar Epoxy

The Atlantic provinces cannot be lumped together like that. Only part of New Brunswick can be represented by Donald Sutherland, who in the video proclaims that he considers himself a Bluenoser, not an NBer. But I guess my accent is similar to his, which is kinda cool.

JanetSnakehole

Whenever I'm describing Wisconsin to someone who's not familiar with it I hold out my hand (because, you know, Wisconsin is mitten-shaped) and draw a diagonal line down along the inner edge of my thumb to my wrist, because southeast Wisconsin and northwest Wisconsin are in no way the same. It's pretty accurate to see that line replicated on this map.

parallel-lines

@JanetSnakehole You can tell someone from Wisconsin when they say 'Whe-SKEHN-sen' - their voice will be totally normal and then go nasal once they hit that word.

closetalker11

I need to submit a Baton Rouge accent! Maybe from my mom, though, as my accent has been affected by my 12 years in Boston. It's more "southern city" than "cajun," but that influence is there. And it's definitely different than in New Orleans, which has an accent all it's own.

Creature Cheeseman

@closetalker11 Native of Lafayette. My (very) cajun friends would always make fun of the Baton Rouge accent. It's definitely more southern.

Nutmeg

My ex told me once I had a "Glastonbury, Connecticut" accent, and when I called bullshit ("Who else do you know from there?") he told me, "Eddie." Eddie's my brother.

But this guy at the bus stop in Quincy told me I sound French Canadian, so I don't know who to believe!!

pinecone

@Nutmeg Quin-zee?

Nutmeg

@pinecone Yep, Quin-zee Mass! my landlord there had a perfect South Shore accent, and I met a lot of interesting people at the bus stop while I was smoking, whether I wanted to meet them or not.

pinecone

@Nutmeg Some of my Dot relatives ended up in Quin-zee (Wollaston, specifically). I get teary every time I hear someone say "bah-DAY-does" for "potatoes." Even better is "Please pahhss the bah-day-does." Old-school Dorchester; reminds me of my grandmother.

Nutmeg

@pinecone Wollaston! The night after I first slept with a dude (last summer! oh man have I made up for lost time since then) I drove straight from his place in New Hampshire to Wollaston Beach and sat there with my coffee and cigarette and watched the sun rise with the homeless guys on the benches.

And I've been smoking ever since.

wee_ramekin

I cannot even deal with how much I love this website. It is amazing.

Jessica Poynter@facebook

I once read about a dialect study concerning "pin" and "pen." They would gather pairs of people who knew each other, and one person would read from a sheet of paper that was just random "pin"s and "pen"s, while their buddy would tick off which one they heard each time.

The speaker was certain he or she was pronouncing each word distinctly, but the listener was no more correct than if they had flipped a coin.

And they had to stop the study because the pairs were fighting too much!
"Whaddya mean pin, I said pen! You deaf?"
"You're the one mushing the words up! YOU SAID PIN"
"GRAR"

I have to go look up that study now. I'll be very disappointed if it turned out I imagined it.

MrsLlama

@Jessica Poynter@facebook This is why Southern people say "ink pen." To distinguish from like...a pin.

Elsajeni

@MrsLlama I always made the distinction of "pen" and "stick pin". You know, for sticking things with.

DarthRachel

@Jessica Poynter@facebook

yes.. please link us to this study! i def make a distinction but all my classmates when i moved to south carolina.... well they mangled it all so much i found it all fascinating!

gfrancie

I dig that they noticed that if you live in Washington there is that hint of Minnesotan/Scandi accent that lingers among the natives. Of course growing up near the Canadian border (and watching plenty of Canadian television) it sort of muddled things for me even further.

KikiCollins

@gfrancie YES! I took that Accent test and scored Inland North, even though I'm born and raised in the Skagit Valley. Lotsa Scandahoovian influence, donacha know!

itiresias

yay linguistics! i am shocked to not have found more jersey natives in the comments. i'm from there with brooklyn and staten island parents, i think it's beautiful. i didn't grow an accent until i moved out and missed home, and like someone said, it's quite mild unless i'm drunk or stressed. I've always liked the spelling of the "Awl", though, for that reason, although I'm realizing now I have no idea where it came from.

Now I live in Bahhston. Fahk the tawk up heah, it's ugly as shit.

parla

@itiresias right? i'm kind of surprised (saprised) that more jersey/new york (yawk) accent havers haven't come forward. I grew up on Long Island/NYC and my accent is apparently super thick. I never realized it until college (which was in Brooklyn) when I had roommates from California and made friends from all over the place. They always wanted to hear me say things like "cawwwfee" or "dawg wawlk". Putting "a" at the end of things doesn't really come out anymore unless I'm stressed ("Oh gawd, I gotta finish this paypa!" or angry ("you betta not be tawkin ta me like that guurl," ::waves finger::)

parallel-lines

@itiresias I made my Staten Island born and raised boyfriend take the accent test Punkahontas posted right after I took it (Minnesotan) and when he would say something and I'd refute it, he'd yell, "Whaddya tawking abowt!?"

I will say this: when I was in school for speech pathology/audiology, I ruled out some schools in the NYC/LI area because of the profs and how comically strange their accents were (ahem, Staten Island). You can't be in a therapy session saying, "Okay, youse pro-nownce ahfta me."

TheMostHumble

@itiresias New Yawk City in the house! I was scrolling thru wondering where the NYC ppl were at! So many interesting points, but I have to say I disagreed with the guy's assertion that NYC accents are all based on class, not ethnic background. I think there's an overlap b/c the majority of traditional NYC working class has been Irish and Italian. They're the ones who mostly speak that "Brooklynese" and in their neighborhoods is where it mainly still exists. (for example: the firemen that were on the Youtube clips, and basically sound like everyone I know lol) I'd say working class Jewish, Black, and Puerto Rican have their own distinctive accents.

TheMostHumble

@TheMostHumble And omg how much did I love the curl=coil thing! Its like Eedit & Ahhchie! (does anyone talk like that anymore, save some old-timers?) On a similar note, my grandfather (poor, working class Brooklyn from Brooklyn parents) pronounced "toilet" as "terlit" and "theater" as "thee-ater". He also pronounced "black guy" as "cullid fella", so change can be good?

pinecone

@TheMostHumble I think it's a mix of class and ethnic background. I was less than satisfied with that guy's assessment too. He didn't seem to be taking into account changes over time and changes related to migration within the New York area. A lot of firefighters, for example, live on Long Island these days. Many Long Islanders have roots in working-class areas of the outer boroughs (usually Brooklyn and Queens, but not always). There's a distinctive Long Island accent, but maybe it's hard for non-locals to hear it.

TheMostHumble

@pinecone Totally. You could probably do a just-as-involved study on NYC and its surrounding areas. There's also the children of working class NYers who are now middle-class NYers but maintain the same speech.

And now with Brooklyn and even Queens seeing a huge influx of non-native NYers, and an economy that is pretty unfavorable to the working class here, you've got so many working class families moving to Jersey, PA, upstate, down south, whatever, and taking their "Brooklynese" with them. The linguistic landscape is changing bigtime.

Decca

I used to work in a touristy-place and American tourists would always ask me "So, what part of the States are you from?", even though I was born in Dublin and at that point in my life had never been to North America. It was understandable, maybe, because I found I did start to inflect my voice upwards like an American, enunciate very clearly, etc. I was dealing with people from all over the globe, so I think I toned down any natural Dublinisms just for ease of understanding. But then I couldn't deprogramme myself from that fakey way of speaking, and my friends would tell me to stop speaking like an American.

Aaaaand then I moved to Boston for a year and nobody could understand what the fuck I was saying. So many blank looks!

Hot Doom

@Decca That's interesting! I've noticed that there are a lot of similarities between how Americans and Irish people pronounce things, more so than with British English pronunciation. I just thought it had to do with Irish immigrant accents becoming watered down and eventually becoming a common accent in the States. Hmm!

TheMostHumble

@LolaLaBalc Also big Irish influence in Jamaican patois. Apparently the Brits sent Irish prisoners there back in the day. So you get the one, two, tree thing. Also dropping of the "h" sound at the beginning of words.

MrsLlama

This is my porn, you guys.

Learning about accents drives me crazy!

MrsLlama

Also can we talk about the country's CRAZIEST accent, which is old time Outer Bankers (NC) and Okracoke Island? Those guys are so historically isolated that they sound like they are straight outta Elizabethan England. I get very excited when I meet someone who still has it. Hoi toide on the sound soide indeed!

noodge

@MrsLlama What about the gullah? one of the women who worked in my dorms in college was from Georgia and was full gullah, couldn't understand her at all, but loved hearing her talk.

DarthRachel

@teenie

and the Pennsylvania dutch accent! WHAT IS THAT?

DarthRachel

I grew up in southeastern Michigan, moved to South Carolina early on in high school.

which basically means no one can understand me ever. EVER!

kayjay

I knew, KNEW before I even clicked on Alaska that Sarah Palin was going to come up. It's bad enough that she was the governor of my home state, but now everyone thinks that's how everyone from Alaska sounds. The Sen. Mark Begich video is much closer. Most people assumed I was Canadian when I moved to the lower 48. Now I sound like I'm from nowhere.

Any other Alaskan 'pinners?

SecretlyStephie@twitter

Oh, St. Louis Corridor, thank you for my Yankeetalk.

BoozinSusan

Anyone else unwittingly take on accents of people they hang out with? My best friend is Scottish and now I have that long "o" going on, which I can't seem to help. It's kind of embarrassing.

cocokins

Do "father" and "bother" ever rhyme anywhere? I'm on the Northern New England/Eastern New England side of things, and most definitely those two words don't rhyme. But, why would they? Unless one pronounces "father" as "fohther"?

bitzyboozer

@cocokins I think I pronounce them pretty much the same :(

cocokins

@bitzyboozer Interesting! Where are you from, roughly? I'm fascinated! (Also, I got made fun of a LOT by many a college friend for saying "Aunt" as "Ahwnt" instead of "Ant," so, I'm not judging. Pure curiosity!)

WaityKatie

@cocokins I pronunce them the same, but my accent is a mess due to spending half my childhood in the pacific northwest and the other half in various parts of PA. And some Michigan in there when I was really young. Yeah I don't know what I sound like, probably some other species.

SecretlyStephie@twitter

@cocokins I pronounce them the same as well--"father" and "bahther". I'm from St. Louis; we have northern accents except for this weird thing with "o". Fourty is "Fahrty", etc. When I say "Star Wars", it rhymes.

LeafySeaDragon

@cocokins i say awhnt because it sounds nicer than ant. not because it's a regional thing.

WaityKatie

@LeafySeaDragon See, I always think people who say awhnt are pretentious, and associate them with people who say "foy-ay" or "vallett." Or who believe there is such a thing as a "great room," etc. I have issues. But I do realize that there are some regions where it is normal and not affected to say awhnt.

Hambulance

@cocokins Yikes. Really?? I'm from Boulder, CO and firmly believe that father and bother rhyme. I've been called out for certain words like tour (two-er) and Coors (Coo-wers) but father and bother have never been an issue. This is honestly so freaking fascinating to me.

LeafySeaDragon

@WaityKatie is it affected to say foy-ay? i thought it was correct. i was always told it was low class to say foy-yer. your not the first person to tell me i have affected speech. a 'friend' gave me a super hard time for saying pis-tah-she-o and peh-kahn. (but she is not native californian, she was from the east coast)

ps i say val-ay not valett.

WaityKatie

@LeafySeaDragon Well, this is just my admittedly ill-informed and probably randomly biased opinion, but I always thought saying foy-ay was a bit...hypercorrect, I guess. It's the kind of thing people say when they are trying to speak "properly," but it's also kind of like going around calling Paris "Paree." I mean, the French do pronounce it that way, but we aren't French, and it's just...I don't know. Embarrassing, somehow. Re: peh-kahn, that I will defend to the death, because I am convinced that is the proper way to pronounce that word. The weirdest pronunciation I have heard of that is "PEE-kin," which, what??? But generally, people who make fun of other people's accents are tools and I don't want to be one of them, so I try to keep my random judgments to myself, most of the time.

Liina

@cocokins They rhyme in Washington state!

bitzyboozer

Lifelong Texan here. No worries! I don't feel like I have much of the stereotypical Southern or Texan accent--people usually tell me I have the "newscaster accent"--so it's interesting to learn I still have some quirks.

yamtoes

I'm always disturbed when my (northern-WV raised) husband says "collard greens" because he says it "colored greens" and it sounds racist. I have tried correcting him, but to no avail...

Roaring Girl

I'm not sure if I win the accent game or fail at it utterly--I live right in that orange-striped part in the middle where we speak "General American" or as I like to call it, Radio American. I also call it City Iowegian--rural Iowans tend to sound like Minnesotans or southerners.

chevre4evre

@Polina I don't think "Southern" is quite right, but definitely Appalachian. I grew up near da 'Burgh but I have friends and family from various areas of the southeast. While a Pittsburgh accent sounds nothing like proper South Carolinian, I would say that it has more in common with Eastern Kentucky than with Philadelphia. People not from the area tend to confuse "Southern" and "Appalachian" but I am here to tell you that they are quite different. And if you give me 3 classes of wine, I will be happy to demonstrate those differences.

LeafySeaDragon

i just moved from oc in socal to portland, or. a lot of the people here talk oddly, and the pronuciation is all weird. example: i live near flavel street (i said fluh-vell) every says flaah-vull with a really long a and short a. it's driving my earholes crazy. another one is clackamas (klaahhh-ka-musss) ARGH!!!!! it's so full of hard and harsh sounds.

LeafySeaDragon

@LeafySeaDragon OH GOD IS THAT HOW I SOUND? i just listened to the ca samples, the ca2 could be me reading. i like to think i annunciate better than the girl recorded.

Addie Johnson@facebook

@LeafySeaDragon I always say "Fluh-VELL", and I say anyone who pronounces it otherwise is sadly mistaken... I was born and raised here, and I feel like a lot of Portlanders pronounce things all wrong. Perhaps they're all the lazy young people who come here to retire :)

LeafySeaDragon

@Addie Johnson@facebook there is def an odd mix here. if you look at the map it looks like there is a schism of accent right around portland.

i have full on snapped and been rude to three people who walked by me and drawled, "hello, how are ya, whatcha doin'?" because i thought they were talking smack. *ashamed* i realized by #3 i was perhaps mis-reading.

happymisanthrope

!!! they pulled up videos of Gabby Hayes... which I realize just gives away my hometown.

littleginger

My fiance's family has THE most insane Boston (south shore) accents happening. For serious, they put the Kennedy's to shame. I literally could not understand his parents the first few times I met them. It's all Paaaahhhth (path) and Cellahh (cellar) and mahhhntal (mantle). It's not nasal like a metro-Boston accent, but softer and maybe a little British? Sadly, Fiance has a non-accent. Go figure.

On a related and seasonally appropriate note: they pronounce Thanksgiving with the emphasis on the THANKS. THANKSgiving. This sounds weird to me. I have a non-accent.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

"EYE-talian"? <3 u, Jane, but... like... not PC.

I like that they break down all the different New York area accents, because I remember being like 18 and in Jersey for the first time and not really noticing that my cousin and his wife had different accents because they're just from different parts of the same city, but they themselves were like "Come on, that's a Brooklyn accent! You can't tell?"

Then again, Montreal's the same. I pronounce "mirror" and "drawer" more or less the way they're spelled, in two syllables, but I have friends who grew up in different parts of town and say "meer" and "drore" and what even is that.

kodak0

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