Thursday, December 30, 2010

This Is So Cool!

This is a map of American English dialects. (h/t to [redacted]) You can even click on various areas and hear the different pronunciations of common words. It's fascinating! Though the creator has clearly never visited Northeastern Pennsylvania. We've got our own thing going on that is completely different from other areas of Pennsylvania and the Northeast in general.

It's funny for me to experiment with this because I lived in so many different places growing up that I picked up bits and pieces of various dialects and ended up with a mishmosh accent. I say "werter" instead of "water" and "wursh" instead of "wash". I got that from Indiana. I do, in all seriousness, say "y'all", which is left over from three years in Texas. I refer to the coastal region of New Jersey as "downashore" from two years in Philadelphia. (The weather reporters will literally say, "The weather downashore this weekend will be . . ." It took me three months to realize that "downashore" is not the name of a town in New Jersey.)

Anyway, have fun!


  1. To be fair, "Y'all" fills a particular slot (second person, plural) that English doesn't have a better word for, and which is often needed for clear communication. As far as I'm concerned, it gets a pass.

  2. Yes, I was very impressed when I learned that Spanish had a difference between second person singular and plural, because it is difficult to express the difference between "you, just the one of you" and "you, all of you" in English without being overly wordy.

    Hence, y'all.

  3. Thankfully, I don't have the Boston accent due to years of speech therapy at an early age.

  4. ACK! I have met Reba McEntire, I am from the same place as her, and not all of us sound like her. She honestly has more of a Texas accent than an Oklahoma one. Now there are people that talk like that here but they are a minority.

  5. James Garner is a much better example of the standard Oklahoma accent.

  6. Matt Holliday too.

    If you talked to me, I have accent similar to Garner and Holliday.

  7. The country singers are not representatives as they fake a deep south or Texas accent because that is what people want and expect to hear.

    Sorry for the multiple posts in a row.

  8. Andy! Noooooo!!!! I regularly keep our lone Bostonite (Bostonian?) client on the phone by making him repeat things, um, repeatedly, just because I love his accent so much.

  9. "Yes, I was very impressed when I learned that Spanish had a difference between second person singular and plural"

    Just curious, did you catch the part where the Vosotros form is never used outside of Spain (except in very small central and eastern former Spanish colonies like Equatorial Guinea), and because of that becoming more and more rare IN Spain?

    While a useful idea, because Spanish (like Latin and it's other derivatives) requires specific modification rules for all verbs depending on subject (rules that also change AGAIN depending on the tense of the verb) it has been ultimately decided that the narrow benefits do not match the effort required to learn and use.

    English, however, being Germanic in structure has no such excuse.

  10. Yes, but what English lacks in well-defined and strict rules it makes up for in its ridiculously abundant adjective vocabulary.

  11. "Werter" is VERY Pennsylvania, like Philly. My close relatives grew up in that region. One cousin was really into "murdercycles" -- we all used to kid him that we'd never be taking any rides with him! I can hear a Philly native coming a mile away.

    Georgia, where I lived for about 20 years, runs the gamut from the Appalachian nasal twang to the Carolina throat-growl.

    Way cool. Dialects rock.


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