Boston Accent


Boston AccentToday I talked to someone about talking — specifically, the way people talk in Boston.

The Boston accent is famous for its misplaced Rs and strange vowels, as well as its well-known speakers. John F. Kennedy, New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Click and Clack from Car Talk, the character Cliff Clavin on Cheers, and even The Simpsons’ Mayor Quimby have all have brought variations on the Boston Accent to the world stage.

It’s a dialect I hear every day, but almost all most people know about it is encapsulated in the phrase “Let’s pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd,” but that isn’t really the way people talk here. To do a little better, I went to someone who could give us the real deal:

MJ Connolly grew up just outside of Boston, and is now a professor of linguistics at Boston College. He’s listened to — and spoken with — the Boston Accent his whole life, so I went to him to tell us what it is.

 
icon for podpress  Boston Accent [16:15m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Information and Links

Join the fray by commenting, tracking what others have to say, or linking to this episode from your blog.


Other Posts
Boston Marathon
Omni Parker House Hotel

Subscribe for Free


Write a Comment

Take a moment to comment and tell us what you think. Some basic HTML is allowed for formatting.

Reader Comments

It’s true…we all travel around more and are so mobile these days…accents are less noticable in certain areas. But different parts of this country certainly do have differences that are unique. I enjoy the differences, don’t you? It’s really to bad that our newscasters have learned to take out the regional quality in their delivery.

Your segment was fun. I don’t hear you as having an accent. Only a linguist would know….. I’d love to hear about some of the guesses.

Loved this podcast… love the map. Subscribed on iTunes and looking forward to back issues and future episodes.

Keep up the amazing work.

[…] Inside the Boston Accent | Boston Behind the Scenes Podcast […]

Check out the accents of Dallas & Johnny from the Outsiders, THOSE are accents! I love it!!

I only realized I had a Bahstahn accent lately. Moving from Rozzi to the burbs. Yes it is a Hoss and dinner wouldn’t be the same without B-taydas. Swill, Gahbidge, and trash are all different. The “Arbs” was the most gorgeous living museum. On Friday nights we used to go “scoopin” “hoodsies” of course nevah in our own neighborhood because our Saturday dates would kill us. We drank tonic. We had fake ID’s for the “packies”. James Michael Curley’s picture was in all the bahs especially JP. We ate subs and the kids from southie had spukkies. We graduated from one connah to another then to our bah. If we didn’t go to college we went our “draft board”, then to “nahm”. Wednesday was always “Prince spaghetti day”. We spent our younger years in the summer “hangin in da skool yahd” under supervised City care and learned all the “gimp” stiches (square, round and butterfly). We honed our Chinese checker game and learned how to throw “bean bags” through holes. We had “May Processions” generally the first time we had to hold a girl’s hand (at that time that was not “pissa”).
We got out of school early when they had elections. Usually Kevin White would win. We had to wear ties and a jacket to school,Until Kevin White changed the rule in 1968. Louise Day Hicks’ hair nevah moved. A slice of pizza and an RC Cola was a quarter. “Surman’s” was the only place we could get “irrodescent” pants and “cuban heeled” “mouse traps”. After school got out in the summer we could get into a sox game by just showing our “T” passes for free. Parochial school girls learned the fine art of “rolling the skirts and hiking them up”, in the 10th grade. Ahhh I was so proud and syill am to have a Bahstahn accent and to have been from Bahstahn.

[…] Jul I was speaking with my mother the other night when she said in her all too grating familiar Boston accent, Baaaabra, yah faaatha wants to talk to […]

The best “Boston” accents actually come from RI. Those are killer accents and much heavier than boston accents. They are a combo of boston and NY - When I moved from RI to Boston, the kids in Boston used to make fun of MY accent !

So that just shows ya how different people tawk in all parts of New England. Every part of MA has a different accent and every state has a different accent.

It’s the greatest place on earth !

I love my second generation Irish/Boston accent, which was almost a minoruty “accent” when I worked with professionals in the Social Services community and with college students in Boston. After 10 years of living in the DC area with my rural NC husband I moved to his hometown where we brought up (raised) our kids. I have worked in the public for 25 years here, and there is rarely a day that someone doesn’t find my “Yankee” accent hilarious. ( It’s Red Sox dammit) I will let you imagine the humiliation when I go home to my large extended family and they laugh at my drawl. I might be the only one who understands myself, but I think I speak normally. I enjoyed passing your program on to my daughter who is about to meet the family of her new boyfriend. He’s from Western Mass., I have no clue what language they speak! Sincerely,
Rita McNamara Moose

[…] a podcast on accents, particularly around the Boston dialect […]

[…] Garden. We chatted about her life there, and I found myself wanting to hear more of her awesome native accent. It was music to my ears. About these ads var wpcom_adclk_hovering = false; var […]