Friday, January 14, 2011

Higher Ed Journal Writes: Regional Dialects Coming Back Via Twitter!?!?

Baltimore's Cultural Icon: The Cafe Hon

A casualty of the last quarter of the 20th century would appear to have been the rich variety of regional dialects around the USA. Who remembers the classic  Brooklyn -- thoidy-three-anna-thoid (thirty three and a third), Boston -- pack yah cah (park your car), Baltimore -- Blair Reowd, Lumber Street, zinc, amblance, poeleeze (Bel Air Road, Lombard Street, sink, ambulance, police). Who wouldn't recognize the nass an' ez (nice and easy) laid back Southern drawl, y'all. The Great Lakes region has it sharp vowel sounds which is almost impossible to spell phonetically but we know someone's from out there when they answer the phone with a distinctive "al-loooow" (hello)  Just as southern folk have their famous "Y'all" residents from south Philadelphia have an uncanny knack for slipping, "huh" as an interjection almost anywhere in a phrase or sentence. You know you're in Balimer (Baltimore) when you stop for a cup of coffee, and the waitress or cashier calls you "hon."  Can out of state folk translate, "Wars mah chuin gawm in gawreen oy shadder, hon?" (Where's my chewing gum and green eyeshadow [an East "Balmer" fashion necessity] hon?)

Leave to researchers in academia with too much time on their hands, they have found the bastions of Twitter and instant messaging are now developing their own distinct regional dialects. Somehow what they report just doesn't have folksy charm of a big-haired Baltimore breakfast waitress addressing you as "hon!"

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