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Old 12-15-2007, 08:29 AM
 
165 posts, read 431,922 times
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Default WNY colloquialisms and accents

Even though I moved to WNY about five years ago, I still get a kick out of how everyone puts a "The" in front highway route numbers. The 400, The 90, The 290, The 190. I wonder why people saying The 190 instead of Route 190?

I also still notice the over-emphasis of the "r" sound in speech... to me that typifies the "standard" WNY accent.

What other unique characteristics of WNY speech am I failing to mention?
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Old 12-15-2007, 08:55 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pragmaniac View Post

What other unique characteristics of WNY speech am I failing to mention?
By far the most obvious: the Great Lakes hard "A." It's so hard there's an hour-long documentary about it (I can't find it on the 'net). There's actually a linguist at some university with thousands of recordings of people speaking simple words; the hard "A" is so mangling many people misunderstand the word(s) spoken.

In Florida, I can identify a WNY'er with one sentence. I've successfully, repeatedly done this at work and in social settings. It usually ends up with a laugh, and "it's that obvious, eh?"

"I'm going to Wegmans to get some bread eeeand milk."

Edited: I found it. It's called, "The Northern Cities Shift." Quote: "Often it takes on a dipthongal quality, one that combines two vowel sounds and resembles the second syllable of the word idea."

Check it out:
http://www.pbs.org/speak/seatosea/am...eties/midwest/

Last edited by Muggy; 12-15-2007 at 09:03 AM..
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Old 12-15-2007, 09:10 AM
 
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I don't know why, but I find it extremely annoying when people put "the" in front of highways. Lots of people I come across in Buffalo do this.
That article is interesting but I'm not sure about the areas it covers. I find the Buffalo accent to be different from the Chicago accent which is different from a Cincinnati accent.
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Old 12-15-2007, 09:11 AM
 
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kinda like pop vs soda. I have folks ask if I'm from Minnesota and Wisc
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Old 12-15-2007, 09:12 AM
 
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I love my WNY accent. I currently live in SoCal and people are always asking me where I am from, what accent is that. Some people think it is a Chicago accent. Never knew I had an accent until I moved away. When we go back to WNY I can hear it now.
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Old 12-15-2007, 10:35 AM
 
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^^ same here, when I left Rochester in Dec 1994, I thought everyone in NC either had the southern accent, and the long island transplants had their NY accent; and I was neautral. After a few years though. every time I would go back home for a visit, i'd notice the Rhaaaaaaaaach'str accent more and more. Your mother is your "maahm", my nephew's name is "taaahm". It is that classic great lakes accent that most people associate with Chicago and Detroit. We also happen to the be the furthest-east city where "pop" is said instead of "soda"...but that's acutally changing with younger generations around here. I don't know what prag is talking about with the emphasis on the R....but I definitely have come to know, love, and realize that I speak with that classic nasaly hard A.
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Old 12-15-2007, 11:31 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Muggy View Post
Thanks! I skimmed it and it is interesting. I printed it and will read it more closely tonight.
Quote:
Originally Posted by garmin239 View Post
That article is interesting but I'm not sure about the areas it covers. I find the Buffalo accent to be different from the Chicago accent which is different from a Cincinnati accent.
No doubt the cities you mention have different sounding accents. I think the article gives the impression that the mid-west (which the author implies includes Buffalo, with which I agree) shares a common accent. But what should have more accurately been contended is that there is just a common thread that most people in the region tend to share (NCS) as opposed to their whole fabric of speech. Maybe the article made that specific point but I didn't see it.
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Old 12-15-2007, 11:46 AM
 
Location: Beautiful Buffalo :-)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pragmaniac View Post
I also still notice the over-emphasis of the "r" sound in speech... to me that typifies the "standard" WNY accent.
Arrrrrre we rrrrreally overrrrly exprrrressive on ourrrr usage of rrrr's?
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Old 12-15-2007, 11:52 AM
 
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See, I still don't notice that one. Hard A's...Aeeahbsolutely, but don't really see it with the R's. Btw, I also tend to notice that women have the accent stronger than men do, and that in Rochester, it is stronger in Greece (strongest of any town in my opinion), Irondequoit, Gates, Webster, and Henrietta than in, Brighton, Pittsford, Penfiled, Perinton, and Mendon. Maybe the accent fades with affluence?
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Old 12-15-2007, 12:30 PM
 
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In Roch, I have noticed some difference in the way some of the old school west siders speak. I hear a lot more Italian-American slang amongst the middle aged people.
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