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New Englishisms

From:Brian Betty <bbetty@...>
Date:Wednesday, March 10, 1999, 21:56
Well! While we're on the topic of regionalisms, let me make some
observations about New English speech (New Englanders ... )

1. clip everything. I say ev'ry, ev'rything, p'sition (not position, but
pzishin). This often leads to a weird vowel harmony thingie when you get
this really long word with all the vowels collapsed /klaepst/ to /i/ or
/@/. Prescription /pr@skripshn/. Elimination /ilimineyshn/. Christmas
/krismis/. Et cetera.
2. Intervocalic -d-, -t- become flaps. Sweater sounds like /swerR/; even
'sudden' is almost /sar-n/. My favorite, though, is when I actually make a
dental stop into a rolled r: this happens most often with: "What are you
doing?" > /'(h)warryu 'du:ing?/. Really. I get quite a roll into it without
even noticing it.
3. talk really, really fast, so that when you travel out of New England
people say "What? What? What?" all the time. Usually followed by, "Slow
down, say it again."
4. I say /o:fn/ (o: is aw in law).
5. I claim to recognise the audible difference between Mary, marry, and
merry, which to my Oregonian roommate is all /meri:/ (here r = American r)
and to me is /maeri:/, /mae:ri:/ and /meri:/, respectively.
6. many New Englanders don't have ahs (rs), as is probably familiar to many
people on this list. Others, like myself, overcompensate and have rs coiled
up like a little ball of rubber bands. Uberrhotic, I reckon.
7. Also, ts are frequently replaced by glottal stops, especially in
syllable-final position: hi' for hit. si' for sit.

The oddest thing is that people in New England also say y'all. That might
be because of the influence of the universities ... But y'allses is
definitely out.


I'm a kinky, queer, bisexual genderfucker. And they say, "write what you
know." -Cecilia Tan, 'Writing  Sex,' OutWrite 1999

You need to have a magpie mind. I think you need to like shiny things.
-Samuel R. Delaney on what it takes to be a scifi writer, OutWrite 1999

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