Friday, March 7, 2014

Speech Patterns

Where I currently live in my state is fairly different than where I grew up. Ocean vs. no ocean, tourists vs. no tourists, cranberry bogs vs. traditional farms, mountains vs sandy shores and speech vs speech.

I like to think that I'm pretty good at distinguishing the different dialects of Massachusetts, and other dialects of the English language in general. I can almost always hear differences even if I don't have a specific region to pin it to. In an area as small as Massachusetts is, we have quite a few dialects which are described quite well here.

I grew up in where I affectionately refer to as, "the armpit of the cape", mainland side.
First a bit of learning: Most commonly people only associate The Cape (anyone local to, I'd say New England, refers to Cape Cod, as 'The Cape'. As in, "We're going to the Cape this weekend". Yes we have other capes, such as Cape Ann, but Cape Cod is the largest, and most common of them as a vacation destination) as being the part of the state solely east of the canal. While, yes, that is the main part of The Cape, geographically speaking, there is "mainland" areas are also included as a part of it's region including the towns of Bourne, Sagamore, and parts of Wareham. When they put in the Canal over 100 years ago, it created a visual border on maps which is why if I say I'm from The Cape, people tend to disagree with them once I tell them the part of the town from which I grew up. It's a battle I have resigned to by simple saying, "I grew up down by the Cape".
found here:

For more than 15 years I have lived, "out west" to a part of the state often not even on the radar of many of the people who live inside the I-495 belt that goes north/south outside of the Boston suburbs. Pictured is a funny, yet scarily accurate depiction of my area. HA! Other funny maps, poke of of the western area as but referencing that dragons live here or just fill it with several large ????? because as weird as it sounds, having had grown up in SE Mass, I had NO IDEA what lie west of 495. Swear to God. I knew the shape of the state of course, and knew that the Appalachians went through here, but had no idea about the Connecticut River, the large amounts of farm country, and streets wide enough for 2 cars to drive down at the same time.. oh my gosh! A wide Main Street, big enough for cars to park on, AND drive at a pace faster than a crawl in a land where side streets are much wider than driveways!

I first discovered this area in high school when I came out for UMass Band Day. Which made such an impression on me that I just had to attend UMass Amherst so I could be in the band. Then I got here and was too scared to join the band, crazy schedule and commitments were required especially so in the drumline, as I discovered my second semester freshman year into sophomore year. Pictured is the only football game I played in. AND this is the only picture of me the entire game because my Hubs (bf at the time) was taking pictures and the battery died right after this. Figures. The Drumline is a very stressful group to be a part of, and I think more so than the Band itself.

So anyway, this has turned into a long story about how my dialect has changed. If you want to know where yours falls go HERE, which is an abbreviated version of the original survey found HERE. It's too bad that you can't take the full survey anymore, as I did when it came out. It was pretty fun, and pinpointed my accent well. I leave you on my most favorite question in the link as it will always be a bubbler (bubblah) in my book. You can click through the questions and use the map to see where you fall. It's pretty neat!

Over the years I have most definitely lost my SE Mass accent. I do find it slipping out every so often, and when I catch it I gasp slightly, cover my mouth and then apologize about it. I have no idea why, and the people around me are all, "I didn't hear it". But then again my husband doesn't hear the difference between the names Erin and Aaron, so I can't rely on him. It's especially evident when conversing with my family and friends who still live out east.

This whole blog post was written because last night I found myself having an extremely hard time saying the name 'Arthur' in my son's story. He had to overcome some speech issues, so I like to try and say things are properly as possible yet is comfortable for me to say. We say our r's out here. They don't out east, and last night I kept saying "Ahthah" and not "Arthur" and I was getting frustrated with myself, and had to stop. That name should just not be allowed here.


  1. I got Boston Worcester and Providence, lol. I suppose since I'm right in between all those it's okay :)

  2. In the full version I got Cape cod, providence, AND springfield lol

  3. Love the map! I was trying to explain different state accents to some one who was oblivious to the concept the other day- I have some "R"s because of the Burb I grew up in. I know I'm a mixed up talker, but will do the quiz later on a faster machine...
    Interesting find

  4. One thing i didn't realize until after doing the quiz, is how localized the term "bubbler" is. It's Rhode Island mostly up into your area, and then out in Wisconson or something. weird