Wicked Good Guide to Boston English
Compiled by Adam Gaffin
" 'Everybody says words different,' said Ivy. 'Arkansas folks says 'em different, and Oklahomy folks says 'em different. And we seen a lady from Massachusetts, an' she said 'em different of all. Couldn't hardly make out what she was sayin'!' "
-- John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath, 1939.
"Boston State-House is the Hub of the Solar System. You couldn't pry that out of a Boston man if you had the tire of all creation straightened out for a crow-bar."
-- Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table, 1858
Everybody knows about pahking cahs in Hahvihd Yahd, but there's a lot more to Boston English than that, despite what Hollywood would have you believe. We have our own way of pronouncing other words, our own vocabulary, even a unique grammatical construct. Journey outside the usual tourist haunts, and you just might need a guide to understand the locals...
Click on any of the following to learn more about the unique brand of English spoken in the Hub of the Universe.
It'll take a lot moah than dropping your ahs to talk like a native.
One could compose entire sentences that would make no sense to the uninitiated (the guide starts with A-B; follow the links up at the top for more words).
The pronunciation of local town names often bears little resemblance to their spelling.
Thanks to the dozens of people who've contributed, and everybody who's sent me nice notes. You are all wicked awesome!