A wonderful piece in The New York Times' Sunday Review looked at the Philadelphia region's unique accent.
"The Philadelphia regional accent remains arguably the most distinctive, and least imitable, accent in North America. Let’s not argue about this. Ask anyone to do a Lawn Guyland
accent or a charming Southern drawl and that person will approximate it. Same goes for a Texas twang or New Orleans yat, a Valley Girl totally omigod
. Philly-South Jersey patois is a bit harder: No vowel escapes diphthongery, no hard consonant is safe from a mid-palate dent. Extra syllables pile up so as to avoid inconvenient tongue contact or mouth closure. If you forget to listen closely, the Philadelphia, or Filelfia
, accent may sound like mumbled Mandarin without the tonal shifts....
Da prom here
, we might say as we order our cheesteaks
, is we don’ ave enuff akkers hew are willen to masser da Filelfia acksin
. Nonsense. Offhand, I can name two native sons, Bruce Willis (Salem County, N.J.) and Kevin Bacon (Center City Philadelphia), who, at least in interviews early in their career, before accent reduction training kicked in, let their diphthong freak flags fly. And Upper Darby, Pa., native Tina Fey’s shout-outs and occasional youzes
are encouraging, as are stories of her singing “You Light Up My Life” in full Brotherly Love voice
('Yew loight up moy loif'
Original source: The New York Times
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