Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM
Tue Dec 21 22:24:28 UTC 1999

>From my wife, Rene S. Mandel, catching up on a topic we were discussing a few
weeks ago:

I had a thought on this one.

I have never heard a JFK accent on the street either. It is a combination
of upper class Bostonian and the traditional Boston Irish accent.

I don't think the young of the upper classes are permitted to have Boston
accents anymore: we're all speaking mid-Atlantic now.

There are still a lot of people of all ages who have Boston Irish accents,
or variations thereof. But the ones I've heard on younger children are
weaker, and tend to become very diluted by the time they leave for
college, and lost once they get there. There are lots of people our age
with such accents, but they're the cops and the firemen: a Harvard guard
actually did tell me, once, "Ya cahn't pahk ye cah in Hahvahd yahd." Many
of our generation, too, lost the accent in college.

My friends from the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, who are
all Boston Irish of a certain age, and many of the older people on town
meeting, who have lived here for all their 80 years, have wonderful
examples of _a_ Boston accent. But it is definitely working class, not
patrician as JFK's was.

For that matter, if you listen to Teddy Kennedy today, his accent is much
less Boston Irish patrician than his brothers' were. And by the time he
died, Bobby's accent was becoming more dilute, too. The accent doesn't
seem to survive well when exposed to the other accents of the country.


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