Frank Abate abatefr at EARTHLINK.NET
Fri Jul 19 03:02:49 UTC 2002

Larry Horn said:

Anyone from Boston or Eastern New England or New York who speaks a
non-rhotic dialect (in which /r/ is not pronounced as a consonant at
the end of a word or before a consonant) will approximate the "lahch"
pronunciation.  The stereotype is "pahk yaw cah in Hahvahd Yahd".

I have to mention a story relating to the eastern Mass. dialect.  In 1978, a
colleague of mine at U Mass in Amherst was reading the class list in the
first day of a new semester.  She was careful to try to get the names right,
and when she asked one guy whether she had pronounced his last name
correctly, his reply was, to her ears:

"Oh, that's OK, my name gets *slotted* all the time."

My colleague paused for a moment, trying to understand what the guy said.
She decided to move on and not ask.  Being born and raised in the Midwest
and upstate New York (Ithaca), she had not previously been exposed to
eastern Mass. dialect in the raw.  Only later did she realize that what he
was saying was _slaughtered_, but with the E Mass. r-lessness and
characteristic pronunciation of the first syllable of _slaughtered_ to rhyme
with "blah", not (as she would pronounce it) to rhyme with "slaw".

What we noticed on discussing this and other such incidents is that one can
hear quite a bit of E Mass dialect without noticing anything very different
from what one might hear in Cleveland or Ithaca, NY, then all of a sudden
comes a word like _slaughter_ to remind you of who is talking.  (Though U
Mass is in r-ful western Mass., most of the students there hail from E

On the hawk/hock theme directly, I can report that the name of the hockey
team, the Chicago Black Hawks, is said, in the E Mass dialect, with the last
word _Hawks_ rhyming with "pox".  I have heard this in Boston Bruins hockey
broadcasts since the late 70s.

Frank Abate

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