Eastern U.S. accents

Don’t forget “shee-yit!”

Grew up in SE Pa., went to school in Central Pa., married a girl from Western Pa., live in NYC.

I always thought that fog, dog, hog SHOULD sound the same. That hasn’t been my experience always, but, as the Brit said, whenever I heard them not rhyming, I felt that the person was pronouncing it wrong.

Thus, while MANY people I know pronounce it as “dawg,” I know it’s wrong. Just like when they pronounce “water” as “wooder.”

It exists–but that doesn’t mean it’s right. Just ask me sometime about driving from Mt. Warshington to Donton Picksburg in my car, which needs fixed.

PS–I almost forgot Arn City beer.

PS–I almost forgot Arn City beer. And the Stillers.

Transplanted NYer here, from close to Albany. (If I say I’m from upstate, people from the North Country call me out.:)) “Fog” and “hog” rhyme, “dog” isn’t QUITE “dawg” but it still doesn’t rhyme with “hog” and “fog.”

I say “iron” differently depending on how I mean it. Iron, the clothing press, is pronounced “eye-urn,” two syllables. Iron, the metal, is pronounced “irn,” long “eye” sound, one syllable. Most of my friends back home do the same thing without realizing it. Not sure how widespread that is.

Also, folks in my hometown pronounced the “l” in “walk” and “talk.” My friend from New Jersey finds that incredibly odd. Her “walk” is reminiscent of Fozzy Bear’s “wakka wakka wakka.”

Hah. I used to date an English girl named Ettie (short for Esther). It used to infuriate her that when Americans spoke her name it came out as “Eddie.”

Now I’m not British, as I’ve said I’m from SE Pennsylvania, but there are different accents or dialects in the Isles as well. We all pronounce things according to region and background. I’ve lived all around the US and I’ve learned never to assume that your pronunciation is the correct one. Man, try saying (leweyville) in Louisville, KY and you will most assuredly be corrected. It would seem they fancy their city as (lowevul), or something close to that.

I can imagine a vaguely “northeastern” accent in which fog is pronounced like “fahg” while dog is pronounced something like “dowahg.” But I’m probably mixing chicago and new york in my head so never mind.


Actually, Kris, your attempt to write it out pretty much matches the way I, personally, say it. I just couldn’t figure out how to write out my pronunciation. :slight_smile: Hence, “not quite dawg but still not rhyming with fog.”

My doppleganger! I’m from upstate New York, but now live near Boston. People here sure talk funny.
My brother went to school in way upstate NY, near the Canadian border. Locals used to laugh at the downstaters for having three (3) different pronunciations for the words “merry”, “marry”, and the women’s name “Mary”. The locals used the exact same pronunciation for all three, to my ear closest to how I would say “merry”.

Fog and dog rhyme? Really? Where?

Here’s a map of regional dialects. Apparently dog and fog rhyme everywhere except in a little, bitty corner of the mid-atlantic states. Where the people talk right.

Here’s the main page.

Biggirl are you looking at the white triangles or the mauve squares?

You know what drove me nuts about Western Pennsylvanians? That they don’t differentiate the pronunciation of the names Don and Dawn.

It was so infuriating.

Yinzer: “I’m gahn dahntahn with Dahn.”
Me: “Don Smith?”
Yinzer: “Not Dahn! Dahn!”
Me: “Do you mean Don or Dawn.”
Yinzer: “Your head needs examined.”

I moved away.

“fog” and “dog” certainly rhyme. I pronounce them “fog” and “dog”. Of course, I have a pretty neutral accent. People always ask me where I’m from, and I answer “here”.

I like the username, by the way. That’s my name, same spelling.


I don’t believe it has a symbol. It includes NYC, some of Long Island a little part of New Jersey and an even littler part of Pennsylvania.

Here’s a large map that points you to how the people studied actually pronounced words. I think the Don-Dawn comparisons come close to fog-dog.

This is audio on Real Player. I’m just putting this here 'cause I like it.

I said them the same way up until a couple of years ago. My father is from Long Island and my mother is from NW New York State, and I currently live in the desolate mountains of northern NYS. My father certainly differentiates the two, but my mother doesn’t. I guess maybe it’s because of my minimalist nature, but I adopted my mother’s way of pronouncing these (but again in my minimalist nature, I adopted my father’s absence of the “l” in words like ‘calm’, ‘palm’ and ‘almond’). Anyways, I was reading up on phonetics of the English language. To my astonishment, there were two sounds I was not differentiating. I did some study to find out where I should say “ah” and when I should say “aw” and tried to adopt the general American way of differentiating them. Now it’s second nature to me to pronounce them differently but I still have trouble hearing the difference. ‘Fog’ and ‘dog’ are still the same, tho’, cos that’s how I learned it from the dictionary.

That was just a part of a big personal speech revolution which included learning the correct pronunciation of ‘February’ (FEB-roo-air-ee), ‘clitoris’ (CLIT-er-iss), ‘zoology’ (ZOH-ahl-uh-jee), ‘nuclear’ (NOO-klee-er), and ‘mischievous’ (MISS-chiv-iss) among others.

BTW, the British distinguish the first vowel in ‘father’ and the vowel in ‘got.’ I didn’t even attempt that one. If you think that’s weird, some Americans don’t rhyme ‘for’ and ‘more’.

I made an on-line trivia quiz with the question “Name one of four elements that have one-syllable names”. My answers were tin, gold, lead, and zinc. Then someone sent me a correction notice that said that I forgot about iron. But no matter how I tried, I could only pronounce it “eye-urn”. My mouth can’t seem to say it “irn”. :smiley:

“ir” words seem to be ambiguous regarding syllables. Is “fire” one syllable or two, for example? I have heard peple say both “fie er” and “fihr” with a long i and a seemingly single syllable.

The British RP “short o” as in got. It does not exist in General American. (I would like to say it doesn’t exist in any sort of American, but I haven’t verified that.)

Here’s the difference. The /A/ vowel in father is completely unrounded (the lips are not rounded but stretched flat out to the sides).

The /O/ vowel, e.g. the “au” in caught, is rounded (the lips are bunched up near each other in the middle, leaving a round space for air to get out).

So far, both General American and British RP are agreed on these.

But the /0/ vowel in cot is only slightly rounded. More like an ellipse than a circle. If you want to imitate an English accent, this sound is one of the main features to distinguish it. Once you master this sound, if you can just produce it as the “short o” sound, people will be wondering if you came from England.

I can’t see a South Philly native pronouncing Dawn as Dahn. In my area it would rhyme with gone. That’s what I love about this area, such a unique dialect(if you can call it that) My name’s Joe, but to those in other parts it sounds like I’m saying Joel. In my travels, I got so tired of not being understood so I started using Joseph instead.