New England accent

Does anyone know how the New England accent originated? For example, the southern accent is believed to have come from a certain region in England. Would any Dopers what country or region the New England style accent came from?

Which one? There are many of them. There are a few Boston accents alone and more in Massachusetts as a whole. Those aren’t that similar to the accents of Northern Maine or New Hampshire either for example. Are you think more Thurston Howell, Cliff from Cheers, or the accent of a Maine lumberjack?

Okay, let’s say the Kennedys for a starting point

You picked a bad example to start with. The Kennedys got their accent from… other Kennedys. Their accent doesn’t really exist outside of their family and they invented most of it as far as I know. It is the strangest thing but other people in Massachusetts don’t sound like the Kennedys at all. I have met one older woman in all my time here that sounded a little like them but she may have been related for all I know. It is a very rare accent.

Go with Cliff from Cheers. That’s the closest commonly known person that represents Boston that I can think of.

Blame it on the Eye-rish and the Eye-talyans.

Tom Silva of This Old House has got what I think of as a “standard Boston” accent.

I both agree and disagree with this. The Kennedy accent is certainly rare, but it’s not a Baston accent. Pahk the cah in Hahvid yahd is a well known accent that exists all across eastern Massachusetts. Go West and North to about Deerfield and you start getting the Vermonter accent going, little slower but definitely there. Go a little further north of MA and hte old time Mainer comes into play - give youa couple dawlers for that lawbsta etc…

I wish I had an answer for the Op, I have read several very good articles over the years about this interesting accent - I think there are 4 or 5 distinct accents in NEW England, the one known best to me is the Rhode Island one, but that one is heavily influenced by a large Portuguese population.

The non-rhotic parts of the Massachusetts accent make me think it’s more likely English immigrants/settlers that contributed to that one, before the Paddies and the Guidos turned up.

I was going off the Bahstan theme. I can’t imagine Paul Revere pahking his cah in the yahd.

Like another poster pointed out, “New England” accents are rather varied. This area of linguistics was never my thing…though I wonder if some New Englanders have an easier time learning how to read. My poor son and his [a]s. :frowning:

The Irish paRk the caR in the yaRd, and the Italians pa’r’k-a the ca’r in the ya’r’d-a - but here in England, we also pahk the cah in the yahd.

Is this a Dublin accent or …?

Hahah. In the midwest, we just speak normally. :smiley:

Yer darn tootin!


People in Cedar Rapids don’t sound like that!

Yes, that would be accent I’m thinking of. It’s mainly my interest in history and linguistics that makes me wonder how that particular accent evolved

What I’m trying to say is, Irish accents are rhotic - they pronounce the R on the end of the syllable, like people in the midwest do. English and Boston accents are non-rhotic - they don’t pronounce the trailing R. Hence my suggestion that the English may have more to do with the Boston accent than the Irish. (Italians pronounce the R too, but it’s a trilled alveolar R rather than the rounded one that the Irish and Americans use.)

Speaking of accent oddities, there was a good Explainer in Slate a few years ago about why Sarah Palin sounded like she was from Minnesota.

A Boston accent to me sounds like a “brogue” tinged London accent. I don’t know. I hate it.

Dublin accents are rhotic? I guess I’ve only met one Dubliner, so I can’t say.

Totally rhotic. Try these charming lasses. “ARtists, jewelleRs, designeRs”. We (south-east) English would say “Ahtists, jewellehs, designehs”.

Hmm. I know one Irish person. She’s from Dublin, lives in Dublin, and was raised in Dublin. Her voice doesn’t sound like the Lucky Charms leperchaun. It could just be her, but she said that most “educated” Dubliners don’t sound like that. She had an Irish accent, yes, but she didn’t growl. :o

I’ve heard: IRRE-land
and: Eyre-lIN - a bit softer, like a British accent, but still distinct

In Iowa, most people would say “Ire-lind”.

(sorry, don’t feel like consulting with the IPA right now)

Or maybe the British accents have changed and the Boston accent is the original British accent. All languages (that I know of) have accents and street speak.

I honestly don’t know the answer to the OP’s question and I’m just speculating that Irish and Italian accents influenced the original English accent and now you have something called a Bostonian accent. Like all accents, it’s on a continuum.

I know how we got our Standard American accent, but I have no idea how the Boston thing came about. I keep checking back in this thread to see if anyone has the answer.