Pronunciation Question - Warshington

What’s the deal with the “r” added in certain words? “Warshington” and “warsh” come to mind. Does those who add the “r” come from a particular part of the country? Do they have a tendency to mispronounce other words? Any other commonalities?

That is definitely a Baltimore accent, although may extend south along the mid-Atlantic. Where are you hearing this?

I actually place this accent more with the Midwest: Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, in particular (though not necessarily all parts of those states.) You’ll hear it in parts of Southern Illinois, as well.

And the Northeast Atlantic as well. Remember JFK’s easily mocked pronunciation of “Cuber” and “Chiner”?

Also rural NE Pennsylvania – an actual statement I remember hearing from my grandfather:

“I went t’ th’ fordin’ place down the crik to warsh the Chivy and this ol’ bear come arunning out th’ woods.”

My native dialect (mid Ohio) pronounces “Washington” as if it were spelled “Woishington”. Because we also pronounce “wash” as “woish”. There’s also “squoish” instead of “squash” (the vegetable, not the flattening). I can’t think of any other words with a similar deviation from typical English.

IPA: /wɔɪʃintən/, /wɔɪʃ/, and /skwɔɪʃ/.

Anyhow, the name of the phenomenon is “intrustive r” or “linking r,” depending on how it’s being used.

Central Indiana and southern Illinois for sure!

My maternal grandparents lived in Ohio (the Columbus area) but were from West Virginia. They pronounced it “Warshington” (which I heard often since I’m from Washington State).

My South Dakota relatives say “warsh.” I’ve also heard some rural folks say “oral” for “oil.”

I believe the linking r is mostly NE Atlantic. But adding an r in the middle of a word is mostly a rural (and/or Midwest) thing.

It’s indeed an “intrusive R”, although it’s a different phenomenon that the normal intrusive R that appears in non-rhotic dialects and produces things like “I sawr a film today, oh boy.” Unlike that intrusive R, the “warsh” pronunciation appears in rhotic dialects, where extra R’s would not be expected to appear. Here’s an essay on the topic, where the author says that it’s a characteristic of the American midland accent (“Washington DC, Maryland, southern Pennsylvania, West Virginia; parts of Virginia; southern Ohio, Indiana and Illinois; most of Missouri; and Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, much of Kansas and west Texas.”)


PA: I associate it with coal country. I had a teacher who did that, and he was from someplace like Scranton - in the NE as has been mentioned. I grew up in the NW corner, and people didn’t generally do that. We just dropped “to be” sometimes - the car “needs washed” it doesn’t “need to be warshed”.

So in Chicago do they have “intrusive t” ?

That is a Massachusetts thing and occurs only at the end of the words (to make up for the R’s that they drop ;)).

The Beatles version of “Till there was you” has Paul McCartney pronouncing the word “saw” as if it were “sar”. Makes me laugh every time I hear it.

Do we stick “t’s” where there aren’t any? We sometimes change “ths” to "t"s or "d"s, but that’s not the same thing (andthat is not exclusive to Chicago, but perhaps most associated with it.)

I have to concentrate not to put the R in. As a kid I wondered why it sounding when it wasn’t there, as everyone I know said it that way. Catskill Mountains.

I got it. :cool:

Ok, then help, please. Is it a pun of some sort?

I believe it is a disparaging slur on Chicago along the lines of Washington -> Warshington : Chicago -> _______ :slight_smile: