Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Boston accents and advertising

An alert reader of this blog, M.O., sends along this pic an an ad for Maker's Mark with a Boston (should that be Bahston?) accent …

Nice. Very nice.

5 comments:

Monica said...

Of course I looked at it and thought "why are they advertising the language Makah?"

Janis said...

Hey, that's my picture! I took it in August, across the street from Woodman's Diner in Essex, Mass. And, just for the record, native Bostonians nevah, evah, pronounce their city "Bahston." Au contraire, the "o" is closed and rounded. Whether they're saying, "Oh my God," "Cape Cod," or "Boston," the "o" is decidedly closed. "Bahston" is how it's pronounced in Chicago.

Mr. Verb said...

Really? I thought the person who sent it had taken it. Credit to you, then, for a great pic.

I've seen the 'Bahston' as eye dialect and typical of the problems with English orthography, it doesn't cleanly get at the relevant vowel, thus the question.

Janis Jaquith said...

I have a theory that the "Bahston" thing goes back a few generations, when there was a decided difference between NYC "o" (which was rounded, as in "Coffee Talk" -- if you're an SNL fan) and the more open "o" favored by recent Irish immigrants in Boston. (By "recent" I mean newly arrived Irish at the turn of the last century.)

At that time, it may have made sense for New Yorkers to characterize Bostonians as having that open "o". I suspect that the Yankees living in New England had the more closed "o" and that, as the Irish assimilated, they acquired the local closed "o." (Or else they moved westward, where everyone came to talk like that!)

Mr. Verb said...

Could be. Could also be the variable interpretation of the spelling. I know well what a Boston accent sounds like and can easily read 'ah' as the relevant vowel. But a lot of people no doubt interpret that as what we call an 'open o' (the Coffee Talk vowel).

Thanks.