THE RHODE ISLAND ACCENT. Some of us were discussing the proposition that local accents are disappearing—I don’t think they are— and a friend of mine mentioned that after many years of living in Connecticut, she still had a Rhode Island accent. I had not noticed because I was not aware that there was a Rhode Island accent. Upon reflection, I realized that every locality has its own accent. My friend brought me this article by Mark Patinkin, who has co-authored a book about “Roe-Dyelindese”. Patinkin’s article was inspired by a McDonald’s ad campaign that promoted Paul Newman’s coffee as getting “local” right. Patinkin points out that this is hard to do—McDonald’s, for example, says “Give yah wallet a breathah.” Correct is to contract the pronoun: “Give y’wallet a breathah.” Similarly, it’s P’tucket”, not “Pawtucket”. “Immediately” is “imeejitly”. I was amused that the word for “potatoes” is “bah-day-dahs”. I remember my mother trying repeatedly at the dinner table to get us to avoid that very pronunciation.

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