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Archiver > ROOTS > 2009-12 > 1260761504

From: "L" <>
Subject: [ROOTS-L] pronouncing local dialects--how to speak Mainer("Main-ah")
Date: Sun, 13 Dec 2009 22:31:44 -0500
References: <>

(Note: This is meant to be light-hearted yet EDUCATIONAL material for some
of you who are from elsewhere tracing your family ties to Maine. You may
find some of this information helpful, in case you ever get a chance to
speak with long-lost Maine relatives on the phone, especially the older
generation, and are having a hard time understanding them!)

I live in Maine, USA. My family on both sides has been here at least four
generations and originally settled in several locales throughout the state.
In response to MASmith's note (following), I do find that sometimes people
"from away", have a hard time understanding what I am saying because we
several-generation-Mainers pronounce our distal R's and ER's as "ah" (the
same sound the doctor tells you to make when he puts the tongue depressor in
your mouth). Sometimes if there is an "o" in front of the r the accent is
on the O, and sometimes the o sound is dropped as a shortcut.
("shO-aht-cut"). There are also a few slight variations depending on
whether we are from "down POahtland way" ("Pahtland"), a "Down-easter"
(south-eastern Maine), from "up NOath" ("Naahth"), or the family simply
hasn't lived here enough generations to "develop it" quite yet. Now, before
some of you start forming a prejudice that we are a bunch of uneducated
bumpkins up here who don't speak proper English, I want to stress that most
of the following sentences are used in a RELAXED & INTIMATE setting amongst
friends & relatives, as you might expect to hear once we get comfortable
talking with you. I assure you, in a professional or public setting we do
in fact take time to ameliorate our communication, speak in correct fashion
with excellent vocabulary, and try ever so hard to pronounce our ahs as R's.

If you are interested, practice the following sentences until you are
comfortable saying them at a normal conversational speed, they'll get you
understanding your Maine relatives in no time! (we also playfully call
ourselves "Mainiacs", but that's mostly used in friendly Mainer-to-Mainer
conversations) :

"When you get he-ah at fOah o'clock, paahk the caah in the dO-ah yaahd.
Aftahwahd, let's all go to Baah Haahbah fah lobstah. Some Out-ah Stat-ahs
like to drive up NOahth to eat at the sushi baah in Bang-O-ah. Oh, fa
crying out loud, tomatoes aah fah making spaghetti sauce; New England-ahs
all know you can't make a prop-ah fish chowdah without MILK!" (and maybe
some Pilot Crackers, if anyone still sells them)

Some of us sometimes still use "wicked", "wicked good", or "wicked decent"
when we think something is super, excessive, or cool. "Mom's baked beans ah
wicked good. It's snowing wicked haahd, I guess I'd better gas up the
snowblOah. My next-dOah neighbahs are wicked decent." (meaning "super

Some of the over-50 generation, coastal fishermen, and the more isolated
"up-country" population still use "Ayuh" or "Ayah" for "yes" in informal
conversations, but I am hearing it less and less. (I think the public
school English teachers finally managed to "teach it out of" those of us in
the under-50 generation though, which is kind of sad in a nostalgic sort of

"Ayuh, those new chrome manifolds and the caah-bah-RAtah look wicked decent
on that 350 v8 engine
GeO-ahge Faahmah just put in his old Chevy show truck! He installed a chrome
dash bOahd and leath-ah bucket seats last week, too. I'll bet you FO-ahty
bucks that thing wins in the caah shows this summah!"

whose Spell Check had a wicked haahd time with this post! ;)

----- Original Message -----
From: "MASmith" <>
To: "'L'" <>
Sent: Sunday, December 13, 2009 1:04 AM
Subject: RE: [ROOTS-L] Spector German or Yiddish names

> Pronunciations can be very localized, as well. It may depend upon where
> you
> live, as well as your background, how you pronounce names.

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