Today we're going to talk a lot about how we talk. I asked a bunch of people to tell me about their relationship to their regional accent. Whether like me they sometimes feel a kind of weird internalized shame about it and may have tried to lose it or perhaps they instead are proud of their place of origin and have come to embrace it.
Before we get to that Karen Muller reports for us today on the ongoing displacement of musicians and artists around the city of Boston as developers and real estate concerns and the real estate concerns disguised as universities continue their never-ending improvements to the character of our neighborhoods. Two of the rehearsal spaces she mentions were where I spent a lot of time – the Sound Museum in Allston for about ten ugly and beautiful and hedonistic years making music like this with my first band – and the space in Charlestown making music like this with my more recent band.
Perhaps you don't particularly care about the arts scene in Boston but don't worry the same thing has either already happened where you live or is going to soon!
If you never read it you may also appreciate this piece I wrote about the closing of the beloved Allston rock club Great Scott a couple years ago.
I’ve been trying to think about some of the best and worst nights of my life many of which began or ended at Great Scott and I simply can’t narrow it down for some reason it’s like there’s too much static to cut through to find a clean signal. It’s like spending a gorgeous day in the ocean many years ago that you generally remember fondly and trying to call to mind right now one specific single wave that buoyed you and a second wave that knocked you over. After a while all the waves become impossible to differentiate from one another and it all flattens out into sensory noise.
Real quick: Check this shit out. Pretty cool.
Thanks for reading as always and please if you can chip in to help me pay our great freelancers. We love our beautiful freelancers don't we?
We had a really good scene down there for a long time
by Karen Muller
It wasn’t quite the homecoming that Jim Creighton had been hoping for. In late December, after ten days on tour, the Born Without Bones bassist and his bandmates pulled up to Boston’s Sound Museum rehearsal complex and began unloading their trailer only to discover a note on their door: they were being kicked out. Everybody was.
The news came as a shock. Though the band knew that the building housing the Sound Museum had been purchased back in 2021, they’d thought they had more time. The property’s new owners, California-based life sciences developer IQHQ – one among the many developers changing the face of formerly gritty Allston-Brighton – had initially assured musicians that they could stay until a replacement rehearsal complex opened. Instead, hundreds of musicians were suddenly left scrambling for a new place to practice, given little over a month to move gear and custom studios they’d built out through the years.
“We had a pretty involved setup there,” says Creighton. “It was our home base, really. We could just show up, record at our leisure. It was nice to be able to come in and out.”
Over the next few weeks, that concept became a luxury for many bands. Boston’s already-limited rehearsal space was suddenly in impossibly high demand.
It’s a story that’s likely familiar to artists from any locale known for its creative spark. Think of San Francisco, Brooklyn, or any city with a slogan that enlists your help in keeping it weird: Artists thrive in an affordable neighborhood until real estate speculators capitalize on the charm of the up-and-coming scene. Tech companies and AirBnB empires follow; practice spaces become lab spaces. Artists get encouraged to come up with creative solutions, but the easiest one is to pack up and leave.
Like many other Boston-area musicians, Creighton’s search for rehearsal space quickly took him outside city limits.
Sound Museum musicians aren’t the only ones facing displacement. Earlier this month, artists in a long-running practice space in a Roxbury building known as “The Berwick” were given notice to vacate by mid-March. Rumored shutdowns loom over musicians at Charlestown Rehearsal Studios as well. Following the loss of Cambridge’s EMF building and beloved small venues like Great Scott and ONCE, many in the Boston music scene are bracing for an uncertain future.
Even without the latest wave of practice space upheaval, the past few years have been brutal on artists. Like many cities, Boston’s wealth disparity has only been exacerbated by the pandemic. Small businesses and independent live music spaces were hit hard, and lost gigs, lost momentum, and interrupted album rollouts set artists back even further. Now displacement comes in multiple forms. Boston threatens to become a place where artists can neither earn a living nor make the art they want to make.
“Part of the reason that I played solo acoustic most of the time was that I couldn’t really get a practice space situation going for a full band,” says indie-folk artist Anjimile. “I couldn’t afford a practice space and it just didn’t seem like there were a lot of options at the time.”
They left Boston for Durham, North Carolina in 2021, shortly after getting laid off from a teaching job. Though their musical career was on an upswing—they’d just signed with record label 4AD and received an advance to cover recording and some living expenses—they knew the money wouldn’t last as long if they’d stayed.
As traditional rehearsal complexes become harder to find, some artists have landed on creative solutions. Michael Hutcherson, a longtime Boston-area musician and artist, says he moved into an unofficial six-room practice space in Roxbury’s Berwick building in 2004 and took over as tenant at will a year or two later. Like many improvised arts spaces, it was never exactly a business. Though he rented rooms to other artists with handshake agreements, he describes it as a “money-losing endeavor” taken on out of love and necessity.
“We had a really good scene down there for a long time,” he says. “It’s something I’m kind of proud of, to be honest.”
The space served as an alternative to major rehearsal complexes—the kind of place where a small group of artists could cultivate a deliberate scene. But it wasn’t perfect. As the old building fell into disrepair, musicians dealt with leaks, flooding, raw sewage backups, electrical hazards, and theft.
Earlier this month, Hutcherson received a call from the building’s property manager, abruptly informing him that the building was getting shut down and everyone needed to be out by mid-March. It didn’t come as a total surprise. “The writing’s been on the wall for a long time. There was no illusion that this was going to last forever,” he says. “I think they’re probably going to revoke occupancy because it’s totally dilapidated.”
Across the city, musicians at Charlestown Rehearsal Studios face concerns about the future of their own practice spaces, which operate inside of a Stor-U-Self facility. The company hasn’t made any official announcements about plans to shutter the studios, but rumors circulating on social media suggest that some spaces might start shutting down as soon as June or July. While the site’s facilities general manager declined to comment on future plans for the space, multiple tenants describe conversations with Stor-U-Self staff that led them to believe their units may be at risk, and that the company is planning to convert all rehearsal spaces into additional storage units, which would likely be more profitable.
Given the scarcity of practice space around the Boston area, some tenants feel that they don’t have time to wait around for official news. Musician Brandon Rainville says that his band, Time and Place, is hoping to get on a waiting list for another space at Music Mill in Burlington.
“We’re in the midst of recording a 14-song LP. We’re about to go into the studio in a month. It’s really difficult for us if they shut down in a couple weeks,” he says. “We’re an acoustic band, but loud, so it disrupts the living hell out of us. “
Adam Balsam, who’s held regular jam sessions at Charlestown Rehearsal Studios for almost a decade, says he doesn’t have a fallback plan if the studios shut down. “It would be devastating. We live in the city. We don’t have space to make music in apartments. Half of us don’t own cars. This place has allowed half of us to stay in the city, and I don’t know what we would do. We would cease to play music for the first time in our middle-aged lives.”
It’s not that Boston lacks places to perform music at the moment, they just may not be for the locals. Over the past three years, the city’s seen the addition of multiple mid-sized venues. The 2000-capacity Big Night Live, 3,500-capacity Roadrunner, and 5,000-capacity MGM Music Hall join a handful of other spots that steadily bring national touring acts to the city. But these clubs—the kind with dedicated VIP experiences and steep ticket surcharges—offer little opportunity to rising local bands, aside from the occasional opening slot. Nowhere to practice and few options for smaller or new bands to play out adds up to an increasingly dismal outlook.
Meanwhile, Allston punk houses and underground scenes throughout the city bubble with new talent. Berklee College of Music, the New England Conservatory of Music, and numerous other colleges offer programs that prepare students for professional musicianship. All that’s missing is the necessary in-between step that can help talented up-and-comers find their audience, build some traction, and pick up the momentum to sustain a career, or at least a satisfying creative practice.
Kris Kuss, drummer of rock band Pile, says he’s seen the state of Boston music spaces grow bleaker in his thirteen years with the band. “Corporate interests and financial gain are taking precedence over the people that are involved with this sort of community. I’m seeing it especially now with the Sound Museum closing. Artists that I’ve been friends with for decades are considering leaving the city or the region in general because it’s just inhospitable to musicians in some ways.”
It’s not just professional musicians who are suffering. Pile, like many Boston bands, grew out of the basement show scene. Kuss says that while practice space is essential to the band’s livelihood, the local musical ecosystem shouldn’t just be for established acts: it requires opportunities for new artists to experiment and develop their craft.
“It’s becoming the sort of thing where you have to have the money and the flexibility to keep music in your life, because if you’re having to work another job to pay rent in the first place in Boston, it doesn’t leave much time to play music. And then to have there be such a limit to where you can expect to play once you do practice enough to perform, it’s a struggle.”
Of course, Boston isn’t New York or Los Angeles. Many local musicians are quick to acknowledge that the city lacks significant music industry infrastructure, so sticking around often means choosing the harder path. But beyond the loss of established acts and future art, when Boston’s art institutions close, its sense of community and culture take a hit too. Small, no-frills venues and neighborhood rehearsal studios bring people together in ways that upscale nightlife often can’t. It’s easier to run into the same faces over and over again when tickets are eight dollars at the door, or when meeting up for weekly band practice. Without shared spaces, a city’s cultural life stagnates.
But in recent years, Boston-area artists have begun organizing to protect local arts institutions in growing numbers—and they’re starting to see some victories. Last year, #ARTSTAYSHERE Coalition, a volunteer arts advocacy group, helped artists in Dorchester’s Humphrey Street Studio purchase their building with assistance from the city and a mission-driven developer. Then they turned their attention to finding replacement practice space for the musicians who would be displaced from the Sound Museum.Last week, the City of Boston announced that local recording and rehearsal nonprofit The Record Co. plans to open a new temporary rehearsal space in March, and that developer IQHQ will allow Sound Museum musicians to stay in their practice spaces in the meantime.
For Born Without Bones, the news came too late: the band had already moved out of the rehearsal complex and into a private studio outside the city, where they now pay $250 more per month. But for artists organizing to secure a more stable future, the news comes as a promising sign that collaborating directly with city officials and developers can help make meaningful progress.
“If we can’t bring everybody to the table to come up with creative solutions to this problem, then we run the risk of having cities that are basically just work-eat-sleep. There’s no culture, there’s no art left at that point,” says #ARTSTAYSHERE volunteer Ethan Dussault. “The idea, hopefully, in the end is that if everybody comes to the table, we can have a solution that provides for everyone. It’s not an either-or, it’s an all.”
Karen Muller is a Boston-based music writer.
In the paid-only section of the last Hell World I wrote about this video that went viral of a TV news reporter accidentally letting her accent come out and another video of a Revere, MA City Councilor using that often-menacing sounding accent for the cause of good in standing up for the unhoused.
I also shared this piece where I wrote about my own accent.
Then I talked about actual therapy with him floating in the pool there my arm hair bleaching blonde in the sun and I said I had come to this realization talking of late that I was comfortable now at this later stage in my life in reverting to the sloppy Massachusetts townie I had started life out as and was meant to be. To strip away all pretense. All those years in the middle of living in Boston and being in New York and playing in bands and writing for fancy magazines and such were an effort to overwrite my origins is what I learned about myself I said. For example how I had purposefully lost my Boston accent perhaps as a type of class traitorship I said and he laughed again and said wait you think you don't have a Boston accent? and I said oh haha.
I guess I really thought I was getting away with something all those years.
And now I'm all of a sudden remembering this failed attempt at addressing my mental health from a couple of years ago:
I was telling this lady every bad thing I had ever done but she didn’t seem impressed. I had finally managed to find a new therapist on the computer after a couple dozen said I wasn’t their problem or my insurance company told me to go fuck myself so I was sitting there with the sunny window behind me making me look like dogshit on the Zoom. It seemed like she was distracted and probably had her own thing going on in fairness. At one point she was bouncing a kid on her lap and that’s… fine (?) I knew how things were during the pandemic vis a vis childcare but was it fine though (?) So I was thrown off my game and out of practice for how to talk in therapy or talk to anyone. How you sort of flirt with a new therapist early on so they’ll like you and want to fix your brain more than if you are just some guy who sucks.
The thing was her Boston accent was just way too much for even me sounding how I sound. It ruined my ability to suspend my disbelief if that makes sense. It was the opposite of when you watch a movie and the fake accents they’re doing are so bad it throws you off. Instead the accent was too authentic and it caused this whole metaphysical collapse in my mind about what is real or not. I thought to myself is this lady fucking with me?
There’s something comforting about hearing the voice you grew up with reflected back to you in a way that engenders instinctual trust and fellowship but that also means it’s the same voice that belongs to everyone who was ever cruel to you when you were young. It was like going to therapy and you show up and it’s your meanest aunt or the nun who beat you.
In any case since I've been thinking a lot about accents lately! I asked Hell World readers and people on my socials to tell me about their relationship to their own. Here's some of what they shared.
From the time I went to college to the time I moved back to Buffalo ten years later, I was pretty proud of sounding (I thought) accent-free. I am absolutely merciless when it comes to ridiculing people on the TV or radio who have a super flat, nasal “a.” But more and more, I say something (Sauvignon blanc, back-to-back) and am shocked and horrified at the sounds coming out of my own mouth. I’m at a crossroads: to embrace it or fight it? If the Bills win the Super Bowl, I think I’m going to have to just let it ride as a good luck thing.
I grew up in Southie and I had a bad Boston accent even by Boston standards. My parents imparted pronunciations like Dawchestah, Fawty, bahthroom, ahsshole, Flawrida, and awrange on me from a young age.
I wanted to go somewhere else for college and landed on the University of Wisconsin. Welcome Week was great because girls loved the accent, and it was a conversation starter pretty much anywhere. People at parties and people in the dorms went nuts for it and it was actually a relief having that kind of crutch to lean on as an awkward kid at a school where I didn’t know a single person. I’d say there are probably one or two lifelong friends I might not have made without it.
Then classes started. It didn’t take too long for me to realize that nobody in my discussions was taking me seriously because of the way I sounded. It made me think of the “how do you like them apples” scene in Good Will Hunting where it wasn’t the fact that he was a janitor that made people surprised at his intelligence but the fact that he knew anything when he sounded like *that.* I was in classes where half the kids sounded like the cast of Fargo but everybody thought I was the one with the crazy accent. So I made a conscious effort to drop it.
I moved back to Boston after graduating, but aside from the occasional drunken argument with family members it’s still all but gone. I wouldn’t say I necessarily miss it or anything, but now I feel bad about judging people with other accents and potentially dismissing them based solely on how they sound (unless it’s a Pittsburgh accent that shit is a bridge too far.)
It’s a source of embarrassment (both ironic and sincere); comedy; family history. I used to say that I could marry a person with any accent—except the Baltimore-South-of-Philly one that I grew up with. As soon as I hear those o’s stretched into long a’s, it’s wince city. Maybe I’ll get more sentimental about it as I get older.
It was so wild that there was a huge discourse on Kate Winslet learning to talk like me. And most people called it a Philadelphia accent even though the show was so deeply about Delco.
I’m a Valley Girl from Los Angeles, and yes, it’s been a professional problem. I’ve purposefully toned it down, but can’t help certain things or particular sayings. The misogynistic backlash against vocal fry that was hyped a few years ago was super not fun for LA femmes, but obviously a response of (sometimes understandable) resentment towards influencers which is a whole industry there.
Growing up around the Twin Cities meant I didn’t have the regional accents my cousins up north did, but I strived to have that authenticity instead of my boring suburban childhood. Watching Fargo and hearing my relatives, but not myself, made me feel divorced from my heritage.
I’m a western North Carolina native. I spent years “beating the cornbread out” of my voice so I’d be thought of as smart and articulate instead of some backward, white trash redneck. My kids all have a Broadcaster American accent and no twang or drawl. They make fun of me when my accent slips. The saddest thing is, I used to make fun of my elders who said things like “warsh,” because it embarrassed me. That was how poor, ignorant people talked. I absorbed the classism and passed it down. Now my accent is a poker tell for when I’m upset. I want to reclaim it but feel guilty.
Central MA here. I had a heavy Worcester accent, but went to college in Western MA and the accent went away. I lived in Boston for four years after, but it never came back. I live in NYC now. I can’t really even do a good imitation of a MA accent unless I’m impersonating my parents.
I grew up in Milwaukee and had an accent common to the upper Midwest/Chicago. I never knew I had an accent until I moved to LA, where my new acquaintances made fun of it. It’s mostly gone now, but it slips back whenever I go home.
My Mississippi drawl has always been something I chose to hold onto even though people imitate me relentlessly when it’s strong. Being a musician means being a mimic and when I’m around non-southerners it’s milder, but not on purpose. Most southerners younger than me don’t have it.
This is so interesting to me because when I moved from CA to CO people thought I was from the Midwest because of my accent, which to me just sounds very Southern Californian! I don't get it very often anymore, but occasionally someone will ask where I'm from here because of it.
My husband is from northern England and has a very gentle northern accent. He has done extensive professional voice over work on TV and radio, so I feel confident in saying he sounds nice!
But northern accents get a lot of flack in the UK. Even from strangers. I've literally seen people making fun of him to his face. People who don't even know him. Often, they think they are teasing, but it just comes across as very rude.
And the UK is super intense about these things and very judgy, so if you speak like him, it can definitely be like having a strike against you in life, no matter how kind, educated, etc. you are.
This situation has made me very glad that America has a general neutral accent – the typical voice you hear just about everywhere – that prevents you from being automatically labeled in the same way.
I have a Pacific Northwest accent, which is barely even a thing, and I've come to appreciate its neutrality. The UK has no general accent, and I really think that's hard on people.
My Long Island accent was never that strong, but when I was just out of college I moved to LA, and the way I said “coffee” was an office fave. I lost 90% of what little I had over the years. That said, it makes me nuts when they set shows on LI – I’m looking at you “The Affair” – and they all sound like RADA graduates.
My uncle sounds like Boomhauer, and growing up I always resented having any Texan accent, particularly when around family from up north. As I got older, I got happier and lazier, and eventually embraced it as a part of me. I truly am of the area, so why fight it? Coincidentally, my uncle is from Ohio, he’s just lived in Kilgore for like most of his life.
Everyone saying “hella” ironically but I mean it every dang time
I’m proud as hell of my Dorchester accent. I loved it when I lived in NYC and my coworkers mocked me because I slung it right back at them, and when I was in Northern California for almost a year they were mesmerized by my "Back East" accent. Except for a crossing guard, who immediately said "hey, I'm from Worcester!" It was the most random thing, considering it was a little town in Mendocino County.
I’m from Long Island. I didn't realize I had any kind of regional accent until I went to college. Then, once I did, I hated it, and I consciously worked on getting rid of it. I targeted a lot of specific words that were giveaways. I don't think I have signs of it too often anymore, but it sneaks in once in a while.
I grew up in central Pennsylvania, and when I went to college in northern Virginia and folks started pointing out some of the tics – "worder" for water – I spent months consciously working at cutting them out. I don’t know why in retrospect, it's not like Virginia’s accent is a thing of undiluted beauty and Pennsylvania's isn't.
Whatever I had of a Pittsburgh accent got minimized in learning how to talk for American news broadcasting in school here 99-02. Then my folks moved out of Pittsburgh and thus when I went to a lot of Steelers games with Yinzer accents galore, I stayed with friends with heavier than my parents’ accent. I generally spent time in Pittsburghese saturated atmospheres. I think I acquired more of a Yinzer accent as a Bostonian than I had prior, weirdly. Then I went on to live here for 24 years (vs 18 there) so I ended up speaking in this weird cross section of just a handful of people who may say a sentence with both Pittsburghese (different vocabulary) and say down “dahn” while simultaneously dropping my Rs.
Thankfully I got more exposure to language as I got older and cast aside younger opinions that the accent or grammar sounded “uneducated.” It’s a dialect and that’s pretty fucking cool that language and community and immigration all get stirred up into something. I one time had an older woman waltz into my store looking soho chic, and I asked whether she was from Pittsburgh and she was angry and “couldn’t believe I would possibly think that she has an accent because she had lived in New York for years and years and her parents gave her a good education and blah blah.” Like I went around asking every customer if they specifically were from Pittsburgh. How sad to be that embarrassed by your lineage.
I once struck up a conversation with a group of guys on a plane from O'hare to Toronto and they made fun of my Canadian accent and they were from Wisconsin. A truly low moment.
I know plenty of townies in Maine who don't even realize they have an accent.
Western New York one here. Lost it fairly quickly when I moved to Boston right out of college. It only emerges when I drink or am around people from my hometown, both things I try to do less of these days.
As a guy from Philly living in Worcester, MA, I think my accent got thicker. I’m not sure why. To feel connected to home? But I'm getting really tired of people asking if I'm from Ireland or Norway or whatever. Or assuming English isn't my first language.
Milk is pronounced "melk" and I will not be taking questions at this time.
I was never self conscious about having a mild southern drawl until I visited a friend in MA in middle school and got absolutely reemed for it by people with heavy Southie accents. I’m still not over it.
I forgot that I sounded at all like I’m from anywhere. As John Gorka sang, “I’m from New Jersey, no I don’t talk that way. I watched too much TV when I was young.” And then Cory Booker, who grew up two towns over from me, ran for president, and reminded me that my part of New Jersey has a definite sound that I’d recognize anywhere.
I grew up in Aberdeen, WA. I never even thought we had a regional accent until I heard Kurt Cobain talking on MTV Unplugged, and I was like, oh shit, that's us.
I’m from Wisconsin (you betcha). I spoke in a crowded work meeting on the east coast, sat down, and my colleague next to me said "are you from Minnesota?" Simultaneously embarrassed and mad.
I’m from Montgomery county, Pennsylvania and I call hotdogs “hutdogs” and I'm fine with that.
I had a huge crush on my English 101 professor. She was from Lousianna, and really pronounced her r’s. I never had really noticed I had an accent (Maine) until then, and I hated it once I could hear it — I vowed to get rid of it. Also funny, said English professor asked me, in a class for which I had not done the reading, about American dissent. So, I had a 50-50 chance to give a good BS answer on dissent or descent. I chose wrong, but I got kudos for my quality bullshit.
My dad grew up in Jamaica Plain and had no Boston accent. Both of his folks had moved over from Ireland and he was born in the US. His working class father with little formal education had made a point of the kids speaking proper American English without a Boston accent.
I've got my own accent. It's a little Boston/New England, some California, and a few other places. As far as embracing it, it's me and where I came from. My friends on the west coast call me Boston Tom. Accents are also attitude. I'm mostly Boston after living here for 26 years in total. But I love accents. It lets you know that someone has grown up in a different part of the planet than you. Embrace the shit out where you're from is my opinion.
I have kind of a mild, non-specific Southern accent that I lean into when I'm talking to people with that accent. I had a fairly distinct East Tennessee accent when I was a kid, but I'm a bit of a natural mimic and it moderated when I moved away. When I'm in NYC, my vowels shift.
Brooklyn accent here. When I was in my twenties I was conscious of it and tried to keep it light. I’m in my sixties now and fuhgeddaboudit. If you can’t do that…Ya mutha.
My dad worked really hard to get rid of his Jersey accent when he went to school. His mom sounded like someone doing an imitation of Livia Soprano, but he sounds like an attorney. I get dinged for mine sometimes on certain words—lawn, orange, dog, those types of sounds—but I don't really hear it enough when I'm talking to be properly self-conscious about it.
I wish I had one! I'm from Connecticut. Being so close to NY and MA cancels everything out. My dad is from NYC and he got rid of his when he moved to CT but it still comes out if he's mad.
Wisconsin to Boston. My accent is pretty mild but my wife’s short a’s (“bag” = “bayyg”) are very upsetting to the New England ear. A fun game our friends play is tricking her into increasingly complex words. The leader in the clubhouse is “anticoagulant.”
I don't think I had a strong accent growing up, and somehow it spontaneously regenerated in adulthood. And I think it was probably that I didn't have a strong boroughs accent for people FROM QUEENS, but in the wider world it's unmistakeable.
I grew up in Billerica, MA and had a very thick Boston accent as a kid. I have a specific home video of me and my Italian family from Lynn arguing about WAY-AH I should do a CAHTwheel for the camera. I moved to Westford in 8th grade and was ridiculed for it. Then even more so while in Arizona for college, and in those 10 years of dilution, it just went away! I miss it a lot actually. I liked it as an identifier of where I’m from.
I’ve moved around so much that I basically have a generic American accent, but I can code switch pretty easily All accents are great except the Baltimore accent
I had a pretty strong accent as a kid being from Winthrop, MA and all. I went to undergrad in Philly and I definitely felt some embarrassment about being perceived as less intelligent – I’d get a lot of comments – so by October of Freshman year it was gone. Still a few minor hints of it, and can recall it on command.
Philly is fuckin awful with the “dat” and “doze” (that and those), but I was not with locals I was at Penn with all the foofy people. More of a reason to be intimidated into fitting in. Now that I think about it more, there were a ton of kids from Lawng Island who still had accents but there were so many of them I think they didn’t stick out like a sore thumb like a Boston accent. They were few and far between. Even the most of the local Philly kids that were there were mostly from swankier suburbs and didn’t have any accent.
My "regional accent" is from the Philly suburbs and not the DelCo one. It's standard mid-Atlantic. So it's what you hear on TV broadcasts etc. Also a lot of people in the Merrimack Valley don't really have a New England accent at all, so I fit in. I don't know why that is. Maybe the mix of many immigrants or something.
I was born and raised in the Boston area and I proudly pronounce my "R"s. I am the only member of my family without a Boston accent. I don't particularly care if others have one. Languages are as diverse as the universe, everyone is different, and some people have changing accents. It may be my theater background and being focused on enunciation, but I honestly think the Boston accent sounds uneducated. But obviously accent and intelligence are not the same thing.
I grew up in NJ, but my mom was from Canada, so I never ended up with much of one. Kind of sad my kids here in southwest Virginia don't have one, probably cause of me.
I don't really have a regional accent as much as a clusterfuck of bits and pieces of accents that I've picked up from all over that overall sounds generic. I was born in Florida to British parents, went to a high school where AAVE was the main thing, lived in Georgia for a while, had a roommate from Long Island for a bit, lived in Boston for a bit, and now live in Seattle. I code switch without realizing it, but then sometimes get a bit self-conscious that whoever I'm talking to thinks I'm mocking/impersonating their accent when I'm not trying to
This is an incredibly complex one for me. As far as I am concerned I am "from" Caithness in Scotland. I wasn't born here, I've lived in a hundred other places, I'll never be fully rooted here in the way that my friends are and yet… This is my home. It's where I've chosen to put down roots. I've spent basically my entire professional career fighting for this stupid, forgotten, most northern corner of Scotland… and yet! Despite all of that pride in this adopted homeland, the only place that's ever been mine, I feel so ashamed when I find myself slipping into the regional accent. When I hear myself saying I'm going home for my denner (dinner) or going out to walk the dowg (dog). Like I've lowered myself somehow by adopting this ancient means of expression
I love having my Southern California accent, even whilst living in Oregon. It really comes out on a word like "taco" where I have an added little bit on the "aco." Also not an accent thing, but it is absolutely called The 5, The 805 etc... and everyone who doesn't is very wrong.
I conspicuously don’t have the noted (and dreaded) Pittsburgh accent. My mom is from Cleveland, which is part of it, but the bigger part is that she was an English teacher for like 45 years and was going to be damned if her children were going to speak that way.
I have spent my entire life trying to minimize my Long Island accent and some time in the past few years I decided to embrace it instead. It's where I'm from. It's who I am. That accent is part of my history and I feel bad for ever denying it. I should note that my accent is not heavy (probably all those years of trying to enunciate around it) but when I'm tired or mad, it really shines.
No shame. I have a lot of pride as a New Englander. While I worked to sound more professional on air, I'm lucky enough to have spent my career in radio here. I am equipped to speak without an accent, that came with years of working at it. I do a podcast with focus on New England crime so I talk all about regionalisms and pronunciations, even local slang. New Englanders, especially in Massachusetts, love to make fun of how the accent gets butchered in films. We are all in on the joke. That might be the most New England thing there is.
I try and avoid it (Idaho). I hear myself say “git” instead of “get” and “scusemaey” instead of “excuse me” What I don’t mind are the Queens NYC inflections that after 20 years of living there sometimes pop up when I’m excited about something.
I want my Vermont accent back. I used to fall into it when I visited, but no longer.
I’m a flatlander who grew up in MA but has spent most of my adult life in VT. The VT accent is pretty rare and seems to be decreasing with the younger generation. It is an absolute joy to hear a sweet thick one.
I purposely got rid of it in high school because I hated 99% of the people I grew up with and wanted to sound nothing like them. I've softened a lot about it in recent years, but it still boils my blood when people say "draw" when they mean "drawer."
I was born in Dallas Texas, and my entire extended family is deeply, deeply Texan. My dad’s side comes from the hardscrabble plains of West Texas and they all sound like characters in “No Country for Old Men.” My mom’s side is from the East Texas coast and they all sound like maybe what you picture a stereotypical like “Junior League” southern cocktail party hostess voice to sound like, like really cheery “HEY Y’ALL”s and “You just come over right here and sit down by me and tell me all about yourself.” I don’t know if you can hear that the way I mean it but that’s the vibe.
My parents moved us to Colorado in the 1980s when I was a kid and to this day we are the only members of both sides of our whole extended family to leave Texas (not counting ONE young cousin who moved to LA to get into film editing after college). Anyway it’s just been interesting growing up as a Not Quite Texan who has this little bit of Texan spice to her voice because of the parents/family who shaped my earliest mouth-sounds, I guess. And today, when new people meet my parents for the first time, they can’t believe it, it’s like something out of a cartoon, my parents’ voices. They have incredible accents, that to, say, a Massachusetts person, are almost like encountering a mythical creature or something. My dad has all these Classic Sayings he says that are so 1950s West Texas, like he prominently uses “well blow me down” to express amazement, or he’ll say “coupla three minutes” to express “a small amount of time,” and just tons of badass idioms you can only say if you're an old-ass man from West Texas. He calls me “li’l dumplin’” pretty exclusively.
Anyway I remember starting school after the move to Colorado and people laughing at how I said words, and it was the first time I had even noticed that anybody had an accent in the first place, much less myself. I did try to change my accent and I think now if you met me you would likely not notice anything weird, except there are these difficult words that to this day I cannot deal with. I say “melk” instead of milk; I can neither pronounce nor even hear the difference between the words “ten” and “tin,” or “pen” and “pin”; and I semi-consciously find myself searching for ways to avoid saying “lawyer” because the way I say it feels wrong in my mouth (“LAH-yer” instead of the non-Texan “LOY-yer”). Also, a kind of very mild alienation has been baked into my life forever because my first name—Marianna—cannot be accurately pronounced (apparently) by anyone outside of Texas. I think this must at least be part of the reason I started going by my last name in college. Now, when people ask “how do you pronounce it,” I say “it’s Texan,” having realized Texan is a linguistic heritage and I should just own it. People still find it difficult to say correctly though. I don’t know why! It’s just “Mary” and “Anna” stuck together but nobody can deal with it, I get called every possible version of my name except the real one. Even my husband sounds like he’s “doing a bit” when he says it correctly.
The final thing I’ll say is that it’s very very interesting because every once in awhile, out of nowhere, a new acquaintance will say “are you southern,” because somehow they’ve noticed a li’l something in how I talk. I always feel kind of “seen” in these moments, even though frankly I don’t give a single shit about Texas or being Texan. I’ll also say it’s interesting that when I’ve been with my family e.g. at a family reunion or something or even just with my parents my accent comes out pretty majorly in a way I can’t really hear, and when I come back home everyone laughs about it and then after awhile it fades away again.