"Hey you'se guys, these hots are wicked"

For me, the realization came in the first week of my undergraduate studies at SUNY Geneseo: the carbonated sugar-beverage I had always referred to as “soda” was called the ridiculous name “pop” by my Western New York friends. They also called “hot dogs” “hots,” etc. Of course this was merely amusing unlike the speech of Long Islanders and Brooklynites which reminded me of incredibly long, family reunions on Montauk Point.

When I came to study linguistics in Anthropology I took a fascination in reading about regional dialects. For those not initiated to the secrets of social anthropology, let me lay a bit of groundwork here. Firstly, there is a difference between an “accent” and a “dialect.” An accent is a variation in pronunciation; for example, much of Upstate New York is infamous for its stretched “a.” Long Islanders and folk from the Bronx have differing pronunciations of some sounds, thus have different accents.

A dialect, on the other hand, is much more extensive, encompassing differences in pronunciation, variant words, typical sayings and common metaphors. For example, the word “wicked” as a term meaning “cool” or “neat” is known to be used in Boston and New England, but not well known outside of that area. A dialect encompasses one or more accent regions within its borders.

Every accent and dialect originates from two sources. The first is the “substrate,” or the language(s) spoken by the people who settled in the spot. So Hudson Valley English still holds some traces of Dutch in the rural areas. The second influence is the effect of time. People are naturally inventive and will create new words and sayings to meet their unique needs; simultaneously, over time subtle, unplanned, changes in pronunciation and meaning pile up between languages.

So what does all this mean to Yorkstaters and their “soda,” “pop,” “hots,” and “hot dogs”? New York State sits at the confluence of three important dialectical regions[1]. We may actually be unique in this regard as many states (including huge ones like California) have only one dialect. For a more scientific discussion and some good dialect maps, click here.

The first is the New York City Dialect, whose substrate rests largely upon the Italian and Jewish immigrants to the region; its heart is the Bronx and Brooklyn, but it has spread out along Long Island and deep into New Jersey. Famous speakers of this dialect include Rudy Guiliani and the stereotypical “New York Cabbie.”

Our second dialect, moving north and west, is the Western New England, which is found in much of Connecticut, the Berkshires, Vermont, the Adirondacks and the Albany area. Western New England is closely related to Eastern New England and grades into Maritime Canadian in the north and “Midland” in Pennsylvania. The fact that the children in my hometown used the word “wicked” when I was growing up shows continuing evidence that white speakers in the Southern Tier, to this very day, share more in common linguistically with Boston than with New York City. One simply has to ignore the differences in pronunciation.

The final linguistic region is known as “The Inland North” and is the common speech of the American Great Lakes.[2] The speech of Buffalo, Rochester, Watertown (perhaps) and all of Western New York is closer to that of Chicago, Michigan, Toledo, Cleveland and Gary than New York City. It comes from a substrate of New England settlers and was built upon by German, Irish, Hungarian and Slavic immigrants. These are the folk who call their drink “pop.”

This discussion often raises many more questions. So where exactly are these borders drawn? It’s easy to say that Buffalonians speak Inland North, Adirondackers talk like Vermonters and Brooklynites speak with a New York City dialect, but what about the areas in between? Where does Inland North become Western New England? Why do the Yuppies of Manhatten not speak with a New York City dialect? Are there other influences affecting these borders?

It’s always difficult to draw the exact borders of one dialect and another because dialects are groups of many different factors. For instance the “Upstate A” and the word “Pop” are both indicative of the Inland North, but the Upstate A reaches much further east (into places like Syracuse, the Mohawk Valley and Binghamton) than Pop does. Likewise, some NYC words make their way north, especially in the Black dialects that then jump to wider usage. So while most linguists agree on the names and heartlands of dialects they universally disagree on where to draw the line.

The reason that in many places, especially upper and upper-middle class areas, the local dialect is weak or absent is because of the deterritorialization of these areas. Wealthy people have a habit of either purposely downplaying their own regionalization and then raising their children in what they see as a neutral “correct” form of English; this “correct” form is most typically heard in the anchors on the major network news shows. So, in a place like upscale Manhattan, you have wealthy from around the globe who have purposely abandoned (even subconsciously) their own regional dialects.

Finally, there are as many influences upon local speech as there are people, everyone has the ability to engage in linguistic creativity. However, linguists have found that some people have more influence than others. Powerful personalities can shift language patterns within their own neighborhoods and have a cascading effect in other areas. In a broader sense, an ethnic group with a distinctive speech can greatly affect their area depending on 1) if they have many local speakers and 2) how much power they have comparatively. Weaker groups have less effect than powerful ones (whose speech others try to imitate). The effects of these groups persists in the areas in which they have settled.

The best example of this is just over the border in the “Hayna” Valley of Pennsylvania, which has been heavily influenced by the large numbers of Slavic immigrants at the beginning of the last century.[3] Hayna speakers use many Slavic pronunciations and even words; in York State, some of this Slavic influence is found in the word “You’se,” especially “You’se Guys,” which combines it with the word “Guys,” a gender-neutral northern American (Inland North, NYC, North Central, New England) word, to create a term roughly equivalent to “Y’all” in the Southern dialects.

In conclusion, I would like to emphasize the importance of local speech. In much of the world, local dialects are considered cultural patrimony, a vital part of the people’s heritage to be studied, celebrated and preserved. Local speech reflects the origins, history and unique position of a people. It is an expression of who we are and where we come from. Unfortunately, often times linguistic terms like “You’se Guys,” “Pop” and “Crick” (meaning a creek or brook) are derided and seen as backwards or incorrect and fall out of popularity, at which time they are replaced by a sterilized import from Standard American English. Already the Northeast has lost unique words like “Cupboard” instead of “cabinet,” a southern word and “pail” instead of “bucket,” which is also a southern word.

So what are your experiences with and opinions of York State’s incredible profusion of linguistic variation? What words do you use that you don’t think they do elsewhere? Does your town have a unique expression or metaphor? I look forward to the comments.

-Posted by Jesse

PS: Also check out:
Sea to Shining Sea, a great website PBS that gives an intro to language variety in the USA

[1] Please note that these are dialects of Standard American English; for the purposes of brevity I leave out Haudenosaunee English, Black American English, Chicano English and other subdivisions of American English.
[2] Excepting Erie Pennsylvania which speaks Pittsburghese and the Upper Penninsula of Michigan, northern Wisconsin and Minnesota which speak “North Central,” made famous in the NPR program A Prairie Home Companion and in Fargo.
[3] “Hayna” is not a river or an actual valley name, but is the name of the dialect spoken in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre.


Joe said...

To be hypercritical, you should have said 'for those of you not initiated to... linguistic anthropology.' not social. to be hypercritical.

Frances said...

Here is a nationwide glimpse of the pop versus soda debate. I have no idea how accurate it is, but the line dividing pop vs soda in New York is certainly correct (it gets fuzzy just east of Rochester).


Bob from the Bronx said...

my specialty was american english dialects, until my wife got pregnant and i realized there was no money in it. i admire your enthusiasm. but...and i have a big but...lemme clear some things up.. the original name of the beverage was 'soda pop'. the modern names just depend on which part the speech group dropped. accent and dialect are not separate entities. accent is the phonological system of a dialect. the only influence remaining from dutch are some words like 'stoop' and 'boss'. italians and jews had very little influence over the formation of nyc english. the earliest english speaking settlers came from eastern england (the 'r-less') dialect. this in combination with irish english gave rise to newyorkese. the irish had all the civil service jobs and were labor bosses because they had the advantage of speaking english as soon as they got off the boat. youse (no ' ) and the unstressed 'yiz' are irish. furhter west was settled by a second wave from western england/wales (they say all the r's) u r right abt boston and nyc having similar dialects, it runs all down the east coast, all the major early settlements down to savannah. the 'hayna' valley. again non-english speaking immigrants rarely influence a dialect. many workers came from nyc during the coal boom in that area, taking their english with them. black english is totolly out of the loop, being non-regional b/c of the mass migrations after wwii. it is a decreolized form of gullah (the old slave language). above all, jesse, thank you for re-igniting my interest in linguistics. by the way i still proudly speak with my bronx drawl (in the other boros known as the bronx whine)

Jesse said...

Bob, let me start by thanking you for your thoughtful comments and I will admit that this post was crafted using the textbooks and notes from linguistic anthropology class (yes Joe, that was a typo, thanks) two and a half years ago and a TAship a year and a half ago. Thus I will concede that I may have some errors, but I do have a few comments.
1) It is certainly true that some form of Newyorkese was established before the second wave of migration in the late 1800s, but I think you underestimate the influence of new forms of speech in a dialect through immigrants. Do you honestly think that a city whose white population (because we are referring to white dialections) is close to 20% Italian (citation) wouldn't have Italian linguistic influence? This doesn't count the populations in surrounding areas, especially Long Island and New Jersey. In those two areas, the children of Italian and Jewish immigrants completely displaced preexisting populations.
2) I disagree with you that the populations of the coal towns in the Scranton region were local; coal bosses purposely imported easily manipulated eastern european (and other areas) workers who didn't speak the language. You had towns there that were almost completely monolingual in something other than English. Here is an article on speech in the region. I do agree with you that it is not independent of the dialects outside the area, but that it is influenced by slavic languages.
3) Finally, regarding black dialects, what I was trying to say is not that there are parallel black and white dialects, but instead that there is a bleeding over, so that black speech from NYC affects white speech in towns in Upstate New York independent of white dialect regions because of black migration upstate.

I'm glad you enjoyed the post and I hope to hear more from you Bob. Keep using that Bronx Drawl and I'll keep calling them cricks.

Ken Morris said...

I am intersted in the subject of New York dialects for a kind of unusual reason--I am a historical military reenactor and some of the "characters" I play come from central or western New York, and would have been born in the 1830s. So I have been doing some research into how folks from those regions spoke then.

For example, I was recently reading the book "Saddle and Sabre" which contains the un-edited letters of Corporal Nelson Taylor, 9th NY Cavalry. He is a farmer's son from outside Albany. Some schooling, but not a lot. His speech patterns (at least, as he has written then down) are interesting, a combination of homegrown and various bits of army lingo he picked up along the way which are common to many "Yankee" soldier letters. It's the speech patterns from home that interest me most. It seems to have some affinity to Appalachian speech patterns although not as extreme. He basically speaks standard English and uses very few expressions or words that would not be familiar today. But his spelling is largely phonetic and therefore gives some clues as to regional speech patterns and pronunciations. Here are the speech patterns I have discerned so far that deviate from standard English:

1) Adding "a" to the beginning of words: agoing, adoing, atrying, acoming.

2) Use of "ain't" for "am not," and "don't" for "doesn't"

3) Use of "of" in place of "have," as in "would of," "must of," "not of."

4) Adding a "t" at the end of words ending in "ough:" enought, throught, cought, tought.

5) Other irregularities:
"most" for almost (in some other letters from New York soldiers I also see "amost" for almost)
"droved" for drove
"fixted" for fixed
"keeped" for kept
"acrossed" for across (as in "sent acrossed the river").

6) A few other things, like using "right" wher're I'd use "very," as in "right smart," "right well," "right quick."

7) Spelling of some words hint at pronunciation: engadge, pitchure, terrorable, whishing (wishing), witch (which), miseryable.

8) Always referred to NY as "York State," never "New York."

Although there were quite a few German immigrants in some parts of western New York (ie Buffalo), non-English derived words and pronunciations appear not to have seeped into the local dialects yet. It appears that the predominant influence is from some region of England, but if anyone has any idea where these speech patterns came from, I would be most interested. Also do any "York Staters" still speak this way today?

Thanks for your help and feel free to e-mail me!

Ken Morris

Jesse said...

Fascinating comment here. I guess I'm not an "expert" in this area, though I have studied some linguistics and I am from Upstate New York (which I suppose you aren't from your writing). So to answer what I can:
1) The use of "of" for "must of" "could of," etc, continues, though from my observation it's been shortened and sounds like "mustuv" "coulduv"
2) As for using "right" for "very," this is something I have heard my grandmother do (she's an old-school york state farmgirl) and sometimes my father, though he uses it less frequently. I think the only way I've ever used it would be "right quick"
3) The use of "ain't" for "have not" continues.
4) As for "York State," we're trying to revive that here in this blog and it hangs on in forgotten corners (such as the newsletters from ex-senator Moynihan) and I have some books that date back to the 30s and 40s that still used it regularly.

I believe most of the early settlers came from New England, especially Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Best of luck. Anyone else have any observations on Upstate dialect and pronunciation?

Nathan said...


Im from the city and all my friends that r' from NYC sound the same no matta' what boro! also I have family and friends from B-town and the cape and they sound no different. Except for some that have no accent?

Cori said...

"Already the Northeast has lost unique words like “Cupboard” instead of “cabinet,” a southern word and “pail” instead of “bucket,” which is also a southern word."

I still use cupboard and pail, as do most of those in my area (I live in Saugerties, in the Hudson Valley). I'll admit, I use pail and bucket interchangeably and mostly use bucket, but I haven't lost pail yet :). I was reading the comments, and "must of" (though sounds more like mustuv, could be written as must've for must have) is definately part of my vocabulary, as well as ain't, though I only use that occassionally (had the saying "ain't ain't a word" drilled into my head for the longest time, though apparently I read it did make it into a dictionary at some point). I also use right instead of very on occasion (as in something such as "she's right smart") though sometimes I think I might add that in through British influences (BBC haha). I found your blog quite fascinating; linguistics is definately an interesting subject to me. I love how to me it will always be soda, and I cherish the little differences in speech.

Anonymous said...

I'm about to start a dissertation project on the Hudson Valley and was just doodling around online trying to find references to a distinct accent or dialect in that region. I am from southeast of Albany and we definitely have the Albany "A" - it sounds like Awbany. "I cawl my smawl dawg from the mawl" sort of thing. Some of my friends have this Albany A (which sounds to me like it came from NYC) but some don't, even just a few miles from one another. I think my family has it because my grandparents are from downstate; so actually I'm not sure how much of it really is Albany regional! There's also the Dutch influence ("kill" for creek) but most of those words are toponymic and don't make their way into conversation except for reference to place names (e.g. we never say "let's go fishing on that kill," we would say "let's go fishing on that creek, what's it called? The Vlockie Kill?"). However, I'm sure some examples exist because until about 1800 French, Dutch, and German were more widely spoken in the Hudson Valley than English, so I'm hoping to find some really solid examples of those languages in everyday use. This a new train of thought for me so I haven't had time to come up with good Hudson Valley regional accent/dialect examples - hence this post! Can anyone think of some? The more I read up on the Hudson Valley the more I realize its identity comes from being a crossroads of other regions... that the physical and cultural geographies of the area are so diverse and varied that perhaps "region" isn't a good word for it at all!

Anonymous said...

I take offense to having Watertown English in the same category as that of Western New York (nothing against WNY). Watertown/Jefferson County is at a confluence of different dialects much like you spoke of NYS. Because of our proximity to Canada, many people in Northern Jeff. Co. speak with a Canadian sounding accent. Words such as "pop" are foreign and we always call soda, a soda (notice my useage in describing it). Also I believe we are also influenced heavily by Western NE because the term "wicked" has been used as long as I can remember.

York Staters said...

One point I tried to emphasize in this article is that dialects are not hard-and-fast lines in the sand. It's not like we can say, "ah Watertown is Inland North and Lowville is Western New England." Obviously that's absurd. Dialects grade into each other and, certain words can migrate far beyond their dialectical origins, with "wicked" and "pop" being fine examples.

So, if we can't take any particular word as a pure dialectical marker, than where do we draw the lines? It is done by linguists through a collection of markers--distinct words, grammatical structures and forms of pronunciation--which have some geographical (or sociological, such as ethnicity or class) boundaries.

A further problem comes from the fuzziness caused by recent migrations. These are traditional dialects that we're speaking of, and most of the data collected for them comes from interviews with the elderly in the early part of the 20th century. Hence today, we are in a period of dialectical shift and consolidation as people move here and there. So while some linguistic markers persist, others are not as easy to see anymore.

Also, northern Jefferson County is not Watertown. It's important that urban areas often have forms of speech distinct from that of their own hinterlands. Watertown or Kingston would be the perfect eastern edge of the Inland North dialect area as they are the last port cities within the Great Lakes (which defines the Inland North geographically).

Anonymous said...

York staters,
Watertown is not a port city. It was named Watertown because it is on the Black River, not Lake Ontario. Second, I have lived 15 miles northeast of Watertown most of my life and I can definately say that people around here do not sound like "inland north". As this report concludes (http://www.ling.upenn.edu/~dinkin/ADSHandout.pdf), settlement patterns across NYS reflect where the boundaries of the NCS can be seen. Although I will say that the report does have a flaw in saying that most of the settlers of Watertown (Jefferson co.) where from Oneida Co., this is not true. Most of the original settlers of Watertown where from MA and CT. To this day whenever I hear someone from Rochester speak, to me they sound different.

Anonymous said...

What a crock of shit this site is. First, unless someone agrees with your narrow-minded views you will not post their blogs. I have wrote several articles that have been submitted, only to say that the moderator is awaiting approval, and my articles never get published. So much for free speech. Unless you buy into your upstate secession garbage views you do not publish articles. Second York Staters is an atiquated term that many consider offensive and devisive. Is Long Island considered York State? Take your York state ideas and shove them. Long live New York State!!! Not everybody in the rest of upstate are as bitter towards the tri-state area as you.

York Staters said...

This blog is quasi-defunct. I rarely check the comments, once in a great while the email, and post once in a blue moon.

That said, the only articles that we've turned down are those that do not fit into our published submissions guidelines, which I will quote:

1) Content: This is a site dedicated to Upstate New York. Therefore, we ask that you make sure that your submission has some relevance to the Mission of York Staters.

2) Grammar and Spelling: We are in favor of promoting a respectable, intelligent website and ask that any submission sent in has been edited for grammar and spelling. Upon request, occasionally, we may be able to provide this service, just depending on the work load of our editors.

3) Good Taste: Once again to promote thoughtful debate, we ask that you do not send flames, spam, profanity (I'm referring to profligate cursing) or erotica. Of course, we ask that you also refrain from sending us illegal works, such as calls for the murder of world leaders or instructions on making bombs.

Yes, this is a blog devoted to Upstate New York. Yes one of the editors (the one writing here) is supportive of major political decentralization. But that is not the position of the other editor, who is supportive of local pride but wary of political realignment. You'll find if you look through these blogs that we often disagree with one another and with people who write posts for us.


Anonymous said...

I'd like to give my two cents on this blog, regardless as to whether anyone'll read it, or not, and I do sincerely apologize if it seems like too much to have written, but it was something that I felt would interest anyone to read this thread.

I come from a regoin of Upstate New York, known as the Catskill Mountains. It's almost gone now, but the older people from here, and some of the more "lower-class" people" spoke/speak a rather unique form of English that differs from other regions of NY.

Here, we do say "soda", and some of the older people did used to use the phrase "youse", although that never caught on. The use of "don't" instead of "doesn't" is also heard still. Some of the older folks also said "crick" for "creek", and others of that
sort. We also do use "right" for "very", but this has all but disappeared, and, like most everything else in the Catskills dialect, is far more common among, and almost exclusive to, the older peoples and the "lower-class" locals. As well, we also say "couldn't OF", "should OF", "must OF", but I find it more likely that the so-called "of" is actually a reduction of "have", with the "H" removed, and the "A" reduced, to make "couldnt've", "should've", "mist've"...

Some other elements to the local accent/dialect were:

*The reduction of the "th" sound in certain places. For example, a voiced "th", as in "this", "that", or "them", almost always mutated to a "d" sound, resulting in "dis", "dat", "dem". An unvoiced "th", such as in "things", "Elizabeth", and "tooth" usually kept their sound, but, in a some of the older speakers, it mutated to an "f" sound, resulting in "fings", "Elizabiff", and "toof",

*Unstressed "oh" sounds, in most environments (usually when it's spelt "ow"), turn into unstressed "a" sounds (or "schwas"), and, sometimes, was even realised as an "r" ("window"->"winda"/"winder", "pillow"->"pilla"/"piller", "yellow"->yella"/"yeller"),

*The reduction of unstressed "ay" sounds to "ee" sounds ("Thursday"->Thursdee", "driveway"->"drivewee", "someday"->"somedee"),

*The reduction of schwas to "ee" sounds in some environments ("Extra"->"Extree", "Ya"->"Ye", "Tomorra"->"Tomorree"),

*The complete elimination of schwas in other places ("Report"->"Erport", "Hundred"->"Hunnerd", "Environment"->'Nviermint"),

*The use of double negatives ("I DON'T got NO money", "He DON'T care NONE", "I AIN'T NEVER comin' home"),
**The use of the phrase "ain't not" for "am not", "are not", "is not": this, however, was only used as a response to a criticism ("Yer lookin' right shabby, der, taday","Mh! I AIN'T NOT."),

*"t, d, s, and z in front of a "hy" sound turned to "ch", "j", "sh", and "zh" sounds ("right here"->"righchyer", "red hue"->"rehjoo", "this here"->"disher", "as humans"->"azhumans")

*the Upstate "aw" sound is also apparent in this accent (as in talk being "toh-ahk", or dog being something similar to "doh-ahg", too, except, in some speakers (me being one) before the letter "L" (so wall would just be "wahll", and ball "bahll"),

*The "ow" sound is either pronounced as "A-OO" (with an "A" as in "hand", or pronounced as "ah" (or, more accurately, something similar to the Southern pronounciation of "eye"),

*Instead of saying "smell it" or "taste it", they'd say "smell OF it" or "taste OF it",

*Instead of "at", when referring to a state of being, they would use "to" ("I was TO the store", "He's TO the crick", "I'll be to my grandma's house"), except in some cases ("Where's it AT?"),

*Improper conjugation of the verb "to be" was common, and still is, to an extent: I remember hearing things such as "I was wondering where you WAS", "How IS you doin'", and "They IS right crazy"),
**Something else heard among the older speakers was the phrase "How AM ye", instead of "How ARE you",

*The use of "got" in place of "have" ("They GOT strawberries", "I GOT a cold"), which is also common in many other places,

*And, the only other thing that'll come to my mind, now, are phrases like "them" for those, "that there", "this here", "them there", "these here" (which were different from just using that, this, those/them, and these), and local words such as "slop-bucket" for waste pail, "hoosegow" for jail, "dingwanger" as a loose term for any random object, and, at least from my great-grandmother, the use of "molly goozers" to refer to imaginative spooky creatures (things that go bump in the night, basically), as well as the pronounciation of "whoopoing" as "hooping" ("oo" as in "hook").

Much of this I've managed to retain in my accent, but I manage to conceal it from others in casual conversation, and I only speak in this way while around family or other people that speak similarly. But I'm still proud of it. And that was just my little bit of info in respect to New York accents (specifially, the Catskill Mountains dialect).

-Kianu Schwerdtfeger

Anonymous said...

Actually, I've just learned that the use of "right" instead of "very" didn't happen in Catskills English. But there were some other things that I'd forgotten to mention in my last post:

* The use of the word "alls". I'm not sure of its origins, but I think it might originate as a contraction of "all that" ("That's ALLS you gotta do", "ALLS I got is apples", "That's AllS I have to say about that."),

* Instead of something being "in half", it'd be "in two", as in "He took dat axe, an' he split dat log clean IN TWO.",

* Calling a "road" a "line" ("I live right up the LINE from Shandaken", "I'm gonna head on down the LINE to the store, now.") I'd assume that it's a holdover from calling railroads "lines",

* As well, the sound of the "a" in "cat" (and otehrs like it) is usually pronounced something similar to "eh-uh", instead of just a flat-out "a", but that's pretty common in most places, I'm pretty certain.

-Kianu Schwerdtfeger

Roberta Lader said...

I came from Rome, NY, but my dad came from Putnam Co. (north of Westchester) and my mom from Elmira (Southern Tier). My mother's mother lived with us, and she came from New Haven, CT. That was 3 distinct accents, and most of the family has elements of all 3 accents in our speech. I suspect that these days, those mixtures are pretty common. I add an r to the end of some words, but almost never delete rs, and always use a "draw" to put things in. My "stretched A" is only apparent in a few words; otherwise it is neutral.
The only firm pattern I saw was that people from Syracuse west are most likely to talk about "pop" and those east of Syracuse about "soda". My husband from Skaneateles always said "pop" and he also referred to "budging in line" rather than "cutting in line."

People in northern Virginia, where I now live, tell me that they can't place my accent, other than vaguely northern.

Jessi said...

I'm from central NY and still use cabinet and bucket because they mean specific things. A cupboard is something that is built into a wall, and a cabinet is free-standing and can be moved around. I would use the word pail to refer to a container with a handle made of metal, and bucket to refer to one made of plastic. So I still use those words because most people I grew up around use them that way.

Anonymous said...

When I was 14 we moved from Warwick, RI to Oswego, NY. What an assault to my New England ears. I had never heard the letters ar pronounced in that manner. I gradually got used to it but my mom was from North Shore Mass and never did.