Wednesday, September 17, 2008
The lion's share of local news personalities, with the exception of sportscasters or muckraking political commentators looking to maintain a populist veneer, adopt at least some form of the (depressingly bland) General American accent. R's roll off their tongues with practiced ease and their use of glottal stops and low vowels has been willfully suppressed.
Blood will tell, however, and what has been bred in the Bay State will come out whenever city and town names need be enunciated. It's the easiest way to tell the natives from the out-of-towners, as the former can't help pronouncing "Worcester" as "WOOS-TAH" and the latter strain mightily to keep from saying "WUR-CEST-ER." It's a trivial thing even among my list of petty irritations, but whenever I hear local place names rendered in accent-neutral Nebraskanese, I get a sensation similar to the feeling you get when you bite down on a piece of tinfoil.
"Woe-burn," my ass.
As a modest way of remedying the problem, I present this brief lesson in geographical pronunciation. Newscasters take note.
"Heading out from Boston, you will find Somerville, Revere, Everett, and Medford."
"Gloucester, Danvers, and Peabody are on the North Shore."
"Down on the South Coast, you can visit Dartmouth, New Bedford, and Fall River." (It's also where Comrade Thirdmate is currently berthed.)
"In the northwestern suburbs, one can find Billerica, Haverhill, Winchester, and most importantly, Woburn."