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Monday, April 25, 2011

Living in New England: they talk funny!

There are many aspects of life here that are so unique from other parts of the country, and I want to share those things with my family, and perhaps with you- if you have never been here. I thought it might be helpful to do some posts called : Living in New England that highlight quintessential New England sights, events, situations, and experiences.
I also know of many people who have lived here, in New England, their entire lives and perhaps don't realize that some of the events and sights that I will describe don't happen elsewhere in the country. Or, maybe you are originally from New England, but have moved away... I hope these posts will bring back some fond memories for you. In any event I wish to share New England with you through the eyes of this Southerner.



photo:  teacollection via google images



Please note that this post is said tongue-in-cheek as I come from the land of funny speak
A perfect example of this is a story that happened many years ago, not long after we had moved to Dallas -  Dan and I were at a hardware store in Garland, Texas.  An employee of the store helped us carry something out to our car, our brand new Ford Explorer, and he asked how we liked it, "We loved it" we replied. 
Then he asked... "Is is Spicy?"
"I'm sorry, what???" I said.  "Is it Spicy?"  
"Excuse me?" I said again.  Again he asked.... "Is it Spicy?"
At this point I'm thinking this is some kind of new slang lingo I'm unfamiliar with, so I mumble something and said, "Yes," not having a clue what I was saying yes to. About 20 minutes later on our drive home I looked at Dan and said.... "Ohhhhhh, he was asking is it SPACEY?!!!!!!!!!!" Like did the SUV have a lot of room, but said in Texas-speak it sounded like "Spicy"!!




photo:  Marc Creedon via google images



fast forward to New England:
In NE you hear things like:   dollah for dollar, sar for saw, cellah for cellar, pahk the cahh for park the car, watah for water.........................

Dan occasionally uses a park-and-ride bus when he has to go to Boston Logan Airport.  On one such return trip home he was the sole passenger on the big bus.  He sat up front and chatted with the driver.  (note:  Dan is the much friendlier half of this marriage.... even in an empty bus I would have probably sat in the last seat staring out the window, lost in thought decorating some room that didn't exist!  Dan is more social;)  So in his conversation with the bus driver the driver was explaining some of his past jobs.  He told Dan that he used to drive a "chattah" bus.  We had only lived in New Hampshire for several months when this encounter took place and while Dan had never heard of a "chattah" bus he assumed it must be some kind of a tour bus that went to different restaurants that served the area's famous chowder.   After several more references to the "chattah" bus, it finally became clear to Dan and he said, "oh,  you mean CHARTER bus", and the driver said "yeah, that's what I said... CHATTAH bus."
Dan laughingly said, "You talk funny!"  To which the bus driver laughingly said, "You listen funny!"

touche' !!!


67 comments:

  1. I really LOVE your blog-being born in NH, lived the first part of my life in VT and then our family moved to NY State and now I live in NJ-my dream is to one day move back there, but the way time flies by it may never happen-only visits. Love your home too!

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  2. I've been to Mass three times and love love New England area. They DO talk funny, but I wish I had that accent. I love it.

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  3. Now that's just silly. Chowdah and Chattah don't sound at all similah!

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  4. Ha ha! Being from Boston I totally loved this post!

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  5. Hi Joan, Having lived in Atlanta for twenty years I am told I have a heavy southern accent. I have a dear friend who was born and raised in New England. We are always laughing because we don't understand some of what the other one just said! Have a great week.
    Hugs,
    Sherry

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  6. I am a Texan that had to live in Massachusetts for 16 years. The first year I was there and went to the cleaners. He asked me if I wanted stach in the collas. I had to ask him to repeat himself three times before I realized he was talking about starch in the collars. Yes they do talk funny up there...but then I know I talk funny as a southerner.

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  7. Very cute blog post! Love it :)

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  8. Once when we were looking for a condo in Charleston, MA, the realtor said "It's a latch condo". I was confused - what's a Latch Condo?
    Then later I realized she meant "large condo!"

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  9. LOL, I'm from the South and worked with a lady from Boston who pronounced "khaki" in the most unusual way I've ever heard. They do talk funny up north. Cute post,
    Babs

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  10. That is so funny. What a wonderful thing to be able to move like that and experience different parts of the country. Enjoy.

    Have a great week!

    Susan

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  11. such a delighful post to begin the week - thank you, joan! -k.

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  12. I understand. As a child growing up in California I was sent to a speech therapist, as I could not pronounce my "r"s. 6 months of sessions - and I got it. 20+ years later I moved to Boston and within a week - I spoke like a native! Chalk it up to having a New England Soul! -Wendy

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  13. Living in Seattle, I once worked with a woman from Mississippi. One day she was saying how much she loved "bowled peanuts." We were all puzzled about what "bowled peanuts" could be. After some questioning we finally figured out she was referring to "boiled peanuts" which still struck us as funny as one doesn't generally find those here in Seattle.

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  14. LOL! Cute post. Several years ago when my daughter was 9 we took a road trip throughout the northeast and LOVED it. We're from Tennessee, by the way. While on a "subway" car heading into Boston my daughter makes a phone call to a friend back home. As she began to converse with her friend the whole car turned to watch and listen. It is funny how people in the same country can speak so differently.

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  15. Hilarious! I love different dialects for this very reason.

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  16. Love, love, love this post! Of course, I was born and raised in TX, have lived in Georgia for 20 years, and summered in Rhode Island with my grandmother for many years... I probably "listen funny" too. :)

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  17. As someone from NJ with a husband from the south this post made me smile. It is amazing how differnt parts of the country use different phrases and pronunciations. One of the first things people say to me when they find out where I am from is "You don't sound like you are from NJ."

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  18. haha, this is great! I grew up in NH and dont have an accent at all, but I for SURE think Mass accents are so hysterical- like whats with the h's everywhere

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  19. I chuckled aloud on this one! I love that last line---I'll have to remember it.
    Different ways of talking isn't just from state to state, but even from one part of the state to another part. When I moved to Cincinnati(southwestern Ohio), it took quite awhile for me to catch on to their use of "Excuse me." In southeastern Ohio, it means, "I'm sorry I belched." or "Please, could you let me through." and so on.
    I was in a fast food restaurant and the girl waiting on me kept saying "Excuse me." It took me way too long to realize she was asking me to repeat myself--she didn't understand my order!
    Now that I'm back in southeastern Ohio, I catch myself saying it and my students' looking at me perplexed.

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  20. My husband and I love to travel the southeastern states {we are from Chicago} and many times we have been accused of talking funny! At the same time, we are thinking the same thing.

    What a fun post!

    XO,
    Jane

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  21. This is so funny, so true! I live in Mass, grew up in RI, and when I went to college in upstate NY too many years to admit to, where I was made very aware of my accent. So much so that I worked very hard to get rid of it. One weekend close to Valentines Day my sophmore year, I came home and was in conversation with my mother and married sister (in RI). My sister was going to be baking for her little ones and she asked my mother "Do you have a hot pan?" I looked at her in sincere confusion. "What? What's a hot pan?" My mother and sister both looked at me like I had three heads. "A hot pan for Valentines Day," my sister said in her own special way. It took about three times more for me to figure out she meant "heart." That's when I realized how really bad the accent was. LOL to this day! Great post and I look forward to more of these!

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  22. That is funny, I am Australian and spent some time in California some years ago and had the same trouble with people understanding me, maybe I shoudl visit New England next time? Don't know how many times people asked me what I said when I pronounced water.
    By the way, love your house
    Mekaela, another funny talker from down under :-)

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  23. Hi Joan, Dan, and Ella: Mike, who grew up outside Boston, was transferred to MI. During a Q&A session, with his new staff, someone asked him what country he was from! Cindy

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  24. I used to say Wadder for Water .. this is what happens when you grow up in the South then move to NY...
    Now I am in South America and no one can understand me anyway .. besitos.

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  25. it never fails to amaze me how diverse this country is. from state to state how we "become" like our state and we think we are "normal" until we visit say the south or the east or the mid west.. and then we KNOW we are normal! haha.. i kid i kid.

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  26. Reminds me of our Mississippi relatives and how they talk funny and Daddy with his Mississippi accent pronouncing "column" as "coluum", or how Aunt Mae said "Misris" instead of "Mrs". Remember, Daddy also said "Chicargo" instead of "Chicago"?

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  27. Great post. My husband is from Minnesota where they talk funny too. I remember once I told his mother that she had an accent and she kept denying it. Then she proceeded to tell me that I had an accent... I'm from Denver, the place where there are absolutely no accents at all. I just looked at her like "really?" and then she laughed because she knew that that statement was completely false... Funny mid-western people. :)

    ♥ sécia
    www.petiteinsanities.blogspot.com

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  28. Proud to have my New England accent! Glad to hear others are too. :)

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  29. That's adorable! I got a good laugh about the Chattah Bus! I'm a bit hard of hearing and I am always asking my Dan what someone said, this could turn out quite comical with me trying to understand them and having it interpreted!! I'm so excited my son is interviewing for a job in Providence, Rhode Island...If it goes through I will get to hang out on the East coast more often, maybe even move that way! YAY!

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  30. Well since I've lived in Dallas most of my life...I even write with my accent and goofy colloquialisms. (I want to brag that I just typed that long word and no red line! I can't believe I spelled it correctly) I even typed a facebook status today about our tornad'r warn'n :) Just makes me giggle wondering what people are think'n as they try to read my writing. By the way, I really say tornado warning, I just felt "spicy" today!

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  31. Great post--one of my favorite things about our vast country are the regional differences--makes travel and moving new places so fun and exciting!
    I grew up in California and went to college in Massachusetts. One day I came into the dorm to find all my friends watching a soap opera. Naturally the scene showed a character in the hospital and I asked what was wrong with her. A friend told me the character had a "hot" problem and I asked, "What is a hot problem?" The whole room burst out laughing--even though a minute earlier they had all been fretting about the character's heart problem!

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  32. omg..... "y'alls" (YES, that IS a real word ;) stories are hysterical!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  33. That made me laugh out loud (spicy) - hilarious!

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  34. Hi, I love all your posts and your beautiful house. I was antiquing in mid Massachusetts a few weeks ago (lifelong resident) with my daughter when she mentioned we were near the town of Harvard. I said "Rainy, whose kid are you? it's Haaved! she grew up not 2 miles from where I was born and raised and talks without nearly as much of an accent as I do. I asked my son to say it the next day and he said Harvard also. I guess the old accent is fading with an influx of different dialects...
    thanks for your blog I love it
    Linda
    Newton, Ma

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  35. I could not leave a comment using google, I am seeing if anonymous works.
    Love your home.

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  36. Ha! LOVE it...But dayum...I think the idea of a chowder bus is PURE genius!!

    I'd book it!!

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  37. Darling post ..I live and was born here and think we talk funny! I don't know why southerners would move up here with this climate..southerners are so friendly from my traveling experiences..love the southern accent...

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  38. It is so funny how we LISTEN...or HEAR! Many times when I ahve ben on a vacation, someone will say to me are you from Philly? I NEVER thought I ahd ANY kind of accent but I guess I do! XO, Pinky

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  39. Joan... love this post and all the wicked funny comments! I'm a Jersey girl transplanted to Indiana in high school. Man, did I get a lot of grief about my accent. I'll never forget the first time someone asked me if I wanted a pop. I had absolutely no idea what they were talking about. Pop is my Dad... not a soda!

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  40. Lived in amherst nh for about 13 years, i hope you haven't encountered the black flys yet while gardening, it will soon be their time, we used to wear the net headgear and jackets and tried our best to enjoy it! Also my dog hated the ticks, luckily she was white haired, so we got past the bugs eventually but our first year was a major setback from the beauty of nh

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  41. i really enjoyed this post. i have never laughed so hard in my life.. i too am a native southerner who has been lucky enough to travel the world.i love the idea of this post and i am looking forward to reading more.

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  42. I grew up in MA but moved after college. My Mom was visiting (who has a very thick Boston accent) and was drawing with my boys at the table. She told them to draw a 'hot'. They looked at her crazy and asked how they draw something hot. I stood back and watched with a smirk until they finally realized she was saying 'heart'. The funny thing was she kept repeating 'hot' over and over thinking they just didn't hear her. It wasn't until she actually drew a heart that they understood.

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  43. Having lived in Garland, TX for most of my life...I love this post! :)

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  44. This post makes me smile. Coming from the North and moving South, I can relate.

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  45. This was so much fun to read! I too used to have a thick Maine accent when I was a child before moving South. I'll never forget trying to figure out what my new southern friend was taking about when she said she had bought a "seller" hat. When she finally showed it to me, turns out it was a "sailor" hat! I could so relate to the "spicy" "spacey" example! ~Lili

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  46. Hi Joan~
    Good grief I have been in Maine for almost 8 years and there are still days when I have to ask someone to repeat something. Nothing like a Main-ah accent though :) Although I have to admit the first time I said "y'all" I got some crazy looks and being southern I Sir and Ma'am everyone, drives my husband nuts :)

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  47. I love it! Some of my relatives are from Boston - correction, "The Cape" - and when they're home we all have a great time trying to decipher what they're saying. :)

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  48. I live in Chicago but dated someone from Mystic, CT. I instantly fell in love with New England and the accent and vernacular were infectious. I remember he would always say "dawler" and I would repeat it without fail. Chowdah. When I met his parents for the first time, I asked for "a pop". His entire family looked at me like I was from outer space. And when I suggested "Let's go to the show", he thought I meant a Broadway production. I love your post and am your newest follower. Thanks! :-)

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  49. I am from Dallas and live in Waterville, Maine now, so I toatlly get how funny all of this is!! My first trip to the grocery store up here, the cashier looked at me and said "Batlet??" I stared at her w/ a blank expression, so she proceeded to ask again "B-A-T-L-E-T??" really slowly. --Nothing...so, she hold up my pear and says one last time "BATLET!!!??" "Oooooo!!! You mean is it a baRTlet pear!!" Haha! I still chuckle!! ;)

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  50. An original girts gal, moved over the country and oceans with the military and other work and now settled for awhile in PA, my Southern accent which i think is all but gone except when I am tired evidently is still strong as was pointed out to me yesterday. I still get a kick out of all the differnet accents and pecularities of our great country's regions! Keeps us on our toes doesn't it? And smile on my face!

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  51. I'm from Boston and proud of it...a few years ago a co-worker from NY (damn Yankees fan lol) made a few "cracks" about my accent - I turned to him and said 'you live HERE now - you're the one that talks funny"...he never says anything about the way I speak now...

    Great post!

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  52. How funny...as a Southerner, I know when I travel to NYC, people always ask me about my accent. When I'm there, I feel as though I'm speaking the same way as everyone else, but clearly not - hard to take the Southern draw out of a girl!

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  53. You had me laughing out loud, Joan!

    xo
    Brooke

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  54. Thanks for the laughs, one and all :)

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  55. Oh honey,
    I grew up out west, have lived a couple years in TX and have been in NH for the last 20. While I was new here, I was dumbfounded to hear a local on the radio saying a big problem is "we just don"t have enough people involved at the POTTY level!" I had to listen for awhile before I caught on she meant the party level....of politics.

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  56. That reminds me of a story from right after we moved to Boston 5 years ago. There was a workman at our house and asked my husband for a "top". My husband had no idea what he meant. He tried to stall, and figure out what he meant- some special tool he'd never heard of? After a few minutes the guy was like- "You know, a top- to cuvah stuff"
    He was saying TARP! My husband finally got it! Ha Ha. I agree with you it certainly is an adventure living in NE!
    (I grew up here but my husband's from AZ)

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  57. I'm a native New Englander, my husband's a Brit. One day playing ball with my then 5 year old nephew, the baseball rolled into a puddle. My husband said (very proper British accent) "Has your ball rolled into the water?". My nephew paused for a minute, then looked at him like he was crazy and he said "No. It rolled into the WADDAH." My husband laughed at getting elocution lessons from a Bostonian in short pants!

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  58. Thanks so much for the giggles and "out-louds"the post and comments produced- especially today after the horrors of the tornados in the South. I am from S. La., married and moved to Dallas- lived here 20+yrs. before being sent to S.Carolina where my husband ran a bakery plant.... in a meeting he was so perplexed by a question regarding the "fall', and explained the marketing program which would begin in October once again.... finally, some one leaned over and whispered "he means the "foil", as in foil pans!
    they also eat "balled" peanuts there!
    can't resist adding that as he travelled alot... he was often in Boston, and never failed to bring a new "story" home about how funny people talked there... our favorite one remains the explanation for a customers absence- due as the local put it, due a "hat attack'. My husband was completely befuddled, and could not comprehend how in the world one could be attacked by a hat.... and asking the third time, received the very stern answer--- "you know- a HAT attack.".. and grabbed his chest and keeled forward. My husband nearly died from embarrassment- we still have " hat attacks" here, when we get tickled about something.
    "Human beans" the funniest beans of all" is my hubs favorite saying.
    LOL,
    Alice from Dallas

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  59. This post is "wicked" funny :^)

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  60. I'm a Mississippian who moved to NH about 10 years ago. When I was trying to get our cable hooked up, the person on the other end of the line had to keep asking me to repeat everything and finally just asked me to slow down because he couldn't understand a word I was saying. All the while, I was struggling to understand him. Some of my favorite New England words are wicked (took us a long time to learn that wicked is good,)and bubbler(or bubblah)and elastics instead of rubber bands. It's been a fun journey.

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  61. This is so funny. I grew up in Boston and had not left the state until I moved away to Kansas (of all places). Since I had really spent all of my time in the Boston area, I thought we were normal and everyone else had an accent. I could not believe how often people will comment on my accent. I remember working and having to talk with someone in Atlanta. It was truly like we were speaking two different languages at times.

    We have moved around a lot, but one of our best experiences was living in England. I remember having a conversation on the phone with a sales woman at KIDS GAP in London. I was asking her to check on a size for a navy sweater. I was getting confused because the woman kept talking to me about a jumper. I finally said to her, I'm sorry I do not understand, I am asking about a navy sweater and you keep talking to me about a jumper and I'm not looking for a dress. She then explained to me that in England a sweater is called a jumper.

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  62. Yes, we do speak a bit funny, but who doesn't? You should hear my parents talk! When my husband first met my father he had a hard time understanding his thick New England accent. My brother can be difficult at times too, but being a born and raised New England girl I understand. And don't you just love listening to Fritz Wetherbee?

    Always wicked nice to find a fellow NH blogger : )

    Sharon

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  63. Been there done that! We moved from Houston to Mass. for a couple of years. We loved it, but there difinitely was a learning curve in languages! They couldn't understand us either!
    We also had to have everybody that came to visit bring cans of Rotel tomatoes!! Could not find them there anywhere.
    We also finally found a Mexican rest. in Portmouth. Ordered tacos and they had zuchini in them!! That is just wrong in so many ways!
    Judy

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  64. That dirt driveway you covered in rocks? That is called a doah-yahd (door-yard) here in New England. It isn't an official driveway until you pave it! (I grew up in Maine, shoveling the doah-yahd every time it snowed)

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  65. This post had me laughing. I grew up just outside of Boston, moved to the New Bedford, MA, area for college (where they have a very special accent of their own), and have been in NH for the last 10+ years. I don't think I really have much of an accent on a normal basis, but when I get around my sister, something strange happens to my R's. My Wisconsin-born husband loves to point it out to me with a laugh. (He doesn't realize that HE's the one who really talks funny!)

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  66. Wicked! When I am missing 'the sound of New England' too much, I call my aunts just to hear them speak. Of course, my cross-bred accent of New England and Ohio (with a touch of my dad's Buffalo) makes ME stand out in SW GA! Dawn

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