Date: Mon, 30 Jan 1995 19:28:44 -0600


Subject: Re: Boston accent

On Mon, 30 Jan 1995, Peter L. Patrick wrote:


Martha Laferriere had an article in Language in 1979

("Ethnicity in Phon'l Variation & Change") which contrasted Boston

Irish, Jewish and Italian speech for low vowels. She looked at

different generations and gave a nice picture of social change and why

the Irish, as I recall, kept the least prestigious accent longest.

Thanks -- and this brings up another question. This writer's Bostonian

characters use (in drafts I've seen so far) more Irishisms than I hear

from Irish-born residents of the Twin Cities. (Including one musician

with a rural Irish accent the average Dubliner might have trouble

understanding.) She says it's the way the Irish side of her family talks

(NYC Irish, not Boston Irish -- I don't know how much difference this

makes.) And I have the impression that my relatives whose native

language was Yiddish used fewer Yiddish words when speaking English than

the ones who grew up English-speaking. Is there a term for this, and has

it been discussed in print?

Dan Goodman dsg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]