This place matters

This place matters

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Regionalisms

Have you ever noticed that Ohioans pronounce "Akron" and "Canton" with a short "i" sound instead of an "o"? What's more interesting to me is that most people outside of Ohio do pronounce the "o," particularly noticeable if you call 411. 
In the movie "Needful Things," the evil Leland Gaunt claims to have come from Akron, Ohio, but pronounces the "o" sound. I wonder if that's supposed to be a clue that the character is not who he says he is, or if it's just that no one making the movie knew that it's pronounced "Akrin."
I've further noticed that people from Canton often drop the "n" and "t" out of the middle of the word and say something that sounds more like "Ca-in." I've noticed I've started calling it "Ca-in" as well. Similarly, it seems about half the people I talk to say "Cuyoga" instead of "Cuyahoga."
Some folks around these parts also drop the middle consonants out of "technically," so it sounds like "teh-nicly." I wonder if that's a regionalism, or if it's just something people naturally do because they're too hurried to pronounce all the sounds in the sentence.
Around here, if something is dirty, we say it "needs washed," rather than "needs to be washed" or "needs washing." I had no idea that was considered grammatically incorrect until recently.
Here in Ohio, we call the strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street a "tree lawn," and I didn't know until college that that's not what everybody else calls it. Apparently, people in most regions call it "the strip of grass between the sidewalk and the curb," but in some regions it's called a "parking strip" or "tree belt," among other things. None of those terms are particularly accurate, come to think on it. I mean, sometimes that bit of lawn has a tree in it, but most don't. And you're certainly not supposed to park on a tree lawn. I would know. When I first got my license, I was so bad a parallel parker that I parked on a street with half the car on a tree lawn, and I got a ticket for parking in a "landscaped area." My parallel parking skills have not improved, by the way.

2 comments:

tribalprincess said...

I hadn't heard the term "tree lawn" until just now (nor any of the others) so maybe it was more of a Cleveland area thing than just Ohio?
I do, however, say "needs washed" and also didn't know that was incorrect. Now it's pretty obvious though and I feel like a rube.
And man, if you wanna talk about regional pronunciation in that area, think about Massillon. I had to explain to a lot of people from out of town that it's pronounced "maslin" and not "mass-il-lawn."

Rev Magda said...

One more Akrin-ism: I grew up calling the tree lawn the Devil Strip. Why? No idea, that's just what it was called!

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