Grant Barrett’s visit to the region brought home to me the importance of the connection between how we talk and who we are. You will know us by our accent. It’s the way we determine who is us, and who is them.
But just what makes up the North Country accent? Or is it accents? Is there a formulary of rhythms, grammatical constructions, pronunciation shifts and so forth that define the sound? How far does it reach? Can it be defined? Can it be taught?
That’s a boatload of questions. But let’s make a start with a catalog of signature North Countryisms, things we do with language that, taken together, might help us zero-in on the local lilt.
I’m interested in everything from the anecdotal to the academic, and look forward to a broad-ranging chin-wag on the topic we all keep on the tip of the tongue.
We’ve visited this topic in the past. To help start the conversation, here are some features from the Way-Back Machine discussing North Countryisms and place names.
Heard up North: Pronouncing Theresa (The Town)
Heard Up North: 3 Words (The Particular Language of the North Country, Cont.)
Heard up North: Yupper! (& Beaver Meadows)