Watch Your Language!

When I attended the University of Rhode Island (many years ago), I was a journalism major. Writing was my passion, but I also tried my hand at radio and TV. It was not to be. Unbeknownst to me, I had an accent. A Boston accent. You know, as in “Park the car in Harvard Yard” — with none of the r’s actually pronounced.

Eventually I left RI and moved to Westchester County, NY, where I was teased relentlessly about my accent by my fellow reporters. I worked hard to get rid of it. Or at least loose enough of it so I didn’t get ribbed every time I opened my mouth.

Then a move to Raleigh, NC, in 1988. Living in the south changes your pace. The language is slower, a relaxed cadence that I soon picked up. I even found myself greeting people by saying, “Hey” instead of “Hello.” And what the heck, I can throw in a “Y’all” with the best of ’em.

I thought I had done a pretty good job of eradicating my accent. And then my mom moved here from RI. In with us. So I listen to her thick, RI accent 24/7. We tease her because one of her favorite expressions is: “That’s the good part.” But it sounds like this, “That’s the good pot.”

Yesterday I heard myself say, “I’m going to go take my showa.” Instead of shower. And I thought, “Oh My God, I’m sounding like a Yankee again. Mom is rubbing off on me.”

It’s interesting to me how you can revert back so easily to your linguistic past. But before I think more about it, I’m going to go enjoy a bowl of chowda for lunch.


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