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ARTICLES IN THE BOOK

  1. African American Vernacular English
  2. American and British English differences
  3. American and British English pronunciation differences
  4. American English
  5. Americanism
  6. American National Corpus
  7. Appalachian English
  8. Baby mama
  9. Baltimorese
  10. Boston accent
  11. Boston Brahmin accent
  12. Boston slang
  13. British and American keyboards
  14. Buffalo English
  15. California English
  16. Central Pennsylvania accent
  17. Century Dictionary
  18. Chinook Jargon use by English Language speakers
  19. Dictionary of American Regional English
  20. English-language vowel changes before historic l
  21. General American
  22. Harkers Island%2C North Carolina
  23. Inland Northern American English
  24. Intervocalic alveolar flapping
  25. List of British idioms
  26. List of British words not widely used in the United States
  27. L-vocalization
  28. Maine-New Hampshire English
  29. Names of numbers in English
  30. New Jersey English
  31. New York dialect
  32. New York Latino English
  33. Nigga
  34. North American English
  35. North American regional phonology
  36. North Central American English
  37. Northeast Pennsylvania English
  38. Northern cities vowel shift
  39. Ozark Southern English
  40. Pacific Northwest English
  41. Pennsylvania Dutch English
  42. Philadelphia accent
  43. Phonological history of English low back vowels
  44. Phonological history of English short A
  45. Pittsburgh English
  46. Pronunciation respelling for English
  47. Regional vocabularies of American English
  48. Rhotic and non-rhotic accents
  49. Southern American English
  50. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language
  51. The American Language
  52. Tidewater accent
  53. Utah English
  54. Vermont English
  55. Whilst
  56. Y'all
  57. Yat
  58. Yooper dialect

 

 
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AMERICAN ENGLISH
This article is from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_English

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Text_of_the_GNU_Free_Documentation_License 

Buffalo English

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

Buffalo English, sometimes colloquially referred to as Buffalonian, is the unique variety of English occasionally used in and around the U.S. city of Buffalo, New York. The distinctively Buffalonian accent is usually only strongly present in lower class speakers and is diminishing rapidly (as are most other city dialects, such as Baltimorese). The most commonly heard speech style and cadence nowadays heard in Buffalo is indistinguishable to most listeners from that spoken in any of the large cities along the Great Lakes. Most speakers of Buffalonian English perceive Standard American English as unaccented, though the reverse may not be true. The zone in which Buffalonian English is found is a region extending to Buffalo on the west, Rochester on the east, Lake Ontario to the north, and Bradford, Pennsylvania to the south and roughly corresponds to the radio and television broadcast market of Buffalo.

Technically, the variety is part of the North Inland dialect of American English, which spreads from western Vermont to the Dakotas, and is therefore more like the local speech of Chicago and Michigan than New York City. However, as Buffalo and Buffalonians are in some respects tied geographically and culturally to southern Ontario (taste in sports, the presence of no less than three Canadian television stations as "local" stations, and the fact of sharing a city boundary with Canada itself), there is a very slight tendency towards a Canadian-flavored English amongst Buffalonians of all classes. While outright Canadian raising is not strongly present in Buffalonian speech, the speaker of Buffalonian English tends to be predisposed to it and may switch to it effortlessly and unintentionally when traveling in Canada. Other minor Canadianisms, such as ending sentences with the interrogative "eh?" are present (occasionally as "hey?" in Buffalo). For example: "He was there, hey?"

Key traits

Among its features are the flattening and nasalization of many vowels (this feature perhaps being the one universal feature of Buffalonian English across all socio-economic classes; it is almost always present in any Buffalo native), resulting in the pronunciation of, for instance, "mom" as "mam", or "apple" with a remarkably long duration and nasal initial vowel. Speakers of stronger Buffalonian variants are often wont to employ "possessification", where an ad hoc genitive case is applied to business names. For example, speakers of thick Buffalonian will say they shop at Kmart's, Target's or Home Depot's; have drug prescriptions filled at Rite-Aid's or Eckerd's; rent DVDs at Blockbuster's or Hollywood's (Hollywood Video); and eat lunch at Burger King's, Mighty Taco's, or Outback's (Outback Steakhouse). [1]

In contrast to other accents heard in New York State, Buffalonian English is very strongly rhotic, and not at all related to the non-rhotic accent of New York City, Boston, or other large cities of the northeastern United States. Additionally, the distinction between "cot" and "caught" (the so-called "caught-cot distinction") is very strong. [2]

Another notable feature is the addition of the definite article to road and place names at what are perceived to be unnatural times by speakers of standard American English. Most often occuring with expressways. "The" precedes all expressways in the Buffalo area. Ex the 90, the 290, the 33, the 190, the 400. You would never hear, "take 90 east" from a native Buffaloanian. You would hear "take the 90 east." [3]

Frequently, "yous" and "yous guys" as an informal second person plural pronoun is used in Buffalonian, and this usage is grammatical, akin to the pronoun "ihr" in German, rather than the simple improper usage that "yous" often represents in other city dialects. [4]

Occasionally present, like in many Great Lakes cities, is the partial or complete devoicing of terminal 's' in many words. That is to say, terminal 's' is usually pronounced 'z' in American English; in Buffalonian, in fact, terminal 's' is occasionally pronounced 's'.

Another aspect of classical Buffalonian is the retention of a short aspiration before "wh" in most words (except for words such as "who" in which the 'w' is silent), so that "where" is preceded by a very short yet distinct "h" sound. That is to say, "wh" is pronounced "hw". This aspiration appears to be orthographically induced; it is never present in words containing a "w" without subsequent "h" so that for example "which" and "witch" are pronounced in quite different fashions by a speaker of Buffalonian, as are "wight" and "white", "whined" and "wind", "weigh" and "whey". In almost all cases, these pairs of words are pronounced identically anywhere else in the United States, though they are quite distinctly different in a strong Buffalonian accent, and slightly but noticeably different in any Buffalo accent.

Speakers of unaccented American English, unfamiliar with the specific Buffalo accent, often perceive a speaker of Buffalonian English to be speaking Canadian English or the same general northern American accent lampooned somewhat by the movie Fargo. Native Buffalonians, and in particular those in whom the Buffalonian accent was weaker, tend to rapidly lose their Buffalonian pronunciation, grammar, and cadence, when moving to a new region, allowing it to morph into standard American English regardless of the local dialect.

A feature believed to have originated with Polish immigrants and then spreading to the region as a whole is "there" interjected after a noun or pronoun for emphasis, sometimes more than once in a sentence — "Go out and get us some doughnuts at Tim Hortons there"; "My sister there lives down in Hamburg there." The extreme example is the sort of stereotypical resident who supposedly describes the city's football team as "dem dere Bills dere."[5]

Speakers

Like most regional American accents, it becomes more pronounced in working-class speakers, and is rarely present except in a weak sense in middle- and upper-class speakers. For this reason, Buffalonian English is more densely present in the City of Buffalo itself and in its once-industrial suburbs, such as Lackawanna and Cheektowaga. Buffalonian English is almost unknown in the historically white collar suburbs such as Amherst and the areas adjacent to the extremely large State University of New York at Buffalo. There are, perhaps, approximately 500,000 speakers of audibly Buffalonian English in the seven western counties of New York.

The area's large Polish-American population also has an impact on some speakers of that ethnic group, who in older generations spoke with at least a slight Polish accent even if they were native-born Americans and first-language English speakers. The phenomenon was once widespread enough that even today residents sometimes jocularly refer to Cheektowaga, a large suburb just east of the city with many Polish-Americans, as "Chickatavaga," a usage that even made an SCTV sketch.

References

  1. ^ The Guide to Buffalo English
  2. ^ The Guide to Buffalo English
  3. ^ The Guide to Buffalo English
  4. ^ The Guide to Buffalo English
  5. ^ The Guide to Buffalo English

See also

  • Inland Northern American English
  • American English regional differences

Resources

  • Select Annotated Bibliography On the Speech of Buffalo, NY
  • The Guide to Buffalo English
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_English"