Viewers Curious About The 'Bawston' AccentWBZ

The Boston accent is famous – or at least infamous. But did you “evah wondah” where it came from?

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Renee from Canton did, so she posted this question on our Curiosity Web site:

“Why do people from Boston put an ‘r’ on the end of words that don’t have one like ‘idear’ but will take it out of words that do have one like ‘cah’?”

So I, who knows a little something about having an accent, searched for the answer.

If you’ve “eva taken yah cah” along the “chahles rivah,” to “cheehs” or to Fenway “pahk” then you know!

We Bostonians drop our r’s.

You also know that no one really “pahks their cah in hahvard yahd.”

So we have an interesting accent. But do any of us really know why we drop the r’s sometimes and add the r’s at other times?

Why does pizza become pizz-er?

Why do we stick an ‘r’ on the end?

When did Martha become Marth-er?

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For the answer I went to the guy who got rid of my accent at Emason, uh, Emerson.

Dr. Ken Crannel wrote a book on speech. The professor turned consultant helps professionals with their voice and articulation.

So “pahk the cah in hahvahd yahd” should be: Park the car in Harvard Yard.

Crannel says blame the Brits.

“It developed because we were listening very closely to the Brits,” he explained.

We sent the redcoats back, but we kept the way they spoke — with a twist. We changed the vowel before the “r”.

“It’s the vowel “ah” that bothers us. A Brit might say “pahk.” We like that. It’s romantic,” Crannel explains.

As for that “r” we slap on our pizz-er. That’s trickier. Crannel says the Brits rolled r’s onto the front of verbs.

But we for some reason we stuck them on our soft drinks.


It’s actually refreshing. No need to be embarrassed, says Dr. Crannel.

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I mean sure, when we threw the “T” into the harbor, we tossed out the “r” too, but just like taxation without representation, who needs it?
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