What’s there to learn about language in and around Baltimore? I answer this question in a short video for the Co-Create UMBC blog.
To read more about languages and varieties found in and around Maryland, follow these links:
Read more about the characteristics of “Bawlmerese,” the most well-known of the many Baltimore accents.
A short article on Baltimore accents in the television show The Wire, focusing primarily on how cast members pronounce their vowels, in what linguists call “u”-fronting and “o”-fronting.
In this April 2013 interview on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and hosted on the NPR Code Switch Blog, Dr. Christine Mallinson talks about Baltimore adolescents’ innovative use of ‘yo’ as a gender-neutral 3rd person singular pronoun. See also this article by Dr. Julie Tetel Andresen of Duke University about the Baltimore ‘yo’ and what it might mean for the future of the English language.
Actor Elizabeth Banks performs as the 30 Rock character Avery Jessup. In this clip, she talks about getting rid of her Maryland accent and flashes back to her “Overshoppe.com” commercial. Listen to the “oh” sound — which linguists call “fronted oh” — that is typical of many Marylanders and Baltimoreans. (Listen also to Nancy Donovan’s Boston accent. Of course, we won’t hold what Donovan says about Avery’s accent against Julianne Moore.)
In this July 2011 interview on WAMU 88.5 American University Radio Dr. Christine Mallinson talks about the Tidewater Accent on Tangier Island, Virginia, which is also characteristic of the eastern shores of Maryland and Virginia and of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Check out the story here.
This article discusses the history, culture, and language of Tangier Island, which now has a population of less than 500.
A recent ESPN commercial series called Tangier Island the “biggest sports town in America, per capita.” The commercial gives a glimpse of the Tangier accent and of the changing way of life on the island, now that the Internet and cell phones give Tangier Islanders the option of being in greater contact with folks on the mainland – if they want to be.
View an interactive map showing the percentages or numbers of speakers of the selected language. Select a state or click the map to zoom in on a region.