To read more about languages and varieties found in and around Maryland, follow these links:
Read more about language variation in and around Baltimore on the “Baltimore Accent” Wikipedia page, edited by several of my students in my Fall 2017 course at UMBC. The page includes discussion of “Bawlmerese,” the accent traditionally found in White working-class Baltimore neighborhoods. You can also watch a video featuring this accent, hosted by the Baltimore Sun.
You can also learn more about Baltimore’s Black Vernacular, in this Baltimore Sun multimedia feature story. The profile includes the news article as well as a short video in which I weigh in on language variation in Baltimore city, plus an interactive lexicon.
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.
When a Maryland expat moves to Montana, he takes his accent with him! This piece written by Ben Zimmer for the Atlantic, with a quote by Dr. Christine Mallinson, considers the issue of how former Baltimore/Queen Anne’s resident and current Montana Republican U.S. Senate contender Matt Rosendale pronounces the name of his adopted home state. The piece also refers to this ESPN video clip, in which two commentators from Maryland have fun pronouncing players’ names in an exaggerated “Bawlmer”-style accent.
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 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.