To read more about languages and language varieties found in Baltimore and around Maryland, follow these links:
The “Baltimore Accent” Wikipedia page
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.
How did the Baltimore accent happen?
Listen to Christine Mallinson and Inte’a DeShields–LLC Program alum, Assistant Professor at Morgan State University, and author of the Baldamor, Curry & Dug podcast on this site comment on the social context of Baltimore’s linguistic diversity alongside other experts and locals for the Maryland Curiosity Bureau, a podcast by Aaron Henkin of WYPR.
“Hold Up, ‘Hon’: Baltimore’s Black Vernacular Youthful, Dynamic, If Less Recognized than ‘Bawlmerese’”
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. You also might like this.
“Yo Said What?”: Baltimore Youth Use ‘Yo’ As a Gender-Neutral Pronoun
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.
17 Baltimore Slang Terms You Should Know
Research by myself and my students about the pronunciation of “Baltimore,” the use of “hon,” and other topics related to language variation in Baltimore are included in this 2023 article in Mental Floss.
“How Home-State Pronunciations Can Shape Local Elections”
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.
“Dew As You Dew: Baltimore Accent and The Wire
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.
Understanding Race, Culture, and the History of Baltimore Book List
“Baltimore’s ‘Old Head’ Culture: Understanding the Different Levels of Respect in Baltimore’s Vernacular English”
A column in Maryland Matters about the term “old head”: “While the term’s meaning is not exclusive to Baltimore and is rooted in African-American culture and Vernacular English, it holds a special significance in this city.”
“Tangier Islanders Retain Unique Dialect”
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.
“Understanding Delmarva’s ‘Whole-Nother’ Way of Speaking”
In this April 2014 article in Delmarva Now, Dr. Christine Mallinson discusses how language changes and explains some of the geographic and social influences on the dialect of the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
“The odd accent of Tangier Island”
Hear the accent on Tangier Island in this clip from the documentary American Tongues.
“An Island in Chesapeake Bay Is Disappearing — and So Is a British Dialect and A Piece of History”
This article discusses the history, culture, and language of Tangier Island, which now has a population of less than 500.
“The Biggest Sports Town in America, Per Capita”
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.
The Modern Language Association’s Language Map
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.