Language in Baltimore

Why is it important to learn about and study language?

In this short podcast, “The Revelatory Power of Language,” which I produced for the Maryland Humanities Council’s “Humanities Connection” series, I talk about how language differences occur naturally and are part of how we define ourselves, individually as well as socially. Whether we drink soda or pop, whether we pronounce the word aunt as “ant” or “ahnt,” the word “Baltimore” as Bawlmer or Baldamor, whether we use isn’t or ain’t, language tells us something about who we are as speakers of the ever-changing English language.

Here are a few links about language variation in Baltimore:

In Spring 2011, my “Language in Diverse Schools and Communities” graduate seminar (offered through the Language, Literacy, and Culture Program at UMBC) conducted research with city residents as well as linguistic experts, and produced four podcasts on topics related to language in Baltimore. These podcasts also help uncover and share the linguistic charm of Charm City:

There is much yet to be learned about the accents, dialects, varieties, and languages found in Baltimore, Maryland.  Thanks for visiting this site. Please leave comments and let us know what you think about language in Baltimore!

Dr. Christine Mallinson
Language, Literacy & Culture Program
University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC)

The views expressed on this blog are mine and these students’ alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of UMBC.  The fieldwork conducted for these projects was approved by the UMBC Institutional Review Board:  Protocols #Y11CM27127, #Y11CM27125, #Y11CM27126, and Y10CM27129.  All of the music clips and the sound effects used in these podcasts were obtained from freeplaymusic.com and freesound.org, unless otherwise indicated in the podcast credits.

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One response to “Language in Baltimore

  1. Pronounced SE Baltimore:

    Baltimore (bal da mor)

    Canton (can in)

    Highlandtown (hul lin town)

    Water (wooder)

    Sink (zink)

    You sometimes sound like jew

    You ploural (yous and sometimes jews)

    Harbor (har ber)

    City (cid dee)

    All names always normally shorten like Harry be harr, Marry be mear, Jenny be jen, Peggy be peg, etc.

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