A wicked awesome lesson on the Boston accent

Here’s what you need to know about the Boston accent.

The Old State House in downtown Boston.

The Boston accent has changed over the years, just like our city’s skyline.

Whether you think it’s the “smartest sounding” accent or the most annoying accent — there is no denying the Boston accent gets people talking.

School is in session: let’s break down what you’re hearing and go over some basic lingo.

Did you know the accent is due to non-rhotic pronunciation? This is a dialect of English in which the letter “R” isn’t pronounced. The pronunciation style is unique to the New England area, New York, and Britain.

The omission of the letter “R” dates back ~400 years, when the first Boston settlers came from Europe. Although they weren’t asking where to pahk the cah, Bostonians of the time influenced the vocabulary, where words with the letter “R” were less common.

Speaking of words — here are a few you’ll hear around our city.

Wicked (adj.) — Substitute for very or really.
While the exact origin is unclear, there are two popular theories. The first is connected to the Salem Witch Trials. The second is connected to the former Mayor James Michael Curley and a campaign for the House of Representatives, during which he was having an affair with actress Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch of the West in “The Wizard of Oz.”

Bubbler (n.) — A drinking water fountain.
This word + hardware originated from Wisconsin and is pronounced “bubblah” around here.

Rotary (n.) — A larger traffic circle, designed to slow vehicle speeds around a central island.
New Englanders typically use this term, while residents in other states refer to the intersections as “roundabouts.”

Packie (n.) — A New England liquor store.
If your friend is making a run to the packie, they are visiting the local “package store.”

Pissah (adj.) — Slang term for something that is awesome or really great.
This slang word can be paired with wicked to emphasize the greatness.

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