I grew up in a small PA town right next to the OH border, halfway between Cleveland and Pittsburgh. I used to describe my accent as "Cleveburgh." Now that I live in Cleveland, I find myself sounding more "Cleve" than "Burgh," which I think is pretty cool. I like the NEO accent more than the western PA one.
NE OHIO RURAL GIRL
Oh it's there. This article was great! I grew up about 50 miles west of Cleveland and now I live in Toledo. I'm constantly told my A's and O's are short, and people are always confusing my name with another one because of the way I say my A! When I was in college and made new friends with southern Ohioans, I drank pop(pahp), and they drank soda...stuff like that. Let's embrace it! 😀😀
It's absolutely real! Clevelanders pronounce their A's very differently. My cousin in Brecksville is named Patrick, but everyone up there calls him "Pyeahtrick."
And yes, I'm sure you in denial just read that out and thought, "nobody says it like that!" But it's tough to give an accurate, phonetic spelling of an accent. I was just in Cleveland in June, and trust me, it runs rampant. When I meet a someone from the midwest, I'm able to tell within the first 20 words out of their mouth.
It's not just Cleveland though! As the article mentions, all Midwestern cities have this. Even all the way as far as Philly has its own, unique accent. Michigan has probably the most extreme accent in the region. But all the Midwest accents are about 90% the same, with a few slight differences.
Trust me, if you live in NE Ohio, and you don't think people pronounce their A's differently, I guarantee you have an accent :)
MALKINTENT – your comment is amazing lol.
I keep saying the words "cot" and "candy" over and over, and I'm still not hearing any "yeah." I will admit our O's and A's can become nasal, leading to "caaaht" and "caaaandy," but I'm not sure where this alleged Y business is coming from. I can't even figure out how cot is supposed to sound like cat, no matter how I wrinkle my nose. The only time I hear "yeah" vowels in the Cleveland area is when we're making fun of New Yorkers.
Another comment mentioned the name Todd. How else would you pronounce it, besides "tahd"? Is it just a matter of how wide your mouth is when you say it?
Now, in more rural areas you'll hear EE vowels become I, as in creek = crick, or AY vowels become E, as in Dale = Dell, but I don't usually hear that among people raised in the cities.
A lot of you remind me of the story of the two young fish swimming to fish-school one morning.
They pass an older fish who tips his fish-cap at them. "Morning, boys!" he says. "Water's nice today, huh?"
The two young fish watch the older fish swim away. Then one turns to the other and asks, "What the fuck is water?"
I moved to Cleveland a year ago after growing up in Boise, ID. Supposedly, there is very little accent in Boise, which is the reason there are so many call centers there (sorry for the spam calls with 208 areas codes...Not my fault). There was a huge call center right around the corner from my old house. I'm sure that everyone sounds like they have an accent when they travel. I haven't noticed the specific sounds described in this article, like "yeah" for a. But I can say that I'm constantly asking people to repeat themselves because I don't hear them clearly. There is at least some difference in the way people talk here compared to Idaho. I wonder how weird I sound to people here.
I grew up relatively closer to Cleveland than the Youngstown area, but since moving to Y-town I have definitely noticed an Eastern Ohio/Western PA dialect. The pronunciation nuances are subtle with influences of Appalachia and Southern Ohio, things like "steel" become "still" as in the Pittsburgh Stillers, and instead of "cool" it becomes "coal" or possibly "cole." The differences in word choice are more noticeable. Things like "buggy" instead of "shopping cart," "sweeper" instead of vacuum cleaner," or "day turn/night turn" rather than "day shift/night shift." I feel like my accent and word choice has been more based on what I heard on television, both local and national, where the phrasing and accents are more standardized, but maybe I'm suffering from some accent denial too. = )
I'm from the Alliance, Ohio, area, an interesting meeting point of the "Lake Erie accent" as I call it (or Cleveland Accent), Ohio Appalachian accent, and Midland accent or "flat English." When I moved to Columbus, I could hear the differences among the three accents as I've defined above. I also know of people who moved closer to Cleveland, picked up the accent, and then left the area and lost it. Great article!
There is a Sout Lur ane accent among steelworkers. I thought of it as Brooklynese. Heard it from Eat Tweah-nee Ate(E28th) to Eat Turdee Turd (E33rd) in South Lorain (a region unto itself)
All these folks in denial cryack me up. We all have a definite eyaccent, just eyask anyone from outside NEO and they'll confirm. Eyaccents aren't byad, thyat's just how we sound.
Thanks for a great article! I think that only people who have traveled a lot and lived in other places for long periods get it. I lost my accent for a bit (thankfully!) but hear it slip back into my speech every so often. Makes me cringe. ;-)
Kee-yan-dee? Are you serious? I am a Clevelander, born and raised, and never in my fifty-two years have I heard anyone pronounce anything the way the author of this article insists we are pronouncing words. The only time I'll hear a "yeah" in anything is when someone actually says "yeah". We have some pretty hard, short vowels and pronounce our "r's" pretty hard, that much I've noticed. But the whole stick a "y" sound in where it doesn't belong? I think not.
I've heard it, I've said it, but I definitely think it's more urban than suburban or rural. And it's definitely something that is reinforced with folks who are ESL (English as a second language) or multi-generational. Let's embrace it. In addition to the CAVS, Michael Symon, and all of our great CLE history, it's who we are.
Clevelanders talk normal proper English everyone else has the accent.......
After 24 years here, people can still tell that I'm from Sha-CAW-go, Ill-ANNOY. I KNOW we said kee-an-dee and dee-add-ee ...we are what we are. When I was in sixth grade I took a dramatics class at a little theater and our diction coach used to yell at us about our Chicago accents. I always thought it was just a Jewish thing, until I moved to other states as an adult.
But Clevelanders (my wife is fifth generations) most definitely do NOT sound like Chicagoans. They don't sound like anything or anybody else. To me they sound "normal"...almost like radio and TV folks...unless they have ancestors and relatives from Southern Ahia. That's a whole different ballgame.
Gotta go get da kee-yat outta da ay-ell-ee...or my dee-add-ee ain't gonna gimme enny kee-an-dee. See ya in twunny minnits. Hey, jeet jet? No...jew?
Chuckles the Clown
I moved to columbus as a teen and was constantly asked to say Mom and Pop because the kids there thought it was funny. they all sounded like stoopid southerners to me! After returning to CLE 10 years later, our accent is very clear in my ears. Not everyone here has it, but it's real, folks.
I work in sales and have grown up in the Cleveland area my whole life. I can assure you we have an accent that I wasn't even aware of it until a few years ago. When my company has national sales meetings and sales reps from all over the country come together they all make fun of the way I talk. It's very subtle to use but I can assure you it's there. Literally it's the running joke at sales meetings. Hi I'm Aaa-shley I'm from Cleee-vel-aaand. I find it humorous and unique so I don't mind. Good article!
The denial is strong in here. Cleveland does have an accent. Listen to the Triv Show, that's it.
Nope, born and raised in NEO and I've never spoken like this or noticed anyone I know who speaks like this.
I've lived in Cleveland my entire life and NEVER have I said 'kee-yan-dee' for 'candy' or 'cot' for 'cat'. That's how people from the Pittsburgh area say it, not people from the Cleveland area. I'm confused.....
January 11-17, 2017
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