Friday, October 14, 2011

Learn to Speak like an Akronite

People tease me about my accent on a regular basis. Though I like to think I've done a pretty good job of suppressing most of it, my "Akron A" occasionally still slips out. Its worse when m at home, surrounded by my Buckeye brethren, & when I've had a bit too much to drink.

So what's an Akron A? This regional accent comes out to play in words like "class" (pronounced more like "clay-us"), mom ("mahm") & happy (a fast "HAY-ap-ee"). It means I say the words "crackpot" & "crockpot" similarly - and that I had a really hard time in college, when I lived in Athens ("AYuh-thins") & my closest friends were named Abbey & Alison (you get it, right?).

Accent aside, there are also few terms I use that my friends from outside Northeast Ohio are unfamiliar with. This means I'm also usually unfamiliar with the terms they use for them, often resulting in conversational confusion. I did the dialect video meme awhile back, but here are a few other dialect differences I've recognized since moving away from my home state:

  • Calling hours
    I guess other people call this a "wake," which I always thought was a religiously based service, or something; it's not a word I've ever used in this way. Calling hours are the designated period of time, usually the night before a funeral, when friends & family can visit the funeral home to pay their respects to relatives of the deceased. There are usually two rounds, with an hour or so break in between for the family to take a breather.

  • Party center
    I don't know what other people call these, but party centers are businesses solely dedicated to having, well, parties. You rent out the buildings for weddings or proms or bar mitzvahs, & they have seating areas, dance floors, coat rooms, etc. Sometimes they cater, sometimes they don't. More often than not, they boast gaudy, '70s decor.

  • Devil strip
    Apparently this term is ONLY used in & around my hometown. My mom, a native of southwest Ohio, learned it when she moved here in college; I never knew there was any other term for it, but apparently others call it a "tree lawn"or else don't have a name for it at all. It's the strip of grass on the other side of the sidewalk in front of your home, usually owned by the city rather than the homeowner. It's called the "devil strip" because it's a devil to maintain - annoying to cross over with the lawnmower, I guess?
Are you familiar with any of these terms? What do you call them? Is there anything you say that others don't understand?

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