PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Could a distinct Philly accent hinder one’s career advancement?
In a few cities, like New York, some employees with regional accents are working on getting rid of them to get or keep a job, primarily in the corporate world.
That may be happening there but it is not really the case in Philadelphia, according to William Labov, a professor in the linguistics department at the University of Pennsylvania.
“That tendency, which is almost hysterical in New York City, is very mild in Philadelphia,” he said. “Many lawyers, doctors, and professors will have a very strong Philadelphia accent and it’s not a handicap to them.”
Labov also says Philadelphians are proud of how they speak:
“Philadelphia speech moves in its own direction and has its own logic. It’s wonderful to watch it develop over time. People are not ashamed of it and use it to express themselves very clearly and powerfully in ways that make us very happy to hear it.”
Joey Grosso of South Philadelphia agrees:
“It’s the Italian South Philly accent a lot of people have. I’ll be honest with you, if a job don’t accept me for me, this is the way I am. I speak with an accent — you know what I mean? Boston has their accent, New York has their accent, and South Philly got their accent.”
Is he proud of his South Philly accent?
“I’m very proud of it!”
Reported by John McDevitt, KYW Newsradio 1060.