PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The long “A” in words like “mad,” “bad,” or the use of lingo like hoagie are the sweet sounds and unique pronunciation of the Philadelphia accent.
“Fugghedabout” other areas like New York City, what makes this region so special is how locals say words like “water” or “laugh” or rather “wooder” or “lai-gh.”
For better or worse, the Philly accent is changing and we can blame nonother than those millennials.
“Starting with people born in 1983, basically millennials, we’re seeing a bigger structural shift happening in Philly,” explains Betsy Sneller, a linguist.
Dr. Sneller, who conducted her research at the University of Pennsylvania, has studied the shifting nature of the Philly accent between quick runs to Wawa for an Italian hoagie of course.
She says experts are still unsure why the accent is changing but she knows where it’s happening.
“If you went to a special admissions non-Catholic high school, you’re on the very forefront of this change. You’re one of the early adopters,” Sneller says. “Your local Catholic high schools are going to be the last to show this change. That’s our holdout of the traditional Philly accent.”
And though the city is losing certain pronunciations of words such as “home,” “phone,” or “towel,” Sneller says you’ll always be able to tell when someone is a born and bred Philadelphian.
“And as time goes on, Philadelphians are going to make other additions and changes to the dialog is a distinct unit, it’ll just sound a little different,” Sneller adds.