Talk:Baltimore accent

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Talk:Baltimore dialect)
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Maryland / Baltimore  (Rated C-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Maryland, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of the U.S. state of Maryland on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by the Baltimore task force
WikiProject Languages (Rated C-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Languages, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of standardized, informative and easy-to-use resources about languages on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.

Movement to modify title of article.[edit]

I move that we change the article name from "Baltimorese" to "Baltimore dialect" in an attempt to establish a little more of a professional and formal "feel" to the page. I understand that the dialect is most often referred to as "Baltimorese", however, most other dialects have much more official sounding names. The page for "Pittsburghese" is entitled "Pittsburgh English" and then denotes in its opening line that it is "...popularly known as Pittsburghese..."[1]. I think the same should be written for the Baltimore dialect, as "Baltimorese" is more of a colloquialism than anything. Thoughts? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Oldlinestate (talkcontribs) 22:32, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
Expanding on this, why is it the Baltimore Dialect, Pittsburgh English, and a Boston Accent? Shouldn't we standardize all these articles to one term?DrSaturn (talk) 18:57, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

The #Recent page move -- should have waited for consensus section below happened after the comment to which you are responding, and apparently indicates that the name has changed and that there are numerous strong opinions on all sides. It was also (linked from later discussion) brought to a wider WP-project discussion, which did not have a specific answer other than that "systematic naming for its own sake" is poor and (as expected) we should use what other sources use if there is a consensus among them. Feel free to start a new discussion (WP talk-pages go chronologically, so it's purely luck that I happened to read this old section) to start a renaming proposal (see WP:RM for the current way to identify/format it). DMacks (talk) 19:12, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
Again the page was moved without consensus. If anything, the article could be folded with Philly into the MidAtlantic dialect, which is essentially the same in terms of phonology at least, or it could be Baltimore English. Whatever decision is taken, there will need to be a discussion first. mnewmanqc (talk) 01:33, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

Who speaks it?[edit]

It's probably worth noting that Bawlmerese is a dialect spoken almost exclusively by white people. Not sure where exactly in the article this should go. --Jfruh 02:48, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

Yeah, that rather changes the meaning given that Baltimore has an African-American majority population. Yeltensic42.618 03:29, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Hardly changes a thing. Baltimore is majority African-American, but that doesn't change the fact that this is a native Baltimore dialect. Agree it's spoken by white people mostly, and this fact has been added. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:29, 21 June 2007‎ (UTC)

I've lived in Maryland for 20 years, and now go to UMBC in Catonsville. I've never heard more than 3 or 4 people speak this way...? --A student— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:31, 12 May 2006‎ (UTC)

I guess you don't venture into the city, beside the Inner Harbor, or the clubs in Fells Point/Canton/Federal Hill that often, or have never talked to a longtime resident or someone who grew up in the city, espicially on the east side in Fells Point or Canton or Butchers Hill or Highlandtown. --Boothy443 | trácht ar 05:47, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
True, I've been almost every place in Baltimore there is to go, and I have heard some very deep Bawlmerese 16:30, 8 October 2006 (UTC) (Asinine HTML signature removed-- inappropriate)
The people who claim they've never heard it or hear it rarely clearly just aren't listening carefully enough or are so used to it that it doesn't phase them when they do hear it. I don't even live within city limits - I live south of the city in Severna Park and I can't go a single day without hearing at least 1 or 2 people with some twinge of the mid-atlantic sound. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:11, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
My mother grew up in NW Baltimore, and she and her sisters all speak Bawlmerese. Her family settled right at the heart of the present city in 1685 (where Bolton Hill is now), so I'm wondering if the origins of the accent are simply from rhotic West Country English. I have also heard it spoken, in a milder form, by people from Carroll and Frederick counties. One word I've often heard used by my family and on the street in Baltimore is "fritz," as in "Dat parking meter's onner fritz." That is, it's broken. It's possible the expression came from Pennsylvania Dutch, so I'm not sure if it counts as Bawlmerese. - Achariel, 13 January 2012 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:34, 13 January 2012 (UTC)


cole race beef samwish - cold roast beef sandwich

is this for real?— 23:43, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Yes. Even been to Baltimore? Not the tourist areas or suburbs?unsigned
now, i have heard about half of these words spoken like this as far out from Baltimore as bel air but i really do belive that about the other half of these are made up and/or borrowed from stereotypical Chicago-ian (is that a word? i really don't know) speech, and this cole race beef samwish thing is almost surely one of the made up ones -the me

The preceding unsigned comment was added by Fitser talk:Fitser|talk]]

While admittedly not as common as some of the others, like the "Downy Ocean" and "Droodle Pork", I have heard this one on occasion. I don't know if it's common enough to be included on the list, but it does occur sometimes. Mukkakukaku 9:35, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
I have added "payment" and Sweitzer cheese as inclusions of Baltimorese. Beeracuda 14:15, 26 May 2007 (UTC)
Payment, yes. But the cheese is not really an example that belongs here. You are absolutely right that it is an example of a term I personally have heard many times which could be specific to Baltimore (though I suspect it's common in a lot of places settled by German immigrants), but sorry, it isn't an example of pronunciation or dialect variation, and so doesn't belong here. 00:29, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

abouit the Bel air i dont think its that far out, im live in baltimore county and its barly spoken here exept for about 10 15 words(Esskater11 00:13, 12 July 2007 (UTC))

hairspray (musical) movie - 2007[edit]

In the recent film adaption of the Hairspray musical John Travolta plays Divine's old role of Tracy's mother. How's his Baltimore accent? Arthurian Legend 04:29, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

Doen'cha knoe, it's herrble, hon! He took a couple of aspects of things he's heard in Dundalk, along with places in Howard, Hartford, and Cecil counties, and came up with something that was grossly un-authentic. To his credit, he tried to do some sort of accent, unlike the rest of the cast who talked like they were from somewhere in the Midwest.Weyandt 19:49, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
Let's just say, he tried, but it was not good. It may have been that way in the 60's though, but I wouldn't know.Chic3z (talk) 15:18, 14 August 2013 (UTC)


its called "Balmereese" not "Baltimorese".— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:26, 2 August 2007‎ (UTC)

Perhaps you mean to say it's pronounced "Balmereese?"Toddstreat1 23:17, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

Moved unknown[edit]

Moved ungooglable *Brummy Warsher to talk. If notability established, move back. Toddstreat1 23:17, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

"Common examples, informally described"[edit]

The reasons I keep deleting the section now labeled "Common examples, informally described" are manifold:

  • 1. The section has no references.
  • 2. It's nothing but an unsystematic list of pseudo-phonetic respellings of mostly standard words; this is uninformative because pseudo-phonetic respellings are vague and mean different things to different people.
  • 3. It's POV and unencyclopedic: because it's a list of Baltimore pronunciations of common words, rather than Baltimore-specific words, there are no objective criteria for choosing what words to include or exclude. It's just an indiscriminate list.
  • 4. Even if it were possible to figure out from the respellings what pronunciation is meant to be conveyed, giving a list of Baltimore pronunciations of common words adds no information: the phonetic features of the Baltimore accent should be, and are, described elsewhere in the article.
  • 5. Many of the examples listed don't exhibit features of the Baltimore accent at all, but rather features common to the informal speech of every region of the United States.

Reason turns rancid: This kind of section does not appear on other dialect pages. Other dialect pages contain lists of words that are common in the dialect in question and rare outside it, such as "bubbler" and "frappe" for the Boston accent or "on line" for New York dialect. This is not such a list. AJD 04:41, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

  • Understandable. Upon further review of some of the other American dialect articles, I'm inclined to agree with your standpoint. Perhaps a hefty trimming of the list to reflect those words which used solely by the target group. Being a native to the area, I'll give them all a review, as it was turned into a list more for humour than reference. I'll peruse them at my next convenience. Reason turns rancid 16:53, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Ajd's concerns strike me as overly pedantic. The word list is meant to be illustrative, not scholarly. It serves a useful purpose, and I really believe that most people would be able to do a pretty good job with the pronunciation even if it is "pseudo-phonetic." Consider the tourist who comes to town and asks how to find the Zoo. "Droodle Park," he hears. What on earth could that mean? But Wikipedia has the answer. At least it does now. Purplephlogiston 02:37, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

  • Wikipedia has a policy of using IPA for giving pronunciations. Also, Wikipedia has a citation reference policy for supporting claims. Both would argue in favor of at least severely paring down the section on local words if not eliminating it as Ajd has done. It makes sense that dialect articles all follow the same template.
  • I think it is fair to admit that the policies do have the disadvantage of making it harder for those with no background in dialect study to use Wikipedia in the way Purplephloiston describes. Still the consequences of violating them are even worse, particularly with language. The specific problem is that because everyone uses language, they tend to think they know more about it than they really do. There is a whole subfield of study (Led by Dennis Preston of Michigan State) on popular though often innaccurate beliefs about language that are held by speakers. In a similar way, impressionistic (aka pseudophonetic) spellings tend to be clearer to writers than readers. If someone writes "ay" in an impressionistic spelling, do they mean [eɪ] (as in "say} or [aɪ] as in "buy" . After all, how do you indicate the sound [aɪ] impressionistically? It's not always clear.
  • Contributing on linguistics is not the same as writing up the history of a school, describing a band, or providing information on a style of pottery. It requires a considerable of technical knowledge to do usefully. I'm not claiming that you have to have a doctorate to have something useful to say on the matter of Baltimore dialect, but I do think you have to do your homework; the equivalent of, say, an upper level undergraduate term paper and then be prepared for someone who may have a doctorate to make some corrections. In the end, I'll come down on the side of pedantry over innacuracy and uninformed enthusiasm.mnewmanqc 17:42, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

Unless there is some reasonable objection, I'll delete the section in question in a couple of days. mnewmanqc 12:31, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

  • Such a loss. The Gods of scholarship have perhaps been served (though I question it), but the common man is diminished. Surely there could be some uniquely Baltimorese terms worthy of your blessing? Purplephlogiston 19:33, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

Those terms are all in a linked webpage. Why not just point people there a bit more explicitly? As for gods, well they are very demanding. Just be glad we don't have to deal with the Aztec Sun God who had an appetite for human hearts. mnewmanqc 00:26, 4 September 2007 (UTC)


In my latest addition I just assumed the correctness of the claims and gave IPA equivalents. However, I'm not thrilled with it because not much here is referenced, but as far as I know there is little out there specifically on Baltimore dialect. What I've read says it's very similar to Phila. However, that is not always reflected in the phonetics section. For example, it says /l/ is dark or vocalized, whereas the Phila /l/ is often vocalized, but when consonantal in onsets position can be quite clear. Also, some of the neutralizations discussed in the monophthongizations seem unlikely to me. They may be right, but I'd like some confirmation. mnewmanqc (talk) 13:59, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

This article is getting much better, but it can't have citations (confirmation), because there is no scholarly study of the Baltimorean Dialect. There is a linguist at Carnegie-Mellon U. that has studied Pittsburghese, and there is a linguist at the Univ. of Penn. that has studied Philadelphia-ese. I have queried both linguists, and neither knows of any scholary study of Baltimorese. As such, what is in here is technically original research. As for informal confirmation, as the article maintains that Dundalk Baltimorese is the "official" Baltimorese, Dundalk-ians don't say "wooder." I'll add that the "Northern Baltimore" accent is a little different from the "Southern Baltimore" accent, but I can't specifically state how. I can only reference it with what I've heard, and by the toungue-lashing that I got from a Northern Baltimore resident who I commented that she had a "Dundalk Accent," and she snapped back, "Doen'cha knoe dat North Ballimer folks doen't talk like folks from Dundawk!"Weyandt (talk) 02:03, 6 February 2010 (UTC)
There is the ANAE data as well as earlier traditional dialect studies. There may be a few other things. Who did you speak to at Penn? However, there's very little. A lot of stuff here is original research. mnewmanqc (talk) 18:49, 6 February 2010 (UTC)
Dr. Barbara Johnstone of CMU is the linguist that has studied Pittsburghese. She is a very nice lady, and can be contacted at She actually did a little digging, and came to the same conclusion that I had that there is no official scholarly work studying the Baltimore Dialect. She also gave me the contact to the Philadelphia-ese linguist at Penn (I think his name is William Labov, the Director of the Lingustics Lab at Penn), who while responded to my query, he simply responded that he didn't know of any work on the subject. I think there might be a paper or two here for the interested and industrious linguist....!"Weyandt (talk) 15:52 12 February 2010

Philadelphia? Try the Appalachians[edit]

I admit to not being familiar with the Philadelphia accent, but I think the dialect under discussion here as much more in common with accents from the Appalachians -- not surprising, as many of Baltimore's working class whites came from there to work the mills. I recently heard W. Virginia Governor Joe Manchin (a W.Va. native) on the radio, and he sounded like he could have been from Hampden. There are also similarities to the Pittsburg-area dialect (though there are differences as well). --Jfruh (talk) 20:53, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

Let me get this straight; you don't know about the Philadelphia accent, but despite not knowing about it, you know that it doesn't sound like the Baltimore accent.
Fair enough, I guess I don't know. But I do know that the Baltimore accent has pretty strong affinities to the accents in Appalachia, and it seems odd to see Philly mentioned and not Pittsburgh or W. Va. --Jfruh (talk) 06:05, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
All the research, as cited, says they're essentially the same. Evidently, there are some similarities with other neighboring varieties. mnewmanqc (talk) 13:55, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
Well, Pittsburgh, Appalachia, Philadelphia, and Baltimore all have /oʊ/ fronting, so maybe that's what you're hearing. It seems to me that the /oʊ/ fronting in Baltimore takes the first mora of the diphthong further to the front of the mouth than in the other places, but I could be wrong on that. Appalachia has way more /aɪ/ monophthongization than the other three places, e.g., nahs waht rahs [naːs waːt ɹaːs] for "nice white rice." In fact, it has some of the highest rates of /aɪ/ monophthongization in the country I reckon. Pittsburgh has some /aɪ/ monophthongization before resonants (sonorants), e.g., tahl (maybe even tahw as a result of l-vocalization) [taːɫ~taːw] for "tile" (or "towel" because of the famous /aʊ/ monophthongization) or tahr [taːɹ] for "tire." However, it seems that neither Baltimore nor Philly has much, if any, /aɪ/ monophthongization.

Recent page move -- should have waited for consensus[edit]

There ought to be a more concrete reason to move a page than just that the new title sounds "more formal". Wikipedia's article titles should reflect the terms people actually use, not invent ones that sound better or more official to us. Does anyone actually use the phrase "Baltimore dialect" to describe the local accent? "Baltimorese" is a much more common phrase. --Jfruh (talk) 10:58, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

I agree that there should have been more discussion before the actual move. However, I think it makes sense to try to make all these pages uniform and professional sounding. That said, I'm a bit confused as to why the term chosen was Baltimore Dialect rather than Baltimore English if the model was Pittsburgh. In fact, I'm noting a tendency to use the form PLACENAME English for geographic descriptions of American English. The term is more open multiracial variation within a geographic region and doesn't fall into possible fallacies of associating a one-to-one correspondence of a dialect with geographic divisions when for example the argument could be made that Philly and Baltimore really are one system (I'm not saying I necessarily agree with that, but it is debatable) rather than two distinct dialects. My own suggestion is that Baltimore be moved to Baltimore English and then I'll propose the same for New York, the other local dialect page I'm following. Let's see if we can't at least approach a consensus here.mnewmanqc (talk) 01:59, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

My apologies, I didn't see this discussion happening at the bottom of the page. I moved my discussion piece (the proposal to modify the page name) to the TOP of the discussion page so people would see it - I was only checking that and thought no one was really paying attention. With that said - I recognize that the Baltimore dialect is most often referred to, lovingly of course, as "Baltimorese", but as I said - I think this is more of a colloquialism that people use, rather than an official name. The article itself can still reflect the terms people actually use by specifying in the text that this local speech is most often referred to as "Baltimorese", but that name does not align itself in a professional context at all. I'm all for writing Baltimore English as opposed to Baltimore dialect. Pittsburgh and Boston both uses "PLACENAME English" format, while New York and Philly use the "PLACENAME dialect" format. It honestly does not matter to me. Again, I apologize for changing it without hearing consensus, I thought no one was responding! :-/ That is my fault. Mnewmanqc, can you clarify your reasoning for the "PLACENAME English" format being more appropriate. I think I understand what you are trying to say, but I'm not quite sure.

It's just that I noticed a tendency in discussions among sociolinguists to use PLACENAME English rather than the more traditional PLACENAME Dialect in for example NYC. (See for example Kara Becker's work) This makes sense for two reasons. One is that there may be non-English varieties emerging in some places, like Ricardo Otheguy and colleagues' work on New York City Spanish. Another is that the term dialect implies a single organized dialectal system of some kind, i.e., a single speech community. This is not necessarily the case, but more of a hypothesis. Finally, the notion of a single named dialect tends to exclude the non-European American varieties. By contrast, writing Baltimore English would allow entries on inter-racial variation. Any thoughts? mnewmanqc (talk) 15:37, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
I guess my largest problem is that, unless we actually have citations that call it "Baltimore English" or "Baltimore dialect," we shouldn't use that as a title. Wikipedia's goal is to reflect the world of knowledge as it is. It doesn't really matter if the name Baltimorese "does not align itself in a professional context" if that's what people call it. Now, if you can find professional linguists who discuss Baltimore's dialect as "Baltimore English" or whatever, then by all means that would be a fine name for the article. But if nobody calls it that in the real world, then we shouldn't call it that here, it seems to me -- we'd be creating a categorization scheme that currently doesn't exist, which isn't what Wikipedia is supposed to do.
On the note of "allow entries on inter-racial variation" -- I'm not a professional linguist, but my understanding is that the dialect described in this article is almost entirely one used by whites (and working-class whites of several generations of residence in the region at that). There are almost certainly African-American dialects unique to the region, but my guess is that they would be entirely distinct, and it seems silly to lump them together in the same article. --Jfruh (talk) 22:16, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
At this point, my feeling is no consensus, no move. I am not aware of any recent studies on Baltimore English (as I will call it to be consistent), although there may very well be some. I think, on the other hand, that it does make sense to organize these pages in terms of the varieties of English spoken in a particular area rather than a single supposed dialect. However, this is a discussion that should take place in the general language forum, not here.mnewmanqc (talk) 13:16, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
I'm really not in support of calling the article whatever is deemed most popular or used most, in this case being, "Baltimorese" - I still believe that that is something to be mentioned and noted ONLY in the context of the article. As for what Wikipedia is "supposed to do", I agree that information should never be simply made up, but it also should not be guided by ideas based upon what everybody says - that is potentially uneducated and ignorant. The term "Baltimorese" is most often heard, but it is not the only name for the local dialect and certainly not the most formal. For example, one hardly EVER uses the term "Southern American English" when referring to a southern accent, but it is much more effective in reflecting a concrete idea and can be taken more seriously. Pittsburgh has the very same dilemma - nearly everyone, in casual conversation, will refer to it as Pittsburghese - it's funny, it's catchy, etc., but it is much more formally referred to as "Pittsburgh English" or "Pittsburgh dialect". And even if we were going to name this article after what everyone calls it, that's FAR more subjective than you might think. I've heard everything from "Baltimorese" to "Baltimore speak" to "Maryland accent" - I think it is rather unfair to call it by one of its nicknames; it is better just to settle on something neutral and generic. As for the inter-racial variation remark, it is a fact that this is almost exclusively spoken by caucasians in the Greater Baltimore area - and therefore does not need to concern itself with matters of race. Remember, the term "Baltimore dialect" or "Baltimorese" does NOT mean that EVERYONE in and only in Baltimore talks like this - it simply states it is the dialect that originated in that area. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Oldlinestate (talkcontribs) 09:12, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
I have no objection to changing the name to something more professional-sounding. But if you're going to change it to something, it should be a name that exists and is used in the real world. That is my point. If you're just changing the title to something that fits a scheme of yours, then you're just making things up, or at best imitating academic practice. By all means find some academic treatment that uses a different name. But Wikipedia shouldn't just be making up names because they "sound better." --Jfruh (talk) 12:09, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
We have to keep in mind that this is not an article created for the amusement or appeasement exclusively for the residents of Maryland/Baltimore. The term "Baltimorese" may be fine for those of us who live here, but I believe that because we are discussing a dialect of American English that originated in Baltimore, the terms “Baltimore English” or “Baltimore Dialect” are much more universally understood. In addition, being that it is the dialect of English from Baltimore, the aforementioned terms inherently exist "in the real world" and are far from just "made up". It is not only offensive but also ignorant that you would, for the sake of your own argument, accuse someone of fabricating those terms. I think it is very important to note that "Baltimorese" is a very popular term used by locals and is the name for the local dialect - it should never be left out of this article, but it is not a title that efficiently represents what the article is about. --oldlinestate 19:10, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
I apologize -- I did not intend to accuse you of acting in bad faith, and perhaps "made up" wasn't the best choice of words on my part. I certainly don't think you "fabricated" them, in the sense that you were the first person to use them. I'm apparently not making myself entirely clear.
Obviously "Baltimore dialect" is a recognizable phrase in English -- I wouldn't argue against that. My argument here is about the naming conventions for Wikipedia articles. Basically, Wikipedia articles should be named after proper nouns, rather than common nouns, if possible. My argument is that "Baltimore dialect" is a common noun phrase -- "Oh, that's the dialect they use in Baltimore." Even if it sounds "more scientific" to our ear, isn't a name per se -- it's just a description. "Baltimorese," for all its colloquialism, is a name. It's a proper noun. You can (and this is of utmost importance for Wikipedia) find citations outside of Wikipedia referring to it. That's what I mean by "in the real world." Wikipedia is not a place where people do their own research, or where they create or categorize knowledge. It's a place where we reflect the state of knowledge outside of Wikipedia, even if that knowledge is not organized as neatly as might be ideal.
Now, since this is an article about linguistics, if there are professional linguists who use "Baltimore English" or the like, then their usage should probably take precedence over a colloquial phrase. But what I keep trying to say is that we should be using the terms developed by linguists because they are the subject matter experts in this area, not because those terms sound more scientific or something (which is after all a subjective judgment on our parts). You say:
One hardly EVER uses the term "Southern American English" when referring to a southern accent, but it is much more effective in reflecting a concrete idea and can be taken more seriously.
Wikipedia uses "Southern American English" as a title not becuase it sounds better or sounds more official, but because you can easily find hundreds of papers by experts on languages and dialects that use that term. Do you follow me?
Again, I apologize for any offense I may have given. I do not doubt your sincerety in this matter -- I just think that you're missing one of the subtler points of how things get named, or ought to get named, on Wikipedia. --Jfruh (talk) 12:08, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Well I really do appreciate the apology - I really was not just making up those terms. I have heard them and also used them effectively in my lifetime and I apologize if I came off a little bit terse in my last message. I understand the point you are making, but an issue we're going to find is that there honestly isn't that much research on the dialect to begin with. And whenever there is, it is either...
A. Personal research or
B. Research done on the mid-atlantic dialect as a whole that states differences among the cities, never using "Baltimorese" or "Baltimore dialect", just "Baltimore". (for example, the article linked to our page)
So I say we e-mail William Labov up at UPenn who does all the studies on Philly speak and ask him what would should call it. :-) I believe, on the whole, the term "Baltimorese" should never be used as the official title - on Wikipedia, in books, in academic practice, etc. I still hold my position that we should call it Baltimore dialect, so I will look around today and see if I can find some books. Anyway, good discussions, keep me posted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Oldlinestate (talkcontribs) 17:14, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
You can e-mail him actually. He may respond or may not, but that wouldn't change anything. I don't know of any work that specifically deals with the specific English of the Baltimore area. As was noted above, it's all about the Mid-Atlantic. I don't have a copy of the Atlas of NA English, but I suspect that there isn't enough of a difference in the area to merit a separate dialect entry. But more importantly, I don't think there are any dialectologists or variationist sociolinguists working on the city or metro area. There's no doubt more on Smith Island that Baltimore. mnewmanqc (talk) 02:17, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

I brought the question to the WikiProject Languages page Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Languages#US_English_Dialect_Page_Titles. Let's see what people there say.mnewmanqc (talk) 19:33, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

Dental coronal consonants?[edit]

Where is the assertion about dental /d/ from? As far as I am aware, these have only been reported for NYC English as in Hubbell (1950), who says that they're not true dentals but dentalized alveolars. The editor who added it has no personal page. There are other contributions with little or no references on this page, but they seem more anecdotal than this. Also, why /d/s and not /t/s, /s/s, or /n/s? mnewmanqc (talk) 11:17, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

While I haven't deleted the above from the article, it is INACCURATE, and should be deleted. Baltimoreans do NOT substitute d's for dental fricatives (or t's, etc.). Being from western PA, this is more of a Pittsburgh English feature, e.g., referring to the Cincinnati Bengals as "Da Bungles," but only by the late Myron Cope and those doing an impression of him; it is not a consistent feature of Pittsburgh English. As a matter of fact, someone saying "Da Yanks" is how (native) Yankees fans are instantly recognized as non-Baltimore residents when the come to Camden Yards (well, that and not cheering in an exaggeratedly fronted "EEAAAAAH" during the singing the "Oh!" of the Star Spangled Banner (Oh, say does that Star Spangled banner yet wave).Weyandt (talk) 13:50, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure if I truly understand what you are saying, but if by replacing D's for T's you mean as in Baldamore for Baltimore or dat for that, many areas in the city talk like this. That actually would be accurate.Chic3z (talk) 15:04, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

Willy Wonka?[edit]

Where did the information come from to say Johnny Depp used a Baltimore accent in Willy Wonka? Can't seem to find this anywhere, and I wonder if this is even true. Jclingerman (talk) 14:31, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

I thought this was strange as well. I wouldn't have identified what Johnny Depp was trying to do as Baltimore English, but it could have been a bad attempt at it. I did a little digging, and I don't think that's what Mr. Depp was attempting. Consider that Raold Dahl was British, and there is no mention of Baltimore in any back-story of Willy Wonka. Mr. Depp was going for a damaged, emotionally immature Willy Wonka, so I think he was trying to make the character sound baby-ish. If someone wantt to research it further, I would recommend it. Having said that, I think there's enough evidence to suggest that Mr. Depp was not trying to imitate a Baltimore accent for Willy Wonka, and the reference should be deleted.Weyandt (talk) 14:55, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
Strange indeed. That was one of the silliest accents in film history in my opinion. He is a great performer/transformer, so I hope he was not attempting to imitate Baltimore's accent (which in itself has 2-3 distinct accents). He did a great accent, but it would have been a poor Baltimore accent. I will erase that sentence because there is not one source to back it up. If someone can find one, by all means, add it.Chic3z (talk) 14:48, 14 August 2013 (UTC)


How does one show the regionalism in the different pronunciation of the word radiator. We're from Ohio where the word is ray-de-a-tor, as it's pronounced through much of the Midwest. But here in Baltimore, they pronounce it with a long "A", with the t's in the first syllable taking on a "d" sound: raddy-ate-her. And we've noticed this through class distinction, and Baltimore natives will tell you that their pronunciation is unique. Go to Washington DC and its the Ohio pronunciation. Sjkoblentz (talk) 00:14, 13 October 2012 (UTC)

Interesting question, but I have some difficulty deciphering your phonetic respellings. If i could I'd ask on the American Dialect Society list (which you'll have to join first) if you want to do it, or just clarify it here.
I found this which claims that the pronunciation in north Jersey is 'RAHD-ee-ay-tor'. which in IPA would normally be [ˈrɑɾiˌeɾə˞] because ah in phonetic respellinɡ is typically the vowel in palm. However, I think they must mean [ˈræɾiˌeɾə˞] with the vowel in cat because that's what I sometimes heard as a kid growing up in NYC. The IPA symbol [ɾ] represents the sound of the t or the d in metal or medal, which is the same.mnewmanqc (talk) 01:54, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
While I have heard a short a in "radiator" around Baltimore, it has been very infrequent. Check with Labov; I've heard it more frequently in Pennsylvania--Philadelphia, Central PA, and Pittsburgh--than in Baltimore. What I've heard could be as a result from infringing Philadelphia or Pittsburgh English. A quick search of the humorous Bawlmerese websites does not list "raadiator." A humorous Pittsburgh-ese website ( does list it. Again, check with Labov, but I don't think that radiator with a short a is a part of Baltimore English.Weyandt (talk) 14:55, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
Why can't Wikipedia post sound files to hear these accents and dialects? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:09, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
I'm from Baltimore and I personally pronounce it sometimes as "ready-aider" or sometimes as "ray-de-a-der", depending on speech speed.Chic3z (talk) 15:13, 14 August 2013 (UTC)

Use of name Babe[edit]

I was surprised, dismayed to not see any reference to the common use of calling someone "Babe". It was specially used between men who wanted to admire a person by comparing him to Babe Ruth, a Baltimore hero. Anyone called Babe was considered a 'home run hitter' a champion in the speaker's eyes. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:16, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

Factual Accuracy - speakers[edit]

Each of the citations in the Notable Speakers sections that I checked failed verification. The citations just say that they're from Baltimore. Just because someone lived in or grew up in Baltimore doesn't mean they speak with a Baltimore accent. On Wikipedia, that's called WP:SYN and is not cool. Please be sure to use citations that show they have the accent. The Dissident Aggressor 14:47, 9 March 2015 (UTC)


I watched a documentary recently and heard a noticeable feature among the Baltimore speakers depicted: a dipthongization or fronting of [u] (I can't quite tell which it is). I can't link to YouTube from here, but if you look up the trailer for Step there's a passage at about 1m33s that has a good example: I have like two people inside of me ... One is unstoppable and can do anything... . This pronunciation is exhibited by several different people in the film. This blog post says it's a pretty common feature among Black and White speakers alike, although I don't see u-fronting mentioned in this article. Ibadibam (talk) 22:40, 31 August 2017 (UTC)