“Wait, what did you just say?”

The accent phenomenon

By on September 9, 2014

“Guys, my professor swore in class today. It was wicked funny.”

“Oh yeah Abby? It was wicked funny? Like, wicked, wicked funny?”

Such has become an increasingly typical conversation between my new friends and I in our short two weeks here at Quinnipiac. “Wicked” seems to be my term, the one I’m most often made fun of for its ridiculous abundance in my vocabulary. Where I’m from – Goffstown, NH – the combinations are endless: something can be wicked awesome, wicked gross, wicked awful. Apparently, it’s not wicked common to say it around here, hence the giggling that ensues from my friends every time it slips out.

Yet it appears as though I’m not alone in my semi-unique style of speaking. As a freshman, it seems like meeting new people has become as much of a mainstream activity as brushing our teeth. It’s something we do all the time now, and with meeting, of course, comes speaking. The way we speak is often indicative of where we’re from. It identifies us, unites us with other people – “You say wicked, too?!” – and makes us feel at home in our new college territory.

More often, though, it sets us apart and makes speaking to each other an experience all its own. A large percentage of freshmen are actually from Connecticut, and many of those who aren’t are fairly clustered in the surrounding few states. Yet freshman Erin Kane of Higganum points out that “even though we’re from the same area, we speak differently.” We refer to Dunkin Donuts, for example, in a lengthy list of nicknames. Freshman Lynn Aureli of central Connecticut stops at a simple “Dunkin.” Freshman Angela DiLiegro and fellow New Hampshirite, fondly shares my habit of calling it “Dunks,” while freshman Bonnie Skinner of Canton, Mass. says she and her friends back home say “Double D’s.”

Certain words are almost humorous in their different pronunciations. Freshman Kristen Jajko calls Wayne, N.J. her home and says she wants a glass of “wudder.” Her friend, Brandon Green of Plymouth, Mass. says he’s going to study in his “rum.” Freshman Jamie Termotto is most adamant about her correctness in pronunciation. In her thick Smithtown, N.Y. accent, she insists that “if you think dog rhymes with log, you’re wrong.”

Wherever you’re from and wherever you’ve been, there’s bound to be an originality in the way people speak. Even the slightest pronunciation differences set us freshmen apart and make talking to each other a lot more interesting. So as you adopt the dialect of your roommate or let some new lingo slip in when visiting home, laugh and realize we’re all doing it. And you know? I think that’s wicked cool.

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