Idaho Has an Accent?

I spent my entire childhood in the 2T. I didn’t live outside of Idaho until I was well into my 20s, when I spent almost a year in the Chicago area. I suppose that means I grew up with an “Idaho accent.”

800px-Windenergy

It also probably explains why I have recurring dreams about wind.
Image credit: Wagner Christian

I personally don’t think the Idaho accent is much of an accent at all. For what it’s worth, corporate America seems to agree. Purportedly they¬†base call centers in Boise and other cities in the region because of our friendly, “neutral” speech mannerisms.

That said, I’ve always been intrigued by the differing accents and dialects in the English-speaking world. Indeed, there are obvious differences in accent between the 2T and places like Chicago and Philadelphia, both of which I lived in at one point. I lived in Las Vegas too, but I didn’t notice much of a difference there.

During my time out of state I began to pick up on several different accents I wasn’t exposed to as a kid, notably the Boston and Long Island varieties. In my estimation the Philadelphia accent wasn’t as “strong” as those, but it was stronger than the accent heard in, say, Washington, D.C. As I noted when I lived in Philadelphia, it seemed like the further northeast one went up, the thicker and more unintelligible the accents became.

nordlogo

Until one eventually hit Francophone Quebec.

Earlier today I came across a terribly interesting site created by linguist Rick Aschmann. Aschmann has exhaustively researched and mapped the various English accents and dialects spoken in the United States and Canada. It’s an impressive work. Unfortunately, like many other works of a national or continental scope, it’s a bit lacking when it comes to Idaho-specific material.

Mike_Crapo_Official_Photo_110th_Congress

A Mike Crapo speech sample? C’mon, people, we can do better than that!

Now I could sit here and complain about it, because that makes for good blogging material. However, I could also do something about it, which … makes for good blogging material. On his site Aschmann asks for voice samples from native American and Canadian English speakers like me who spent most or all of their childhoods in a particular place. I was happy to oblige, especially since the ever-so-slight Chicago and Philadelphia accents I used to have are long gone.

Naturally, I pointedly informed him there is no “Z” in “Boise.” I’d be horribly remiss if I produced something like this and failed to do so.

I also read him a bedtime story. You’ll probably fall asleep too.

This turned out to be a fun afternoon project. I encourage others to try it as well.

Advertisements

A Strange Sobriquet

I’m a bit rushed this morning. My daughter is in town and we’re fired up to go to breakfast. However, I want to make sure to take care of my loyal readers before the day gets too crazy. You’re welcome.

As you’ve probably noticed by now, I refer to my daughter a lot here. Indeed, it’s getting to the point where constantly referring to her as “my daughter” is becoming cumbersome. For a variety of reasons I don’t want to refer to her by her real name on a silly-ass WordPress site. I also don’t want to refer to her by the nickname I gave her when she was a baby. The former for obvious reasons, and the latter because she doesn’t want that disclosed to the general public. It’s nothing bad, she’s just kind of sensitive about that. Consider it our personal shibboleth.

So, the time has come to update the glossary and bestow a pithy pseudonym for her. So being my adorable eight-year-old daughter, naturally she wants to be named after her favorite cartoon character:

drweird

What? You were expecting My Little Pony or something?

Now, since the whole point of this exercise is to agree on something less awkward than “my daughter,” replacing that with “Dr. Weird” really doesn’t accomplish the goal. Left with this quandary I was forced to get creative. With that I turned to my old friend Google Translate.

160px-1977_CPA_4774(Cutted)

Now with 30 percent less stagnation!

I ran the word “weird” through its various translations. The best one came from everyone’s favorite language isolate, Basque. This fits pretty well. I have a Basque uncle. Idaho in general has a pretty strong Basque influence. So the Basque word for “weird” it is.

Flag_of_the_Basque_Country.svg

NOTE: Not a Union Jack for the colorblind.

Oh yeah, according to Google Translate the Basque word for “weird” is “bitxi.” So from this point forward on SB she’s Bitxi. Hopefully that doesn’t have some horrific double meaning or something. If it does please let me know.

Anyway, bacon is a-calling. Agur oraingoz, y’all.