Philadelphia, PA - One of the most common questions from tourists and residents of Philadelphia is, "Where does Philadelphia get its accent from?" There are many theories about Philadelphia's distinctive speech, but one is based on linguistics.
The Philly Accent - There's A Lot Youse Don't Know About It.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania studied Philadelphia accents for over a century, analyzing how residents speak. In Philadelphia, the r-sound never drops. Consequently, Philadelphians' speech has a thick r-sound, reminiscent of Philadelphia English.
The origins of the Philadelphia accent are unknown, but a few keywords give a good indication. First, the 'o' in 'cat' is not pronounced like a typical Southern vowel. This is because 'cat' has no 'o'. Second, the 'o' in 'Philadelphia' is not as thick as in other areas.
Third, the accent of Philadelphia is characterized by a complex blend of vowels, which are pronounced differently depending on their context. Generally, a Philadelphia accent is similar to that of other Northern dialects.
Lastly, Philadelphia's dialect has many Britishisms distinct from those of other regions. Among them is the pronunciation of Erin, Aaron, and Merry. While they do not have r-sounds, "merry" and " bury " are pronounced differently. These accents were influenced by the area's ethnic composition. Similarly, the 'female' has distinct pronunciations.