Ugly Accent? What Ugly Accent??

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SCRANTON -- If you're a native of Scranton, you know there's a special flair that only Scrantonians have with the English language.

Now, the quintessential "Scranton accent" is getting national attention. It's in the running for America's Ugliest Accent in an internet voting contest.

It may not sound complimentary, but some folks don't mind all the attention.

We know what they are: the special things we say that make us sound Scrantonian, "Coal Region speak" as it's sometimes called.

We struggle pronouncing our "th's." The letter "h" is a whole other dilemma.

It may not sound pretty, but it's the way we talk. Some Scrantonians we talked to say, even though we're in the running for the nation's ugliest accent, that may still be a point of pride.

If you follow NCAA basketball, you know a 2 seed in the national tournament is not too shabby. Scranton is a 2 seed in a different kind of tournament: Gawker.com's contest for "America's Ugliest Accent."

To investigate this contest's validity, we went to the belly of the beast: a local hot spot where you can grab "a couple two, tree hoddogs," Keystone Restaurant on North Main Avenue in West Scranton.

"Hoddogs!"

What other things do we say that are uniquely Scranton?

We got some perspective from a solid sample of Scrantonians: Jay, Tony, and "Mango." He told us that no one in his Westside neighborhood would know his real name.

"We made the list out of all the people. It's got to be pride. You got to take a little pride in it."

Scranton is by far the smallest city in the ugliest accent tournament. We face much bigger cities like Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

Even in our failings, we make a big impression.

But at the Keystone, customers don't hear anything wrong with the way we speak.

"My wife is always correcting when I say 'fil um.' She says, 'Honey, it's film,' but that's the way we do it, what are you going to do?" asked Jay Berardelli.

Scrantonians think their accent is a melting pot of all the ethnicities that immigrated here. Some might think it's ugly, but it's theirs.

"If you can't laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?"

These guys certainly had us laughing, and they won't think anything of it tomorrow when they meet here for their morning coffee.

"Coffee? No, it's 'cah-fee!' Down in Old Forge, they says, 'Bounce da bahl off da wahl,' but we don't talk like that up here," they laughed.

The contest is going on at gawker.com.

The voting goes in rounds. In the first round earlier this week, Scranton beat out New Orleans by a landslide.

11 comments

  • Native Heynah

    Yuse people are fer dah birds! Go up the Eynon fer some hoddogs and a couple-a-two-tree samiches. When yer done there, go over the mall fer some tings yuse might need fer your house next to the crick.

  • Heron

    “I’ll say fil-um” and she says, “honey, it’s fil-um”.

    He’s so set in his ways, he couldn’t say film when he tried lol. I love it!

  • Matt

    Being born and raised a few miles from Boston and living there until I was teen I have been called out for my accent since the day I moved to NEPA. After living in NEPA for 25 years my way of speaking has become a mixture of both regions. Its no longer a sub but a hoagie and the tonic I drank with my sub became soda. I don’t drink from a bubbler any more but from a water fountain. I love my Boston talk and my PA talk. In my line of work I talk to people from all 50 state and I love the different accents from around the country. I would never call an accent ugly but I would call them beautiful because they are. Its a queue to strike up conversation with strangers and to learn about people and our differences from where we are and where we came from.

  • DarthPickles

    As a transplant, I’ll pronounce it “T’roop” when they start spelling it “T’roop.” (Getting directions around here isn’t easy, especially when it involves the Throop exit.)

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