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