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Bawlmerese. Sarah Knapp Katie Fanning. Linguistic Map of the Continental United States. What is a dialect?. Etymology- The English word dialect comes from the Middle French dialecte, from the Latin dialectus, from the Greek dialektos ‘conversation.’

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Sarah Knapp

Katie Fanning

what is a dialect
What is a dialect?
  • Etymology- The English word dialect comes from the Middle French dialecte, from the Latin dialectus, from the Greek dialektos ‘conversation.’
  • A dialect is a ‘regional variety of language distinguished by features of vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation from other regional varieties and constituting together a single language’
the dialect
The Dialect
  • Baltimorese (also Bawlmerese, Ballimerese) is a dialect of American English centered around the city of Baltimore, MD.
  • Baltimorese is a white, blue-collar dialect, originating among the working class of Baltimore.
  • This dialect is largely found in the Southern areas of the city and the surrounding counties, though it may also be heard in Northern Baltimore and other parts of Maryland.
  • Baltimorese occurs at the junction of the coastal Southern and Midland dialect corridors.
  • The proper name for the dialect is Upper Chesapeake Adenoidal.
influences on baltimorese
Influences on Baltimorese
  • Southern United States dialect, specifically West Virginian and Deep Southern. This is due to the Northern migration that took place during and directly following the Great Depression.
  • The origins of working class mid-Atlantic speech can be traced back to Cockneys of London.
    • The dropping of initial vowels and consonants has its origin in Cockney English. Thus, especially becomes ‘speshly and emergency becomes ‘mergency.
  • German and Italian immigrants also provided strong influences.
general trends in dialects of american english
General Trends in Dialects of American English
  • Northern dialects are less unified than Southern dialects. This may be largely attributed to the higher rates of immigration in Northern cities.
  • Elision is common in Northern dialects.
    • Maryland becomes ‘Murlin’
  • Extended vowel sounds are common in Southern dialects.
    • More becomes ‘mooer’
    • Door becomes ‘dooer’
pronunciation of baltimorese
Pronunciation of Baltimorese
  • Baltimorese is one of only two rhotic dialects (the other being Philadelphia English) of American English. In a rhotic language the ‘r’ following a vowel is pronounced.
  • Elision is strikingly common.
  • Baltimorese is epenthetic (the notorious ‘r’ in wash). This feature originates in the Northern dialects, though much of Baltimorese is Southern in origin, notably the long vowels.
  • The ‘l’ sound is vocalized or swallowed, reminiscent of a ‘w’ sound.
    • Pool and wolf
elision in baltimorese
Elision in Baltimorese
  • Elision is the removal of a speech sound for ease of pronunciation.

Examples include:

    • ‘T’s become ‘d’s or disappear entirely- Baltimore becomes ‘Ballimer’
      • Dat and dere instead of that and there
    • Unstressed vowels are eliminated- Annapolis becomes ‘napliss’
    • Orange juice becomes ‘arnjuice’
    • Forehead becomes ‘far’ed’
vowel sounds
Vowel Sounds
  • The long ‘a’ sound becomes a long ‘e’
    • Bared becomes ‘beerd’
  • The ‘ai’ sound becomes ‘a’ before ‘r’
    • Fire is pronounced ‘far’
  • The long ‘i,’ ‘oi’ and ‘ow’ becomes ‘aw’
    • Boil becomes ‘bawl’
    • Cried become ‘crawd’
    • Oil becomes ‘awl’
  • The long ‘o’ becomes a long ‘a’ or ‘eh-oo’
    • Phone becomes ‘phane’
    • Home becomes ‘heh-oom’
other sounds
Other Sounds
  • The ‘ing’ ending changes to ‘een’
    • Fishing becomes fisheen
    • Going becomes goeen
  • ‘s’ is pronounced ‘z’
    • Sink becomes ‘zinc’
  • ‘v’ is pronounced as ‘b’ (this stems from the German influence)
    • Every is pronounced ‘ebry’
  • The ‘f’ sound is substituted for ‘th’
    • Thread becomes ‘fread’
the changing face of baltimorese
The Changing Face of Baltimorese
  • As with any dialect, Baltimorese is constantly evolving and taking in new influences.
  • The trend for American English is a single, homogenized accent. Baltimorese is no exception. The dialect is becoming more mainstream, and much of the accent is becoming rare. Small pockets of dialect remain, particularly in Essex, Dundalk and Middle River.
  • Changes in immigration and suburbanization have diminished the influence of Baltimorese.
  • "Baltimorese." Wikipedia. 1 Oct 2008 <>.
  • "'Dialect'." Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 29 Sep 2008 <>.
  • Rapid Intelligence, "Encyclopedia> Baltimorese." NationMaster Encyclopedia. 1 Oct 2008 <>.
  • "Rhoticism." Indopedia. 29 Sep 2008 <>.
  • Salvucci, C.. "Linguistic Geography of the United States." The American Dialect Homepage. 29 Sep 2008 <>.
  • Seigle, Jeff. "Dictionary of Baltimorese." Baltimorese. 29 Sep 2008 <>.
  • Smith, Ernest. Hey Hon! How to Talk Like a Real Bawlamoron. Phoenix, Maryland: 38th Street Press, 1993.
  • "The Mid-Atlantic Dialects." Evolution Publishing 1 Oct 2008 <>.