February 20, 2014 |
Youse guys sure have an interesting way of talking. But once you've dispensed with the obvious - that is, you've waded through the wooder , finished off that hoagie , and checked your attytood - the question remains: What is the Philly dialect, really? How do you speak Philadelphian? And what, exactly, is a jawn ? Tracking down answers turns out to be a complex proposition: Not only is there more than one dialect in Philadelphia, but those dialects are evolving, according to linguists.
December 13, 2013 |
Theatrical dialect coaches believe that in an actor's creation of a character, the talk has to precede the walk - or, if you're a Jersey boy, the "tawk" precedes the "wawk" - especially if you're going to sing a "sawng. " And that means you need a dialect coach. Dialect coaches are like Henry Higgins, the phonetics professor from Shaw's Pygmalion and, later, Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady . They can tell where you're from at the drop of a consonant. Jersey Boys , the popular musical about Frankie Valli and his guy-group the Four Seasons, has been workin' its way back to us, babe, on national tour, and opens Thursday for a month at the Forrest Theatre, its third visit in four years.
April 8, 2013 |
Like most Philadelphia natives, I know the sound of a Philadelphia accent: "So I tollum straight up, 'Yo, Paulie, your sister's wit me. And we're gawna ride widges down-ashore or this car don't make it past Pashunk Avenue!' " And like most Philadelphia natives, I don't hear any accent in my voice when ordering kawfee at the Melrose or wooder ice at Rita's. Yanohwaddamean? Seriously, me? An accent? Fuhgeddaboudit. Nevertheless, I was disturbed by the recent headline "The Strange Decline of the Philly Accent" in the Atlantic magazine's online site, theatlanticcities.com.
December 3, 2011 |
HARRISBURG - As we gather around the table over the holidays, listen to the words that come out of your relatives' mouths. More important - listen to how they're pronounced. Do you have any plans to go dahntahn in Pittsburgh? Or did you see Philadelphia's Meir Nutter at the holiday parade? If you're in northern Pennsylvania, along the New York border, you may sound as if you have cawt a kindishin . Few kitchen tables can be as linguistically cluttered as a Pennsylvania table when the family comes to town.
March 17, 2011
Sam Chwat was a master of accents who taught Robert De Niro to talk like an Appalachian ex-convict, Olympia Dukakis to sound like a Holocaust survivor, and Peter Boyle to play the character of a Southern bigot. A modern-day Henry Higgins, he also trained some actors to lose accents, helping Julia Roberts drop her native Georgia drawl and Tony Danza his distinctive Brooklynese. Mr. Chwat, 57, died of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma March 3 on Long Island, N.Y. He ran the Sam Chwat Speech Center in New York City, which has helped thousands of people with speech challenges, including politicians and corporate executives.
January 5, 2011 |
LIKE MANY from the region who left to attend college outside of the area, Sean Monahan had the "wooder" teased out of him. While attending the College of Wooster in Ohio, his newfound friends poked fun at his Philly accent. "I knew that the vocabulary was different. I say 'hoe-gies,' and not a lot of others say 'hoe-gies,' " said Monahan, who grew up in Bensalem and Langhorne and now resides in the Southwark section of Philadelphia. It's not that Monahan hadn't noticed his accent before.
January 27, 2010
SO HARRY Reid apologized for insulting the entire black community by referring to the way he implied that they speak in referring to "that Negro dialect" - and then every news outlet accepts, forgives and even says he's right. I bet Al Sharpton would back Archie Bunker's run for Senate as long as he ran as a Democrat. They must think we're the meatheads and dingbats. Keith Callan Philadelphia
November 18, 2008 |
The most strikingly false note in The Last Night of Ballyhoo, which opened Friday at the Montgomery Theater, comes in its ending - but, gee, that's messy to describe without blowing the story line. I'll finesse it later. There's plenty more where that comes from. Alfred Uhry's play - he also wrote the lovely Driving Miss Daisy - won the best-play Tony in 1997, and lots of people like it. I find it one-dimensional, and Montgomery Theater's production, which felt under-rehearsed opening night, puts Ballyhoo's missteps in the spotlight.
December 3, 2006 |
"For so many years you haven't made a mistake. Then you make one. It feels inevitable. You signal right, intending to go left. And you pay the price. " Oliver Lucas, is, we will eventually learn, talking literally about an automobile accident. But the political metaphor is too tantalizing to resist in this prefatory speech, which opens The Vertical Hour. Last season, David Hare's brilliant Stuff Happens, a play about the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, showed us the players on the world stage: Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Powell and Rice.
May 21, 2006 |
Dan Brown is good. But as ingenious as The Da Vinci Code may be, the author can't compete with the average American family, office staff and college campus in the fabrication of impenetrable codes. Not those complex computer codes or ubiquitous bar codes or the lol codes used in so many IMs. Rather, the secret acronyms, subtextual phrases and redefined nouns that people invent at home, at work and among friends. Insider stuff fulfilling some innate, Spanky-and-Our-Gang need to own key words that unlock the clubhouse door.