My dad was a Yankee through and through. He had the accent, the ethics and the language. He was a story teller and local historian. I lived in Connecticut for a few years and when I would bring friends home with me to visit dad would regale them with stories, after which they would usually turn to me and ask “what did he say?”
Batchi pot meant Hibachi, badadoe was potato Cockie referred to our dog Corky. He never went there, he went thayah, he drove a tractah, which was a Fawd (Ford) but his cars were Chevys or GMs. He wasn’t looking for something, he was lookin. You could say I grew up in a bilingual home!
I was pretty sensitive to they way I talked when as a teen and young adult I would travel out of New Hampshire, I didn’t want to sound like a hick. When I moved to Colorado in the late seventies I tried to be so careful, their dialect sounded so exotic and cultured. As much as I tried to shake my accent it still came through. A group of my new friends there called me shoobie, lovingly of course, meaning I was a tourist. Or a cartoon character, I never did know which.
When I got to Connecticut in the eighties I was much better at not dropping “r”s and “g”s. I was very careful to listen to other people talk. After eight years so close to New York border I picked up a new version of that dialect. It didn’t take long being back in New Hampshire before I lost it. Now I still have the Yankee twang but it’s not as pronounced.
In northern New England we have several different variations of that twang, Maine has it’s own Boston definitely has it’s own version Vermont and New Hampshire are close to each other but not identical. Once you get into Connecticut and Rhode Island I think the influence from New York and New Jersey make a big difference.
I miss my dad’s unique language. I don’t hear it as often here in New Hampshire. There are pockets of it but not nearly as much as when I was growing up. I notice that most kids here don’t have that heavy accent, whether it’s by design or just because there are so many different people living here now that have brought different accents with them.
I nevah thought I’d miss hearin that good ol Yankee twang but theah ahh days when I’d love ta heah my dad telling a story.