Actor Tom Bosley. Ayuh, gone but not forgotten. Associated Press

We Mainers don’t talk funny; it’s the rest of the country that talks funny. I think they make fun of our distinctive accent and unique vocabulary because they’re jealous of the fact that we get to live in the state where life really is the way it should be.

For decades actors from away have tried — with varying degrees of success — to emulate our distinctive Down East drawl. For example, if you believe what you read on the internet (and why shouldn’t you?), the most “cringe-worthy” attempt at sounding like a Mainah was the one made by the late Tom Bosley, who played Cabot Cove Police Chief Amos Tupper on the television series “Murder, She Wrote.” (At least Alan Alda, whose character, Hawkeye Pierce, hailed from Crabapple Cove, Maine, had the good sense not even to try to sound like one of us on the television series M*A*S*H.)

But what do we actually sound like? Since most of us sound the same as most of the rest of our fellow Americans, is the Down East accent just a myth perpetuated by prime time TV? Of course not, otherwise Maine writers such as John Gould and John McDonald wouldn’t have had to pen the books, respectively, “Maine Lingo: A Wicked-Good Guide to Yankee Vernacular” and “The Maine Dictionary.”

Who else but another Mainer would understand what we mean when we say that we don’t have time to dickah over the price of that stove-up cah in the dooryahd because we’re right-out straight makin’ suppah?

Most attempts at mimicking the Maine accent consist of simply changing the “er” sound at the end of a word to “ah.” For example, a wickid smaht husband might tell his wife, “I hope that flatlandah appreciates just how good your clam chowdah is, deah.”

On the other hand, people also tend to think that we pronounce words such as “yoga” and “idea” as “yoger” and “idear.” (If all this is true, then shouldn’t a Mainah’s pronunciation of “lobster” first be “lobstah” and then go back to “lobster”? Gives a fellah a good case of whiplash, don’t it?)

Ayuh, I’d love to hang around and discuss the whole thing a dite moah, but we’ve already given it ample attention. Chout I don’t back ovah ya toes. I gotta head upta camp in The County — if I can get theyah from heah that is.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: