“Wicked” is a word that Bostonians love. It means “very.” Well, more like “very, very.” During the inauguration, Yo Yo Ma (a Bostonian) was playing (actually “playing”) cello. But, since it was so cold, he didn’t actually play, since it would be hard on his multimillion dollar instrument; they used a recording. When asked about it, he responded, “But it was wicked cold!” I read a local newspaper article which forgave him on the basis of using the word “wicked.” Their reasoning was that he exonerated himself by using Boston diction. Hmm…

But I do like “wicked.”

Other Boston language variations I am not so fond of. One that really annoys me, for some reason, is the way they pronounce “square” around here. They say, “Squayuh.” And, since squares are very popular around here (Washington Square, Harvard Square, etc.) I hear it all the time on the T. The T man–the voice who announces the stops–has a funny habit. He must know that pronouncing Harvard “Hah-vahd” is stereotypically Bostonian. So, he doesn’t do that. If anything, he overpronounces the Rs in Harvard. But–I surmise, anyway–he doesn’t recognize that his Boston accent makes him saw “square” distinctively. So he ends up saying “Har-vard Squayuh,” in this strange mixed style, the first word pronounced totally “correctly” (as in non-Bostonian) and the second word utterly belying his origins. It’s a strange conglomeration and whenever I hear it I want to laugh.


~ by releasethebadgers on February 6, 2009.

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