Snow and dialect

On the last morning of my trip back east, it started snowing. I hadn’t seen snow falling for more than four years, not since we moved to the San Francisco Bay area. I got that familiar, mesmerized, contemplative feeling that you get when you watch snow falling; and almost immediately the worry kicked in: will this affect driving? will my flight be delayed? are my shoes waterproofed? Fortunately the snow stopped after about ten minutes, leaving no accumulation: I got the pleasure of seeing it without all the discomfort that goes along with snow.

While I was in the Boston area, it was interesting to again speak in what the linguists call Eastern New England dialect — popularly known as a “Boston accent,” though really there are several Boston accents which are a subset of Eastern New England dialect, and actually my accent is west of Boston, with a does of New Bedford from my time living there. Whatever my accent, or the accent of the natives I talked with, I found it’s much easier for me to communicate when speaking Eastern New England dialect, and I realized I always feel there’s always something missing when I have to speak American Standard English, that bastard dialect of television and movies that lacks subtlety and emotional nuance.

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