So, What Is The Cleveland Accent?
Start writing a post

The subject is still brought up in conversations. I’ll be having a lovely chat with someone when suddenly, “Oh, I forget you’re from Cleveland!” Then I realize, I said ‘dahd’ instead of dad or ‘cahllege’ instead of college.

Ohio is the home of a number of different dialects and accents. You can drive an hour and somebody will say a word you’ve never heard in your life. What’s a devil strip? It’s called a tree lawn! (If you don’t know what these terms mean, allow me to direct you).

However, it isn't just what words we use in conversation but how we say them. It’s certainly not as obvious as a Southern twang or Jersey accent, but it must be distinguishable enough to point it out in conversation. Cleveland isn’t the only city with this sort of accent. Many large midwestern and east coast cities such as Chicago, Illinois, Detroit, Michigan, and Buffalo New York, possess a dialect where vowel pronunciation shifts with sharper sounds, sometimes changing how the vowel sounds as a whole. For example, the word ‘not’ will most likely be pronounced by a person with a Cleveland accent as ‘naht.’ Our mouths make less of an ‘o' shape when we say words with the short ‘o’ sound.

So, why do we say them the way we do? The weird shift in vowel sounds in major northern cities was first noticed in the 1960s, and it wasn't until 1972 that linguists called this the Northern Cities Vowel Shift . Vowels, especially A's, started to sound more nasal. They began to take the place of other vowels in words. The word 'caught' might sound more similar to the word 'cat' then in 'cot.' Linguist William Labov says that the construction of the Erie Canal, which was built and completed from the late 1810s to mid-1820s, may have been the cause for such vocal shifts, as workers from many east coast states constructed the canal and communicated with midwestern workers. One thing must have lead to another, and accents were spread to places such as Cleveland, Ohio.

You may be thinking, oh my gosh, (or oh my gahsh), what a great accent. How do I speak in it? What can I do to master such a beautiful and definitely not nasally accent? Here are some tips and tricks from yours truly.

Every word with the short 'o' sound now sounds like how you would say 'cat.' If you're feeling up to the challenge, you can replace the 'o' with the 'aw' sound. Instead of 'dog', try 'dawwg.' What's up, dawg? (Sorry).

End every question with a preposition. Where are you guys at? When writing papers I often have to remember you shouldn't end sentences with prepositions. Don't blame me; blame Cleveland! They did this to me!

It's pop, not soda. Or, if you really want to master the Cleveland sound, 'pahp.'

Sure, the Cleveland accent isn't as attractive or admired as other tones and dialects, but for me, it emphasizes a large part of my identity: that I am Cleveland-bred. I still hope for successful sports seasons. I play cornhole like a boss, and I pronounce odyssey like "aahdyssey."

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

In an already unprecedented political landscape, things aren't looking so bright for mail-in voters heading into November's election. In 46 states and Washington D.C., post offices received a warning that mail-in ballots may not be counted on time to count on election day, according to a report by the Washington Post.

Keep Reading... Show less
FOX

"New Girl" is one of the best sitcoms of all time. Honestly, it is so much fun to watch, so much fun to relate to, just all around a great show.

Not only is a great show, it has so many different great settings, obviously including the loft. If you live by Nick Miller quotes and desperately tried to learn how to play "True American," you need to buy these things because you are a true "New Girl" fan.

Keep Reading... Show less

You know those items you've been pinning to your Home board on Pinterest for [insert amount of time]? Well, it's officially the moment to turn that wishlist into a married life reality, and it's going to be SO fun.

But, before you get to shopping and adding things to your upgraded bridal wishlist (sorry, Pinterest, it was lovely while it lasted), you'll first want to decide where you want to open your registry (or registries, if you want options). Here are 17 of the best websites and stores to consider saying "I do" to for your wedding registry, to have and to hold for as long as people are buying you wedding gifts.

Keep Reading... Show less

If you've ever been in the dating game, or currently are, chances are you've had a date gone wrong. These are often times super embarrassing, but they are always funny to look back on.

Keep Reading... Show less

I just recently got engaged and planning a wedding during a pandemic is actually kind of a nightmare.

A lot of venues are taken for 2021 because of corona brides and grooms who have had to reschedule their weddings and the same goes for other vendors and literally everything else.

Keep Reading... Show less

While promoting her most recent movie, "Work It," Sabrina Carpenter has divulged some of her favorite beauty products to interviewers.

Keep Reading... Show less

When I say we can't stop thinking about the relationship advice Miley Cyrus dropped on "Call Her Daddy" today, I mean it literally.

Her truth bombs hit me (and most who listened) like a wrecking ball and coupled with the release of her new song "Midnight Sky," we're going to need some time to process the greatness. In case you haven't listened yet (what are you waiting for?), here are 10 relationship tips Miley shared that we should all live by for the rest of time.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

Founders Of Color: Rec Room's Dre Taylor On What Blackness Can Look Like And Not Working For Free

"It mattered to me that when we were depicting racial diversity for Rec Room, we showed the broad spectrum of what Blackness can look like."

Rec Room

The world of sustainable fashion is inundated with marketing gimmicks, false advertising, and large corporations cutting corners — Rec Room is the pure antithesis of that.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 At-Home Therapy Tips You Need, No Matter What Your Therapy Routine Is

Whether you're in a Zoom session or live-chatting, make sure your home therapy space is good to go.

No matter what stigmas you held about therapy before this year, I'm sure 2020 has affirmed that we could ALL use a nice long therapy session. Between wildfires that took over an entire continent, a global health crisis, and what's sure to be one giant circus of an election in the United States, we need help and we need it now.

The fact of the matter is, therapy has been a helpful, valid resource long before the world decided to become one giant dumpster fire. Having a safe space to discuss what's going on in your life, worries you have, and struggles you're facing has become a very normal thing for individuals' mental health.

Keep Reading... Show less

Dunkin' just announced that they'll be releasing their fall menu earlier than ever — set to debut on August 19 — and that it'll include new menu options this season, including a new signature pumpkin spice latte. Let me just say, Starbucks has some fall-menu competition now.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments