The first half of the piece discusses accents on the The Wire, one of the most linguistically fascinating series in the history of television (Thanks to Nancy Friedman for pointing the article out to me). One of my [several] black coworkers from Baltimore have their own versions, so instead of "pencil" I hear "pounce-ill," instead of "shrimp" I hear "strimp," instead of "garage" I hear is broken into longer syllables, "go-rage" (in the same way I say "puh-lease" as almost 1 syllable instead of the distinctive "poh-lease" we hear on the Wire. The key feature of the Baltimore accent is identified by a sound change called “fronting back vowels.” It’s an accent feature that probably started in the South, according to Becker, where vowels that are usually pronounced with the tongue in the back of the mouth (like the “oo” in goose”) are instead pronounced with the tongue in the front (“gewse”). The accents of the actors who portrayed Lt. Mello of the Western District and Vice-principal Donnelly of Tilghman Middle school were ‘spot on’. Pingback: This Week’s Language Blog Roundup | Wordnik ~ all the words. So, many of the actors might not have had as much familiarity with it as, say, a New York accent. Words like “phone” and “home”, we draw out the “O”. Pearson had never seen The Wire, the TV drama that examines the life of Baltimore - from its crack dens to its failing school system, its struggling police force to its corridors of power - … Pls, what regional british accent exactly did Idris Elba employ in the series-Luther. Other good examples of it are some of the really minor characters like the cop who shares the boat with McNulty at the beginning of season two (can't remember his name) and officer Bobby Brown. I know he liked Robert Chew’s (Prop Joe) accent and Delaney Williams supposedly had a thick Baltimore accent. All in all it was a spectacular job, and while all weren’t distinctly and unequivocally from Baltimore, the vast majority fell into the range you would hear in the city. (Also same accent that the lead in White Boy Rick has). John Travolta's character in the 2007 version of John Waters's Hairspray spoke with an exaggerated Baltimore accent. Pingback: What are you watching tonight? With Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn, Wendell Pierce. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog: Is the Glasgow Accent Being “Cockneyfied?”, an interesting take on accent work in films and television, http://baltimorelanguage.com/baldamor-curry-and-dug-podcast/, This Week’s Language Blog Roundup | Wordnik ~ all the words, https://www.facebook.com/AlBrownIsValchek, Arrr, Matey! Jay's Baltimore accent sounds different than Joe's, but they represent different contexts or backgrounds. John Doman, who plays Rawls, is an actual native Philadelphia. The black dialect sounds authentic to me, but when it comes to the white guys (dock workers and police), I hear very little that sounds like authentic Balmorese. Also Lt. Mello, the Deacon, the middle school principal, you can go on. It definitely takes place in Baltimore, and is based upon experiences of David Simon while a newspaper reporter in Baltimore, but it definitely is about police and various types of crime (most often drug related). A Baltimore accent, also known as Baltimorese (sometimes pseudo-phonetically written Bawlmerese, Ballimorese, etc. A character might say “He is good police” or “Are you police?”. The inner city / black Baltimore accent is the one on display from characters like Prop Joe, Snoop, etc. As a native Marylander, there were certainly times I was jarred by someone’s speech, but interestingly it was more often gesture and facial expression while speaking rather than the vocal production. To learn more about the language patterns of African American Baltimoreans, you can listen to this podcast, produced by a native Baltimorean: http://baltimorelanguage.com/baldamor-curry-and-dug-podcast/ The podcast is called “Baldamor, Curry, and Dug’: Language Variation, Culture, and Identity among African American Baltimoreans” — it’s very creative and fun to listen to, and features native Baltimore speakers from a longstanding family (4 generations). - Page 96. The two best examples of the Baltimore accent in the show BY FAR are Lt. Mello (played by the real Jay Landsman) and Vice Principal Donnelly. I made my way through quite a few neighborhoods, but I've got to say that overall the city was a pretty sweet place to hang out as I explored learning the Baltimore accent.. Baltimore = The Wire A number of the dealers and soldiers were actors from NYC and with New York accents. Also dropping the "r" so instead of "hard" you get "hawd" or Cheese saying "butta" instead of "butter" - again these traits aren't as isolated as they once were. They both have really thick, really authentic accents. Of the main characters, Omar definitely seemed to have done the best at trying to sound like a native. I’m usually pretty good at picking up accents. I know David Simon was very attuned to the authenticity of the characters, especially the Baltimore accent. Find the best information and most relevant links on all topics related toThis domain may be for sale! None of the Wire characters sound quite like that, with the possible exception of Valchek. I’m from the Philly area and his accent sounded like ours. It is believable that many of the poh-leese would sound like they’re from up Jersey but not a white labor union dock worker from Holluntown or Glimburny. Drawn out vowels is a lot of our accent. And I really do mean dialect work, with a capital ‘d.’ The language of the show was far more impressive than the mere fact of British actors playing Americans. But black Baltimore does have its own identity with the local music genre of Baltimore Club music, the local unique black Baltimore accent, chicken boxes and half-in-half ice tea/lemonades etc. By Staff and wire reports. Its most notable characteristic is the nasally stressed "O" vowel producing a sound close to "Eh-oo". Out of everyone’s, and for good reason. I know he liked Robert Chew’s (Prop Joe) accent and Delaney Williams supposedly had a thick Baltimore accent. coddie (CAH-dee) n. A fishcake of cod, onions and mashed potato, fried. One thing I noticed is the police will frequently refer to the criminals as “people”, even if only in certain circumstances it was noticable (“we’ve got a wire on these people” etc), instead of something racist or pejorative. It’s a similar construction as “he’s from good stock.” Almost as if “police” were a substance rather than a profession. I have a question about the Baltimore accent. It's there man. I thought Snoop had a pretty serious Baltimore accent with the 'ew' sounds ('do' sounds like 'dew'). The films of John Waters, many of which have been filmed in and around Baltimore, often attempt to capture the Baltimore accent, particularly the early films. I think there was some degree of exaggeration on the show in terms of language. Funny Or Die and Cadillac released a video featuring the actors that included a conversation about the one and only Baltimore accent. . Any fans of the series out there wish to comment? Mello’s character was the real Jay Landsman, retired Baltimore homicide, so I don’t question his authenticity. The Wire Tour is a grand tour of Baltimore, taking you past various important filming locations for the highly acclaimed HBO TV series, The Wire.It is a driving tour 54 miles long (87km) past 54 filming locations. This one is (in my opinion) a lot less subtle. The first half of the piece discusses accents on the The Wire, one of the most linguistically fascinating series in the history of television (Thanks to Nancy … http://wilk4.com/humor/humorm221.htm. You can really tell which actors were from Baltimore for the most part. As with all major cities there are ranges of accent too. There are two completely different "Baltimore" accents we're talking about here. It was a hard slog, that one, trying to get that right. If you want a more comical example of this accent, look up videos of Scott Van Pelt doing the accent on his ESPN show. Same with the “A” in “gas”. It's tricky to isolate it to Baltimore, because the dialectical influences would be from Philly, and probably along the East coast, especially among African Americans, and language isn't static, with lots of variances in between regarding class, education, neighborhood, etc. Al Brown, who played Valchek, just finished his new website at http://www.albrownisvalchek.com. Thanks for pointing that out. Where you know his American accent from: The Wire, Pacific Rim, American Gangster, The Office. I liked the use of the word ‘police’. Over at Language Log, Eric Bakovic has an interesting take on accent work in films and television. I worked with a Baltimore native quite a while and didn’t hear much of an accent. I missed West and Elba totally, but my wife, whose ear is much better, got their Brit-ness immediately and couldn’t believe other people didn’t notice it. That’s a great find, Christine! I may have had my minor quibbles with Dominic West‘s accent in the first season of the series, but as a whole, The Wire is perhaps the most impressive body of dialect work I’ve  seen in film or television. For me it sounds like the vowel in to or you has an umlaut. Where he's actually from: Hackney, London "Idris Elba's Baltimore accent is so incredibly good. It would take about three and a half hours without stopping at the sights, but to properly do the tour, you'll want to make stops for photos, food, and general gaping. The Baltimore accent is a dialect that originated among the blue-collar workers of Baltimore City and is often referred to as "Baltimorese". The Wire is a great show. > The Wire is not about police, nor about drug gangs. Questions about the Baltimore Accent in the Wire. . These folks are actors, after all — really good ones who do what it takes to play their characters as authentically as possible, speech and all. Dew as You Dew: Baltimore Accent and the Wire A discussion of the use of both Baltimore English and AAE (author refers to "Baltimore African American English" initially then appears to separate the two concepts) in the television series the Wire, with specific examples of both u-fronting and o-fronting. Nice website too … didn’t know there was a site devoted specifically to Baltimorese! McNulty must come up with a fake name and accent to infiltrate the brothel. David Simon created "The Wire" based largely on his years as a newspaper reporter covering crime for the Baltimore Sun. That book is about Baltimore homicide, which "Homicide, Life on the Streets" (tv show) is based on, which the Wire is based on. Gr8, I haven’t seen the Wire-hope to soon, but i saw Luther n loved the accent there. Snoop was the most authentic B-More product imo. Without a doubt, Dominic West as James McNulty is the face of the iconic HBO series The Wire.The show is interested in analyzing how crime and the police force of Baltimore … Fellow Wire fanatics. You know I’m going to have to ask you about The Wire now, right? What am I missing? Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. (Season 2, Episode 9 "Stray Rounds") As already mentioned, Prop Joe's "dug" instead of "dog" is common. Although I understand that many folks familiar with Baltimore-area speech could somewhat reliably distinguish the Baltimore-native actors from others, there were probably very few who would have picked out West as British or even as not American (or Idris Elba for that matter, another Brit who played Russell “Stringer” Bell on the show). Jun 15, 2016 at 10:24 AM . It’s about the city of Baltimore. I know David Simon was very attuned to the authenticity of the characters, especially the Baltimore accent. IMHO, he’s got a very Delaware Valley accent. "I love how regional Baltimore is," Bowen said. Nonetheless, those two do surprisingly good American accents (Hugh Laurie, on House, is another expert)–if British TV is representative, most British actors can’t do American speech well at all. She grew up in Highlandtown where some of the Wire scenes are set. In the video here, dialect coach Erik Singer analyzes the accents of 32 different actors to see who aces the accent test. And in all three, they say "a police." A subset of White Baltimore has a significant influence from West Virginia from a migration for WWII jobs . Created by David Simon. I have watched all episodes at least twice and I just don’t hear it. Much like the “business English” recently discussed on the Macmillan Dictionary Blog, language in The Wire was often used to sugarcoat cruelty and violence. I have a question about the Baltimore accent. Cookies help us deliver our Services. Lt. Mello's is genuine as well. 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