Yes, Western New Yorkers Have A Distinct Accent
When you think of bigger cities, like Chicago or Los Angeles, you can picture a certain kind of accent, i.e. the valley girl. But did you know that the Buffalo accent is pretty recognizable in itself?
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When you first learn about the accent, it can make you feel a little self conscious – but you shouldn’t! Our accent is more recognizable than we realize, and even if we haven’t noticed it until now, out-of-town visitors are usually able to pick up on it.
What Is A Buffalo Accent?
The Buffalo accent has strong traces of European dialects, including Polish and German, but also Italian/Sicilian. One language professor identified a handful of attributes from the Buffalo accent, including:
- the “flat a”
- “hard a”
- other variations in our speech, including the drop-down of central vowels
- For example, “bed” may sound like “bad.”
There are even traces of a “valley girl” accent in Buffalo, too, but that’s more of an intonation thing.
How Can You Tell If You Have A Buffalo Accent?
One sentence will reveal just how strong (or weak) your Buffalo accent is.
" Frank and Joanne ran down Transit from Amherst to Lancaster."
People with a Buffalo accent will have a hard long A in words like Frank, Ran, Lancaster.
A lot of out-of-towners have said that the accent in Western New York sounds like a combination of a New York and Canadian accent, which may hold some truth.
You can also hear the Buffalo accent in these other familiar words and statements.
There is also a TikTok challenge that gives you a paragraph to read, and based on how you say it, it can identify where your accent sticks out the most.
So…how strong is your accent? :)