Features: How to Speak Philadelphian: Do You Hear What He Hears?
One man’s key to deciphering us
When “Fitzy from the Northeast” or“Tommy D. from South Jersey” calls in to the Howard Eskin Show, they first haveto get past one man — producer Joe DeCamara. After a year vetting the King of Bling’s rings, DeCamara doesn’t need you to tell him what neighborhoodyou’re from. He can hear it. Sometimes, it’s obvious. In the Northeast, they drop the G at the end of words. (“What’s this garbage ’bout Drew Rosenhaus talkin’ to the Iggles?”) In South Jersey, they draw out the A sound. (“Can we talk about Paaaat Burrell? Can we taaalk?”) But mostly, his secret is decoding the addytood:
“There’s a twang. An accusatory twang: ‘What’s up with your stinkin’ Phils?’”
“They say things very deliberately. There’s an extra emphasis, a heavier truth behind their words, like, ‘Joe … [long pause, deep breath] … we gotta do somethin’ ’bout this Charlie Manuel guy.’”
“The S becomes ‘sch’ like everywhere—‘snap’ becomes ‘schnap’—but here it’s used to mean disappointment: ‘Awwww, schnap.’”
“They’re all rough and gravel. There’s no love. No ‘Hello, Joe.’ Just ‘Wanna talk to Howard.’”