Slate Says PA is “Most Linguistically Fascinating State in the Country”

Five different dialects — but two that matter most.

Slate today calls Pennsylvania the “most linguistically fascinating state in the country.” (We already knew that Philly’s accent is fascinating, but whatever.)

Pennsylvania, in case yinz didn’t know, is a regional dialect hotbed nonpareil. A typical state maintains two or three distinct, comprehensive dialects within its borders. Pennsylvania boasts five, each consisting of unique pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar elements. Of course, three of the five kind of get the shaft—sorry Erie, and no offense, Pennsylvania Dutch Country—because by far the most widely recognized Pennsylvania regional dialects are those associated with Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

And of course, Nick Kroll’s “Welcome to Pawnsylvania” sketch is marshaled as proof of concept:

Write Matthew J.X. Malady (really?) adds: “The Philadelphia dialect features a focused avoidance of the “th” sound, the swallowing of the L in lots of words, and wooder instead of water, among a zillion other things. In Pittsburgh, it’s dahntahn for downtown, and words like nebby and jagoff and yinz. But, really, attempting to describe zany regional dialects using written words is a fool’s errand.”