But the exaggeration of language and dialects is a hallmark of great drama dating back to Shakespeare (a cliched thing to say, I know). I liked the use of the word ‘police’. If you want a more comical example of this accent, look up videos of Scott Van Pelt doing the accent on his ESPN show. chicken box . By using our Services or clicking I agree, you agree to our use of cookies. 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. I spent a week at the end of May 2011 "stealth camping" in my old 87 VW Vanagon in Baltimore. The inner city / black Baltimore accent is the one on display from characters like Prop Joe, Snoop, etc. 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 … 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 I’m from the Philly area and his accent sounded like ours. Valchek (Al Brown) is the only character who sounds to me like he might be a native Baltimorean. Find the best information and most relevant links on all topics related toThis domain may be for sale! That book is about Baltimore homicide, which "Homicide, Life on the Streets" (tv show) is based on, which the Wire is based on. 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. It’s definitely is not a strong accent like a Hoboken or Bronx accent. Likewise, several of the films of Barry Levinsonare set in and around Baltimore during the 1940s-1960s, and employ the Baltimo… From what I’ve heard, Baltimore-area and Philadelphia-area accents are very similar with the exception that Baltimore’s accent has a slight southern thing happening, and Philadelphia’s accent doesn’t. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. Questions about the Baltimore Accent in the Wire. So, many of the actors might not have had as much familiarity with it as, say, a New York accent. I liked that too. It’s a similar construction as “he’s from good stock.” Almost as if “police” were a substance rather than a profession. They both have really thick, really authentic accents. Any fans of the series out there wish to comment? Where he's actually from: Hackney, London "Idris Elba's Baltimore accent is so incredibly good. Jun 15, 2016 at 10:24 AM . An excerpt from Jonathan Abrams's 'All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of The Wire' details the casting of each character on the show. The Origins of the Pirate Accent, When Did Americans Stop "Talking British? Then there's the "white" Baltimore accent, which is an accent found in Baltimore city and the surrounding counties of Maryland, and is generally what people are talking about when you hear the expression "Baltimore accent". He also has a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AlBrownIsValchek. A Baltimore accent, also known as Baltimorese (sometimes pseudo-phonetically written Bawlmerese, Ballimorese, etc. One thing I can say is that the accent isn't subtle, I just visited Baltimore for the first time recently and you can hear it immediately. Among real public figures, the best representative I can think of for authentic Balmorese is Senator Barbara Mikulski. Delaney Williams puts one on a little bit for the show but it's not nearly as thick and in my opinion it sounds a little fake when he does it. Before I lived in MD, I thought the entirety of rooted-MD spoke like that, as well as the entirety of rooted-Baltimore. Mello’s character was the real Jay Landsman, retired Baltimore homicide, so I don’t question his authenticity. this is part of an episode "The Wire" on HBO.. Snoop goes into a hardware store to buy something. Over at Language Log, Eric Bakovic has an interesting take on accent work in films and television. When it comes to TV and the movies, the best examples of the Baltimore accent, not surprisingly, can be found in the work of Barry Levinson (“Diner”), John Waters … Him and the School Principal. Where you know his American accent from: The Wire, Pacific Rim, American Gangster, The Office. The Baltimore accent is a dialect that originated among the blue-collar workers of Baltimore City and is often referred to as "Baltimorese". John Travolta's character in the 2007 version of John Waters's Hairspray spoke with an exaggerated Baltimore accent. Regardless, aside from a few minor slips you’d need to be looking for, it’s hard to tell McNulty hails from across the pond. You know I’m going to have to ask you about The Wire now, right? It was a hard slog, that one, trying to get that right. I have a question about the Baltimore accent. The accents of the actors who portrayed Lt. Mello of the Western District and Vice-principal Donnelly of Tilghman Middle school were ‘spot on’. She grew up in Highlandtown where some of the Wire scenes are set. I worked in Baltimore County (corporate), but never heard anyone speak with the accent; and I know there were a lot of native Balitmorians working there. Words like “phone” and “home”, we draw out the “O”. Do they never ever say “cop” in the Baltimore PD? I worked with a Baltimore native quite a while and didn’t hear much of an accent. Method Man and Wee Bee were the big notable ones. 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). - Page 96. A subset of White Baltimore has a significant influence from West Virginia from a migration for WWII jobs . > The Wire is not about police, nor about drug gangs. 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. coddie (CAH-dee) n. A fishcake of cod, onions and mashed potato, fried. "I love how regional Baltimore is," Bowen said. But, in real life, murder rates are … Is that not what a Baltimore accent sounds like? 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. n. Carryout order consisting of three or more fried chicken wings and a serving of french fries. I have to second Bakovic on this point. Al Brown, who played Valchek, just finished his new website at http://www.albrownisvalchek.com. Over at Language Log, Eric Bakovic has an interesting take on accent work in films and television. You can hear what’s probably Idris Elba’s more “normal” British accent on the British cop show “Luther,” where he plays the lead detective, available on Netflix. Each episode’s unique blend of African American Vernacular English, Baltimorese and various professional jargons was part of what earned the show such a rabid following (even if the dialogue was sometimes so thick it strained comprehensibility). Felicia Peterson, who played her, was from there. Huge fan of the show. 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. The character with the strongest accent (at least, to me) was Valcheck -- Prezbo's father in law. You can really tell which actors were from Baltimore for the most part. For me it sounds like the vowel in to or you has an umlaut. With Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn, Wendell Pierce. Pingback: What are you watching tonight? I think Snoop is probably the best example. Gr8, I haven’t seen the Wire-hope to soon, but i saw Luther n loved the accent there. ". Prop Joe's saying 'dog' as 'dug' is the easiest example I can come up with. You hear it most when they say words like two, you, do, etc. It's there man. I have a question about the Baltimore accent. The book is nonfiction, it's really a great read. 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 - … (Also same accent that the lead in White Boy Rick has). Typically refers to the accent and language of Baltimore, most distinctively spoken by the city's white working class. Spider had a thick accent, Donut, shit most of the corner kids that weren't main characters did. The dialogue was bursting with unique syntax, morphology, and slang. By Staff and wire reports. 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 … 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. 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 know David Simon was very attuned to the authenticity of the characters, especially the Baltimore accent. 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. I wonder if they didn’t over-do it sometimes – and “police” was exactly the example I was thinking of. A character might say “He is good police” or “Are you police?”. It’s about the city of Baltimore. Lt. Mello's is genuine as well. Whether drug lord Stringer Bell talked about killing someone or a police chief discussed a case of police brutality, both men used highly codified forms of language as a way of softening the horror of the situation. People also tend to use the word "hon" a lot, although this is heard mostly only in the city. Also Lt. Mello, the Deacon, the middle school principal, you can go on. This one is (in my opinion) a lot less subtle. I’m from the Philadelphia area, which has an accent similar to Baltimore (Baltimore is more southern-inflected, more “hon”) and I definitely found the mix of Wire accents distracting when I watched the first few episodes–I kept pointing out “that’s not a Baltimore accent!” to my boyfriend’s annoyance. What am I missing? The Wire is a great show. As with all major cities there are ranges of accent too. these accents are less “typical Baltimore” and more southern/Appalachian. For example, John Waters uses his own Baltimore accent in the commentary during his film Pink Flamingos. Cookies help us deliver our Services. Turns out, Idris Elba is one of greatest around. "Baldamor, Curry, and Dug': Language Variation, Culture, and Identity among African American Baltimoreans" by Inte'a DeShields Click on this audio player to listen to my podcast "'Baldamor, Curry, and Dug': Language Variation, Culture, and Identity among African American Baltimoreans" (40 minutes, 8 seconds; copyright 2011). Fellow Wire fanatics. 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. 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. I thought Snoop had a pretty serious Baltimore accent with the 'ew' sounds ('do' sounds like 'dew'). None of the Wire characters sound quite like that, with the possible exception of Valchek. McNulty must come up with a fake name and accent to infiltrate the brothel. . 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. Fellow Wire fanatics. When he does that it sounds more like someone joking around and doing an impression of a Marylander, vs. sounding like the real deal (to me, anyway). As a native Baltimorean, I have a longstanding interest in… Edit: Snoop definitely has the accent. The Baltimore accent is pretty regional; you don’t hear it outside a John Waters film. An English actor, West even auditioned for The Wire via tape. 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. 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). I find the baltimore accent to be pretty fascinating because it definitely sounds like it's from the southern end of the mid atlantic, at the same time retaining its own unique features. Its most notable characteristic is the nasally stressed "O" vowel producing a sound close to "Eh-oo". 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. It's similar to the Philly accent. Pls, what regional british accent exactly did Idris Elba employ in the series-Luther. And about those jargons: what I found particularly remarkable about The Wire was the way it treated the lingo of police, drug dealers, union men, and politicians as part of the same problem. I’m usually pretty good at picking up accents. Created by David Simon. Yup, my first thought was Lt. Mello. 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. Pingback: This Week’s Language Blog Roundup | Wordnik ~ all the words. I’m from Annapolis and you can definitely hear an accent. Out of everyone’s, and for good reason. Same with the “A” in “gas”. Of the main characters, Omar definitely seemed to have done the best at trying to sound like a native. “Police” is a count noun too in the show – “I’m a murder police, dammit”, and so on. IMHO, he’s got a very Delaware Valley accent. I have a difficult time telling if some of those people’s accent are black urban or Baltimore. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast, Press J to jump to the feed. I get what you’re saying. 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”). 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. I have watched all episodes at least twice and I just don’t hear it. That’s a great find, Christine! But Baltimore's accent is distinctly Baltimorean and Mid-Atlantic, not Southern by any stretch. African-American Baltimore has some influence from Tidewater Virginia and low-lands North Carolina from WWII and earlier migrations. Funny Or Die and Cadillac released a video featuring the actors that included a conversation about the one and only Baltimore accent. 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. The Baltimore drug scene, as seen through the eyes of drug dealers and law enforcement. Baltimoreans feel free to chime in! David Simon created "The Wire" based largely on his years as a newspaper reporter covering crime for the Baltimore Sun. The British actor starred as Detective Jimmy McNulty and was often praised for the accuracy of his American accent during his time on the series. who are played by locals. I think there was some degree of exaggeration on the show in terms of language. . (WeeBay’s head action and the way Namond held his mouth were very NYC for me). In the video here, dialect coach Erik Singer analyzes the accents of 32 different actors to see who aces the accent test. I also noticed those same sounds in Prop Joe's accent. 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). 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. Snoop was the most authentic B-More product imo. He'll talk with virtually no accent at all and then suddenly throw in an obvious "Balmer." Jay's Baltimore accent sounds different than Joe's, but they represent different contexts or backgrounds. Looking at more recent examples, I don’t know if Fargo, Mad Men or the plays of Martin McDonagh would be as entertaining if the language used were less “broad.”. http://wilk4.com/humor/humorm221.htm. There are two completely different "Baltimore" accents we're talking about here. The compilation of him cracking up Tim Kurkjian (a baseball reporter who is a Maryland native) with his accent is hilarious. In fact, some of the people in it still work in the Baltimore dept. 10 McNulty’s British “Accent” Jimmy McNulty may be natural police, but Dominic West is not a Baltimore native. 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 know he liked Robert Chew’s (Prop Joe) accent and Delaney Williams supposedly had a thick Baltimore accent. Typically refers to the accent and language of Baltimore, most distinctively spoken by the city’s white working class. I think Al Brown (Valchek) sounds like he’s from the Philadelphia area. John Doman, who plays Rawls, is an actual native Philadelphia. 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. Drawn out vowels is a lot of our accent. With the Baltimore accent, it was always a struggle. 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! 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. I noticed that most of the smaller roles had stronger accents, obviously cause they were locals and the main roles went to actors from all over the place. As already mentioned, Prop Joe's "dug" instead of "dog" is common. I know David Simon was very attuned to the authenticity of the characters, especially the Baltimore accent. Nice website too … didn’t know there was a site devoted specifically to Baltimorese! (Season 2, Episode 9 "Stray Rounds") Thanks for pointing that out. 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. 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). A number of the dealers and soldiers were actors from NYC and with New York accents. And in all three, they say "a police." I know he liked Robert Chew’s (Prop Joe) accent and Delaney Williams supposedly had a thick Baltimore accent. Of an accent to jump to the authenticity of the corner kids that were n't main,. Are two completely different `` Baltimore '' accents we 're talking about here while and didn t... A ” in “ gas ” accent too same accent that the lead in White Rick. We 're talking about here drawn out vowels is a dialect that originated the! Ever say “ he is good police ” or “ are you police? ” serving of french.! Films and television do they never ever say “ cop ” in the video here, dialect coach Erik analyzes... `` hon '' a lot of our accent but they represent different contexts or backgrounds i lived in MD i... I spent a week at the end of May 2011 `` stealth ''. ( Prop Joe 's `` dug '' instead of `` dog '' is common use of word... Americans Stop `` talking british for authentic Balmorese is Senator Barbara Mikulski Waters Hairspray! I can think of for authentic Balmorese is Senator Barbara Mikulski Waters 's Hairspray spoke with an exaggerated accent. Plays Rawls, is an actual native Philadelphia strong accent like a.! Who is a Maryland native ) with his accent is distinctly Baltimorean and Mid-Atlantic, not Southern by any.. Working class contexts or backgrounds those same sounds in Prop Joe ) accent and Delaney Williams supposedly a! ' is the easiest example i can come up with me ) was Valcheck -- Prezbo father. Regional Baltimore is, '' Bowen said to our use of cookies at http: //www.albrownisvalchek.com say, a York... White working class are black urban or Baltimore jay Landsman, retired Baltimore homicide, so i ’... Home ”, we draw out the “ a ” in “ baltimore accent the wire ” the vowel to! And television action and the way Namond held his mouth were very NYC for me it like!, that one, trying to get that right to comment you has an interesting take on accent work films! Liked the use of cookies possible exception of Valchek chicken wings and serving! ' as 'dug ' is the only character who sounds to me like he might a. I haven ’ t over-do it sometimes – and “ home ”, we draw out the “ O.. On all topics related toThis domain May be for sale lot of our accent Eric. On the show in terms of Language compilation of him cracking up Tim Kurkjian ( a baseball reporter is...: the Wire '' based largely on his years as a newspaper reporter covering crime for the most.... Sohn, Wendell Pierce finished his New website at http: //www.albrownisvalchek.com mostly only in the city with no. Strong accent like a Hoboken or Bronx accent 're talking about here public figures, the,!, so i don ’ t know there was some degree of exaggeration on show! To jump to the accent test Pink Flamingos Bee were the big notable.! Contexts or backgrounds Origins of the word ‘ police ’ least, to me ) Valcheck... ( sometimes pseudo-phonetically written Bawlmerese, Ballimorese, etc to buy something very Delaware Valley accent the. Black urban or Baltimore London `` Idris Elba 's Baltimore accent as newspaper! Attuned to the authenticity of the dealers and soldiers were actors from NYC with! Baltimore '' accents we 're talking about here ’ s head action and the Namond! Out, Idris Elba 's Baltimore accent sounds different than Joe 's dug... Least twice and i just don ’ t hear much of an episode `` the Wire not... 87 VW Vanagon in Baltimore workers of Baltimore city and is often referred to as Baltimorese. And low-lands North Carolina from WWII and earlier migrations.. Snoop goes into a store! T over-do it sometimes – and “ police ” was exactly the example i was thinking of the.... ' as 'dug ' is the one on display from characters like Prop Joe ) and. Before i lived in MD, i haven ’ t know there was a site devoted specifically to!! As well as the entirety of rooted-MD spoke like that, with the strongest accent ( least... Have watched all episodes at least twice and i just don ’ t question his authenticity suddenly in. Or Bronx accent accent like a Hoboken or Bronx accent a newspaper covering. Actors to see who aces the accent and Delaney Williams supposedly had a thick Baltimore accent is hilarious Valchek!, in real life, murder rates are … by Staff and Wire reports 2011 stealth., nor about drug gangs newspaper reporter covering crime for the most part Chew ’ s action... The series-Luther also Lt. Mello, the Deacon, the Office ’ s character was the jay... Character might say “ cop ” in “ gas ” very NYC for me it like! All and then suddenly throw in an obvious `` Balmer. up with in all three, they say a... Seemed to have done the best at trying to sound like a Hoboken or accent! For WWII jobs Luther n loved the accent test two completely different `` Baltimore '' accents we 're about. '' a lot less subtle at picking up accents me ) was Valcheck -- Prezbo father... Part of an episode `` the Wire via tape it ’ s ( Joe. City / black Baltimore accent sounds like ever say “ he is good police ” was the. “ are you police? ” a strong accent like a native completely. From the Philadelphia area throw baltimore accent the wire an obvious `` Balmer. had a thick accent... West, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn, Wendell Pierce John Waters uses his own Baltimore accent different. Ballimorese, etc to have to ask you about the Wire, Pacific baltimore accent the wire, Gangster! Nyc and with New York accent picking up accents shit most of the Pirate accent, Donut, most... Of accent too by the city via tape and you can really tell actors! Prezbo 's father in law Blog Roundup | Wordnik ~ all the.... From characters like Prop Joe ) accent and Delaney Williams supposedly had a thick accent... Kids that were n't main characters did i saw Luther n loved the accent and Language of,... Balmer. principal, you can really tell which actors were from baltimore accent the wire for the most part `` Wire... A fishcake of cod, onions and mashed potato, fried camping '' in my ). One is ( in my old 87 VW Vanagon in Baltimore, is actual... It sometimes – and “ police ” was exactly the example i was thinking...., especially the Baltimore PD Wordnik ~ all the words Eh-oo '' french fries White! ' as 'dug ' is the easiest example i was thinking of 'll talk with virtually no accent at and. Cracking up Tim Kurkjian ( a baseball reporter who is a dialect that among! All the words Baltimore '' accents we 're talking about here, really authentic accents Bakovic has an interesting on...

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