Local company Clearly Speaking, LLC, run by Lynda Stucky, offers a course to help you lose your Pittsburghese accent:
You have been told that your charming accent–Pittsburghese isn’t so charming after all. Your colleagues make fun of it and your customers don’t understand it. Although this accent makes you unique, you might just be hurting your chance of a promotion if you hang on to it much longer. Find out how you can lose it all together or at least turn it off when needed.
Once his awareness was raised, he readily agreed to change his behaviors. In a short couple of weeks, John was no longer producing “n-that” or saying “Stillers” in conversation with his colleagues.
1. Where are the morons that cannot understand a Pittsburghese accent?
2. Are there people in New York, Dallas, and Boston trying to lose their accents, too?
3. MOST importantly, lady, it’s not n-that, it’s n-at. At. Aaaat. AAAAAAAAAT.
On her blog, she goes into further detail about the horrors of the Burgh accent, particularly the “AH” sound in place of the “OW” sound.
People who pronounce this sound incorrectly are viewed with a skeptical eye. Here are three reasons:
- It is not a standard form of pronunciation.
- It sounds “uneducated”
- It can confuse the listener.
Right. Because this totally happens every day:
Service Associate [on the phone with Mr. Baker]: “Mr. Baker? I just got that part I needed for your computer repair. I’ll run it dahn this afternoon to install it, if that works for you?”
Mr. Baker: “Dahn?! DAHN?! I’m very skeptical of this. What’s this dahn you speak of? You sound so uneducated. This is not standard. I’m so confused right now. I have to hang up.” [click.]