Home Population As the city’s population grows, is Boston’s accent in danger?

As the city’s population grows, is Boston’s accent in danger?


BOSTON — Today, it looks like Boston has more cranes than universities, more transplants than traffic jams. The city is changing, it can be seen and heard.

It seems that a strange phenomenon is happening: people pronounce their Rs. Is the Bostonian accent in danger?

It’s always been a birthright in Boston to talk a little funny. We have the ability to throw our R’s like tea into Boston Harbor.

Marjorie Feinstein-Whittaker studies language and coaches professionals trying to work on their accents. She noticed a change in Boston.

“I think we’re a lot more diverse and people from all over the world live and work here. And I think it’s just not as concentrated as it once was,” Feinstein-Whittaker said.

Boston’s population has grown from 617,594 in 2010 to 675,647 in 2020. By 2030, Boston is expected to grow by at least 50,000 to 724,000.

You don’t need to be Will Hunting to do this math – that’s a lot of new accents.

Jay-Shawn grew up in Roxbury and loves Boston. He wants to celebrate the fact that not everyone looks or sounds the same in the city.

“We have different races here. Everyone tries to come to the neighborhood. They love it. They love the food, they love the activities, it makes the kids smile, it’s awesome,” he said.

In Southie, you can see buildings and accents change rapidly. All you have to do is stand in front of an upscale cafe and ask how newcomers and old-timers take their coffee.

“Maybe cold brew with vanilla,” says Charlotte from Connecticut.

“With cream and sugar,” says local resident Manny. “Four sugars.”

Yes, our city is constantly changing, but the accent is Bostonian, and strong. It might just be “watuhed”.

“I think it’ll always be there just because there’s something that people are really proud of and I don’t think it’s going to go away but I don’t think it’s going to be as widespread or as strong as it was before,” said Feinstein-Whittaker.