Re: The San Francisco accent

02/18/10 - posted by candis smyk hurlbut

I noticed outsiders pronounced our name as if it were three words (a la Jeanette McDonald): "San Fran Sisskoh."

My early childhood was lived on the East Coast, and I did notice citizens from The Mission sounded a bit like what I was accustomed to hearing: "dollah" instead of "doller" for example. We had an elderly (to 10 year old me, 58 or even 56 was elderly, or "real old") neighbor who confused me one day. Their clothes line (remember clothes lines back in the pre dryer days) was close to the fence separating our back yards. He was trying to help his wife by bring in their wash, and a glove had landed on our back sidewalk. He asked me to "Get the grub for me." My father was in OUR laundry room, so I poked my head in the door and said some help was needed. I had no idea what "grub" had been promised since I hadn't observed any food being prepared in our kitchen during the last hour or so. My father noticed the glove I hadn't seen lying there, picked it up and handed it over, and gave me a bewildered look.

My first SF teacher kept trying to force me to "misspronounce" words--as I considered her efforts. I eventually realized my East Coast pronunciations, combined with a life long sinus condition, must have grated upon her very proper Sunset Heights ear.

There was a long ago preferred standard speech pattern and accent, which is now no longer standard. Now, however, accents and speech patterns are gradually fading away. Television has contributed to this. We are gradually sounding less and less unique. Now, if anyone asks me for grub, it will be a meal, not a hand covering!

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