Linguistics | St. Louis Public Radio

Linguistics

Kelsey Thomas started the #314DayAccentChallenge to celebrate and highlight the St. Louis accent. 2018.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Kelsey Thomas celebrates 314 Day the way many St. Louisans do: she puts on a Cardinals shirt and orders some Imo’s Pizza. If she’s feeling nostalgic, she’ll tune in to Hot 104.1.

But a few years ago, she started a new tradition for March 14. To show off her city’s accent, she curated a list of words that end with an “R” sound — chair, hair, millionaire — and posted them on Twitter with the hashtag #314DayAccentChallenge. The words highlight a unique feature of a local accent that has been celebrated by St. Louis rappers and studied by linguists.

Originally aired Feb. 13, 2013

Is it Missour-ee or Missour-uh?

Those two pronunciations of the state, according to linguist John Baugh of Washington University in St. Louis, peacefully co-exist and are “indicative of all of the linguistic collisions from the rest of the country that happen in our wonderful city.”

Baugh and linguist Cindy Brantmeier of Washington University joined host Don Marsh to talk about how language forms, evolves, and is spoken differently throughout the United States.