Posted March 2nd 2013 at 11:59 pm by
in Sound Sunday

Sound Sunday: Listening for an Accent

Listening for a Boston Accent on Soundcloud.

Sound Sunday: Listening for an Accent

I went to South Station to record the old Boston accent. Seven years ago, I took the commuter rail in and out of Boston every day. The board announcing trains wasn’t electronic like the one in this photo.The letters and number would flip with a clicking sound until the right train and track number was spelled out.

Then a man would bellow over the loudspeaker, “Now on track numbah nine, the FoahFoahtyFiveLocal to Franklin Foahge Pahk, stopping at NoawoodDeepoNoawoodSentralWinzzahGahdens (i.e. Norwood Depot, Norwood Center, Windsor Gardens) … Track NUMBAH NAAIIIIIIINE.” I guess people misunderstood the way he said nine, after all that, because nine was the one word he’d annunciate.

When I got to the station do do this recording, I remembered that the old board was long gone. The only human voice to announce a train was a woman with a faint foreign accent. Then a machine voice announced a train to Greenbush — a line I don’t remember existing in my commuter days.

I was glad to hear a woman’s voice, and with an accent from somewhere besides Boston. But I wasn’t happy to hear the machine voice. Maybe people don’t mistakenly miss track nine anymore, and maybe some money has been saved. I don’t think it’s worth it.

South Station in Boston, Massachusetts.

Post by Alexa Mills.

Comments are closed.