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Buffalo English, sometimes colloquially referred to as Buffalonian, is the variety of English used in and around the U.S. city of Buffalo, New York.

This variety is part of the Inland North dialect of American English, which spreads from Utica, New York to Wisconsin, and is therefore more like the local speech of Chicago and the Lower Peninsula of Michigan than New York City.


Key traits

The key phonetic feature of Buffalo English is the Northern cities vowel shift.

The low back merger does not occur in Buffalo, so words like cot and caught remain distinct in pronunciation.

In contrast to New York City English, Buffalonian English is rhotic and not closely related to non-rhotic varieties.[1]

Buffalo is one of the easternmost cities that uses the word pop to refer to soft drinks: the isogloss between pop and soda is to the east of Rochester, New York.[2]

Speakers of stronger Buffalonian variants often employ "possessification", where an ad hoc genitive case is applied to business names. For example, speakers of thick Buffalonian will say they shop at "Kmart's," "Target's" or "Home Depot's;" have drug prescriptions filled at "Rite-Aid's" or "Eckerd's"; rent DVDs at "Blockbuster's" or "Hollywood's" (Hollywood Video); and eat lunch at "Burger King's," "Mighty Taco's," or "Outback's" (Outback Steakhouse).[1]

A feature believed to have originated with Polish immigrants and then spreading to the region as a whole (though also possibly influenced by nearby Canada) is "there" interjected after a noun or pronoun for emphasis--sometimes more than once in a sentence – "Go out and get us some crullers there at Tim Hortons there"; "My sister there lives down there in Hamburg over there."


See also




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