Great Colorado Language Debate. Is It Washington, Or Warshington?
We've all heard friends and family who are Colorado natives say words a certain way and wondered if we've been saying it wrong the whole time, right? Is it a state thing, or a generational thing? Here's what we found.
Is It Pronounced Washington Or Warshington?
Growing up, I'm 99% sure I said certain words way differently than I currently do. Sure, there are harder words for kids like spaghetti, or "supercalifragalisticexpialidicious." One that's pretty cut and dry is wash or Washington. Growing up we lived near Washington street or went to Washington Park, or Washington's in Old Town. If you ever asked my parents though, without even thinking about it, they'd say Warshinton with that bonus R in there. My stepmom is from Washington State so when she or my dad talk about her taking a trip home, it's to "Warshington," not Washington. Or when it's time to wash something, they always say "warsh." My wife's Grandma says it the same way. So is it a Colorado accent thing, or a generational thing?
Why Do People In Colorado Pronounce Washington, Warshington?
After doing some research, I found an answer on KUON.org from Alicia Wassink, who is a University of Washington linguistics expert, who said:
“The phenomenon you’re asking about is what sociolinguists call r-insertion. R-insertion is present, but receding in Washington English. This appears to be a retention from New England English, which was one of the dialects that forms our heritage,”
Based on that information, if feels safe to rule out it being a Colorado thing, and more of a generational thing from people from the areas like Seattle, where my step-mom grew up near. Technically she's from Yakima, but that city's name could also explain why she talks funny. My mom is a Boson native and so that's where my dad and I picked it up from I'd imagine. But what about the rest of these weirdos adding in those extra R's? Maybe they heard it said that way once and just went with it. Mystery solved. Sleep well tonight, friend.
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