The Philadelphia Accent Is In Danger of Disappearing Because of Millennials

Philadelphia’s unique way of speaking is considered one of the most unusual dialects in the United States, but it may not be around forever. Thanks to demographic changes, the Philadelphia accent as we know it could disappear in the coming decades. The regional dialect is characterized by distinct vowel pronunciations. For example, in Philly water is pronounced “wooder." The problem is, many hallmarks of the classic Philly accent are no longer used by Millennials. Linguists trace this shift to Philadelphia’s elite schools. Any way of speaking that falls outside the norm is viewed negatively in certain settings, so students at these schools may feel pressured to adapt the less noticeable mid-Atlantic accent. Kids at exclusive schools are also more likely to have one parent who's not from the area, so they may have a more generic way of speaking to begin with. Once that different accent is introduced into the environment, it can spread throughout the student body. Millennial students were the first to follow this pattern a couple of decades ago, and the change is now influencing the greater Philadelphia population. If the trend continues, the classic Philly accent could become extinct within two decades. At least for now, Philadelphians still know exactly what you mean when you say when you announce you’re going to “grab a cuppa cawfee and root fer dem Iggles.”