My husband told me he heard a young actress being interviewed who pronounces her Gs the same why I do. More specifically, she uses a hard G when saying words ending in -ing. That means walking would be pronounced as walk-ing-guh. The last syllable is more of a half-syllable and softer in the throat than that looks in print. I was disappointed he could not remember which actress. I wonder if she’s simply using a more theatrical pronunciation so her G isn’t lost like some people used to assume I did?

My pronunciation is a remnant of my former regional/ethnic accent that was mostly smoothed out by my childhood speech therapist. She helped me erase more than my lisp. Now when people hear I’m from Massachusetts, they remark I don’t sound like I’m from there, but they’re thinking of the Boston accent, not the Southeastern Massachusetts one I had. Massachusetts has regional and micro-regional accents. Mine pops out when I’m very tired or sometimes when speaking with my parents.

This all makes me think of scenes from one of my favorite movies, Woody Allen‘s Radio Days. In this love letter to Old Time Radio, Mia Farrow plays Sally White, a cigarette girl aiming for radio stardom, but first she must rid herself of her Bronx accent.

Farrow is winningly adorable as Sally. She makes us laugh at Sally’s efforts without losing our sympathy. Sally is the kind of role Judy Holliday excelled at and got typecast in–the cute cookie determined to improve herself or her lot in life. Farrow is a worthy successor in playing this type when playing against her type, and she masters two accents not normally her own–the Bronx and the Hollywood Patrician.

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