Tales From the City

Learning to speak Boston

A visitor from Kentucky shares a story.


While chatting with a Kentucky woman who was waiting to take my Back Bay walking tour, I asked her whether she had ever been to Boston before. She replied that she had briefly as a child, when her father drove the family through on their way to a summer vacation in Maine. Shocked by the Bostonians’ aggressive driving habits, her strait-laced father let fly a few choice words that the children had never heard him say before. From then on, this kind of language was known in the family as “Boston words.”

Eleanor Rosellini / Needham

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