A man interviewed by TV news after the I-95 highway collapse is providing the internet with its most perfect example of the Philly accent in a while.
Everyone knows the way Philadelphians talk is special. The New York Times once called it the “most distinctive and least imitable” accent in North America. Kate Winslet famously said learning the Delco version of the regional dialect for “Mare of Easttown” was so difficult it made her “throw things.”
The specifics of hoagiemouth have definitely shifted over time, linguists say, and its strength and character changes depending on where in the city you live or what your heritage is.
But an iconic version was on full display in videos posted by broadcast journalists who interviewed a neighbor about his reaction to a truck catching on fire and melting the highway near his house.
It’s not just how the dude speaks that has people in awe of his absolute Northeast Philly-ness. It’s also what he says.
“I was passed out,” he begins in a clip posted by Fox29’s Marcus Espinoza, his eyes squinting beneath a backwards blue cap embroidered with a yellow Chevrolet logo.
“I woke up to nothing but text messages, phone calls, I had no idea what was going on,” he tells Espinoza, smiling from beneath a thick mustache that bleeds into a half-as-thick, short-clipped beard. “Everybody’s like yo, where’s this at? … I was like, bro, that’s right by my apartment.”
You can really hear the accent in the elongated roundness of all the “ooo” words he speaks, the way he drags out the end of others, and how he softens each and every consonant (“phouen,” “tex messagessss,” “schreenshoz”).
He then manages to finish by repeating the same info he started with, that he was “passed out” when the emergency began. (What else would a 20-something dude from Tacony be doing at 6:30 a.m. on an early June Sunday?)
Even better, the same guy was also interviewed by CBS News Philadelphia, who got him to talk sports.
“Philly’s been taking Ls,” he laments to CBS. “We lost the World Series, we lost the Super Bowl — now we lost I-95.”
So true, Northeast Philly prince. So true.