I don’t pay much attention to Boston politics, but the recent election of Marty Walsh as mayor is of linguistic interest, as this Globe story by Billy Baker explains (if my link takes you to a signup page, do what I did and google “In Walsh, students of Bostonese have found their avatah”):
In linguistic circles, the election of Walsh is the source of some excitement, for he demonstrates what many believe to be the strongest Boston dialect in the city’s mayoral history.
[…]Walsh, the son of Irish immigrants, was raised in the heart of the R-less corridor that runs through the Irish-American neighborhoods of Dorchester and South Boston. And his accent is not just strong, according to the linguists, speech trainers, and dialect coaches asked to analyze his victory speech, but a very modern take on the Boston dialect.
John J. McCarthy, a professor of linguistics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an expert on the Boston dialect, said Walsh’s speech represents the generational shift that occurred after World War II. He said Walsh, who was born in 1967, does not have the broad “a” sound of White or Flynn, who were born before the war.
[…]What makes Walsh’s dialect so authentic, and what separates him from the endless parade of actors who have tried — and failed — to capture the local inflection, is the variability in his speech, according to experts. He does not exclude all R’s, which is what actors tend to get wrong.
[…]Among his supporters on election night, though, there was no question. Several times during his victory speech, the crowd would cheer him on with what M.J. Connolly, a professor of linguistics at Boston College, called a “very Bostonese” interpretation of his first name.
“Mah-dee!” they chanted. “Mah-dee!”
Not a sophisticated discussion, but it’s a newspaper, not Language, and hey, Baker quotes two actual linguistics professors, which is nice. (Thanks, Sven!)