One Person From Away Online Wonders If Mainers Indeed Say ‘Ayuh’.
People from other places, asking dumb questions about Maine, rule.
I look a lot at Reddit, looking for weird trends that people get going in the threads about Maine. For instance, a few weeks back, I did a piece about how pictures of mushrooms had pretty much taken over the r/Maine Reddit page. It was bananas. But today, one person set themselves up for a solid roasting, if not Mainer education.
This one Redditor asked if Mainers actually say "ayuh".
One cannot simply issue a blanket answer to that question. First of all, we all know, Maine has a few variations on our Maine accent. There's the Downeast version, the Central Maine version, and the Canadian border version. Each has its own flavor, and each has its variation of "ayuh"
So, what are the differences?
Downeast is the popularized version that gets butchered the most on TV and in movies. That's often turned into an over-exaggerated, multi-syllable, grandstand that makes actors sound like total dumbasses. The less popular, but perhaps more widespread version of the accent is Central Maine.
I always imply it's the closest Maine ever gets to a Boston accent. You'll hear it at almost any Dunkin' south of Waterville. And once you hit southern Maine, it's everywhere. The least known to outsiders though, is the French-Canadian tinged accent from up by the border. It's a strange version. Sounds like a regular Mainer, but there's a thick French accent layered over it.
But what really makes an authentic "ayuh" is that small, barely perceptible inhalation that goes along with it. It's almost like they say the word while they inhale. Instead of the word coming out, it's almost like it's going back in. But if there's no little inhalation, they're likely someone from away, trying to blend in.
Ha.... flatlanders.... Should you need a lesson, this should do it.