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Don and Patty took the bus to the gym
to watch some hockey. They met their
pals Dawn and Chad. They snacked on
nachos, hot dogs, sausage, and pop.
Then they noticed something odd: The
gym was getting hot! Don and Dawn
took off their jackets. Patty wiped
the sweat with a paper towel. Chad took
off his hat and used it as a fan. The
puck never hit the ice, which sadly
had begun to melt. They couldn’t get
the gym cool enough. The match was
canceled, so the friends headed to a
bar to watch the Sox game.

WBEZ's Annie Minoff wrote this article
about what the Chicago accent sounds like today. Check it out.

"Too Hot for Hockey" is a script devised by Corrine McCarthy, a linguist at George Mason University who has studied the Chicago accent. When read aloud, "Too Hot for Hockey" forces speakers to vocalize vowels and other sounds (called "tokens" by McCarthy) that reveal how closely key sounds resemble the accent's dominant traits.

The first clip you can play has McCarthy walking through a sample that hit all three of the important vowel sounds present in Chicago accent, in addition to two sounds common to the accent. The rating marks whether the sample displayed all, some or none of the traits. You can sort the accent library by number of traits met. Here's Corrine McCarthy's listening guide.




Born in Chicago?



English first language?

Age range



Visualization programmed by Thales Exoo, designed by Logan Jaffe and edited by Shawn Allee.
Content provided by Annie Minoff. Curious City is produced by Jennifer Brandel.