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Boston

Study

Language

You won't be long in this town before you hear the broad vowels of the famous Boston accent. 'Pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd' is the overused example (translation: Park the car in Harvard Yard). Locals scoff at this attempt to imitate their speech patterns, as everyone knows that cars are prohibited in Harvard Yard.

But this distinct dialect rings out loud and clear on Boston streets, particularly among working-class and middle-class Irish, Italian and Portuguese residents. The letter R frequently disappears at the end of words ('chowdah' instead of chowder); then mysteriously reappears on the end of other words ('ideer' instead of idea). You are most likely to hear it when you ask directions from your bus driver or the local policeman.

If you really want to demonstrate that you are down with the Boston dialect, use the more appropriate (and accurate) sentence: 'The weathah heah is wikkid bizah.'

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Cooking courses

Patron food saint Julia Child, long-time Cambridge resident and star of many cooking shows, spent four decades teaching people to cook before she died in 2004. She was active in the Cambridge and Boston community and supported a scholarship program for aspiring culinary arts students. If you want to embody Julia's bon vivant, bon appétit spirit, take a class at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts.

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Courses

The local adult education centers in Boston are incredible sources for courses, from walking historical city tours, to writing workshops hosted by local authors, to massage courses for couples. Most of the classes take place once a week over the course of a semester or season. But the centers also offer many short courses and one-day workshops on just about any subject.

Boston Center for Adult Education(617-267-4430; www.bcae.org ; 5 Commonwealth Ave, Boston; 9am-7pm Mon-Thu, 9am-5pm Fri; Harvard)

Cambridge Center for Adult Education (617-547-6789; www.ccae.org ; 42 Brattle St, Cambridge; 9am-9pm Mon-Thu, 9am-7pm Fri, 9am-2pm Sat; Harvard)

Studio 122 (122 Arlington St; Arlington) A branch of BCAE that houses art, woodworking, photography and dance studios.

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Boating

Charles River Canoe and Kayak Center(617-965-5110; www.ski-paddle.com ; 2401 Commonwealth Ave, Newton) Introductory kayaking classes are two or three sessions, for a total of six hours ($139). Also offers day-long introductory kayaking trips for $129.

Community Boating (617-523-1038; www.community-boating.org ; Charles River Esplanade; Charles/MGH) Offers a wide variety of courses for paddlers, windsurfers and sailors (for beginners to racers).

Courageous Sailing (617-242-3821; www.courageoussailing.com ; 1 First Ave, Charlestown) Small-group lessons are $250 for four three-hour sessions; also includes one-month unlimited membership. Private lessons are $75 per hour.

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Cooking

Cambridge School of Culinary Arts(617-354-2020; www.cambridgeculinary.com ; 2020 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge; $60-75; Porter) The recreation division of this professional school offers one-time courses focusing on seasonal meals such as 'An American Gathering' or 'A Tuscan Christmas, ' or on other crucial cooking skills such as 'All you Knead' (basic breads). The most popular course, offered monthly, is based around cooking for couples.

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Music

New School of Music (617-492-8105; 25 Lowell St; 9am-4:45pm Mon-Fri) Classes range from string ensembles to scat singing to Australian didgeridoo. Most classes meet once a week for 10 to 14 weeks, but one-time workshops are also available. Also offers yoga classes with live musical accompaniment on the sitar.

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Writing

Grub Street (617-695-0075; www.grubstreet.org ; 160 Boylston St; 3-hour seminar $45, weekend seminar $165-185; 9am-5pm Mon-Fri; Boylston) Designed to offer a supportive environment for would-be writers, Grub Street sponsors long-term writing workshops, evening and weekend seminars and countless readings and other events. Programs tend to focus on a genre (fiction, poetry, screenplays, etc) and involve a lot of writing and rewriting.

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