Comments from a lurker:
Williamstown is not and was never located in the area of the New England accent however described. It's pretty much where what some people call, the General American accent, starts, which goes from there more or less to the Pacific coast. The draw of Williamstown is that is has a well known liberal arts college which draws (historically and presently) from the nation, not from the region (Williams College). It also has a prestigious art museum.
Regarding an earlier comment about Italian accents, I think in Britain, you would find accents that are barely understandable to other speakers. One is the "Scottish" English spoken in Glasgow, Scotland, locally referred to as Glaswegian; also (for me) the accent in West Yorkshire -- Bradford & Leeds).
A recent book I've read by Tore Janson (Speak: a short history of languages) takes up the issue of dialect vs. language. He states that if the people who speak what some believe is merely a dialect, call it a language with a name, then politics requires that you yield on that point. For instance, how much the same or different are Swedish, Danish, and the two Norwegians? Serbian and Croatian are pretty much mutually intelligble although written in two different scripts, by people alphabets who follow different religious beliefs.
By the way to be on topic with Nostratic, Janson, holds to the belief that without strong evidence for Nostratic, that he isn't going to deal with it. Languages have changed too much to prove it, so we can't act like it ever existed.
Bob Campbell

--- In, "Geraldine Reinhardt" <waluk@...>
> I wonder which jobs brought their families to illiamstown?
> Possibly the tourist trade unless these students were children of field workers such as tobacco or apple pickers.

I wouldn't know. I can't imagine why a small town like that would have that kind of drawing power.

Incidentally, the Boston accent is often described as adding an -r after certain vowels at the end of words. The classic example being that of "idear." Sometimes there's the proviso that the next word must begin with a vowel. However, that accentual pattern seems to be irregularly spread out. I've known people to use and others not to (including myself).