The New York Jewish Accent

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The idea of the Jewish-American accent highlights the ways in which language associates with a specific group of people and can sometimes be used as a way to stereotype a group of people. Generally, the Jewish accent is tied with the Brooklyn/New York accent, as the boroughs of New York are a big place for Jewish populations. Especially in mainstream media, like “Seinfeld” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” have perpetuated the idea of the New Yorker Jew. The idea of code-switching and mixing languages is also prominent in the accent, as Jewish people are more likely to use Yiddish words in their everyday language. In the first media, Larry David amps up his Jewish slang and emphasizes his accent/Yiddish knowledge even more to make the other man know that he is Jewish. In the second video about Bernie Sanders, his accent is in part tied to his Judaism, as well as his hometown. Certain words and phrases, along with the accent, are sometimes tied almost to a learned part of language in Jewish families, especially in more religious households. (For another video of interest, see [from 3:06])

Posted by Hayley Berger on May 1, 2017

New York City English;
Communities of Practice;

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