New York City English

Cardi B's Casual Speech and Realness

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In regular speech, Cardi B uses Chicano English and AAE features; she says when she speaks, she doesn't care about her accent, unlike when she sings.

Cardi B's authentic accent

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Audiences applaud Cardi B for embracing Chicano English in her rap music. She also uses AAE features in a way that is typical for rap music.

Saturday Night Live (SNL) - Coffee Talk: Linda Richman Talks Yom Kippur

Raising of back vowels in the New York City accent - such as the “aw” sound in words like coffee. Could the popularity of this sketch in the early 1990s have led to an increase in stigmatization of the NYC accent and quickened the change from above?

Posted by David Isaak on February 7, 2018

Tags:
New York City English;
Accent

Hillary Clinton's accent evolution (1983–2015)

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A video about one individual, Hillary Clinton's intense and possibly intentional accent changes throughout her life. I thought it was an interesting case study in individual language change, and why someone might want to change the way the speak.

Bernie Sanders' accent, explained

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This video breaks down Bernie Sanders’ accent. It explains how his accent is very unique in the way that it reflects his social class, the area and time where he grew up and his ethnicity. The video explains how Sanders’ accent reflects the dominant New York/Jewish/Middle Class accent of the 1950’s while also explaining how this accent is decreasing in more recent generations

Posted by Julia Nordhem on December 4, 2017

Tags:
New York City English;
Jewish;
Accent;
Communities of Practice

Why Linguists are Fascinated by the American Jewish Accent

This article discusses the American Jewish accent, what it sounds like, and its origins. It discusses how the American Jewish accent is derived from Yiddish, Hebrew, and the languages of prominent Jewish communities, and is common in Jewish people across America.

Posted by Sarah DeBauche on November 28, 2017

Tags:
New York City English;
Jewish;
Accent;
Communities of Practice;
Multilingualism

Californians guess NYC slang

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A non-white NYC native tests Californians on their knowledge of "NYC" slang. The speaker brings up the borough ideology, and uses a raised THOUGHT vowel.

Posted by Kara Becker on November 20, 2017

Tags:
New York City English

Is New York losing its most famous accent?

A short video on the "disappearing" New York City accent. [Published on 08-18-2017]

Posted by Kara Becker on September 18, 2017

Tags:
New York City English

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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waeXBCUkuL8 [from 3:06])

An English Language Cop

This is a clip from Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm. Larry David corrects Richard Lewis' speech. Richard says, "in their private homes," and Larry corrects him with , "the privacy of their homes?" Larry David's correction displays language ideology because there was no misunderstanding, he was just being, as Richard Lewis points out, "an English language cop." Then, Larry notes that Richard utters the word "collapse" in the same way he does. It makes sense that these two would speak with the same dialect or accent since they are lifelong friends and both from New York City. When this is brought to Richard's attention, he denies sharing this with Larry and pronounces "collapse" according to Standard American English. [Published on 01-05-2015]

Friends: Joey acting nineteen

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In this clip from the TV show FRIENDS, the character Joey is pretending to be a teenager to prove he can land an acting gig as a younger guy. He uses a bunch of what he thinks is teenager slang while trying to convince Chandler that he can do it. This is a good example of slang, especially in regards to youth and the area in which the show is set (NYC).

Posted by Matt Kaufman on March 8, 2016

Tags:
Ideology;
New York City English;
Youth;
Slang

Bernie Sanders' Accent

A description of Bernie Sanders' accent. Includes brief discussions of vowel-raising and vocalization of r in New York City English, as well as of terminal t enunciation, which is linked to Jewish dialects of English. The decline in New York City English usage over time and its usage as linked to socioeconomic status are also discussed (compare with Labov, William. 1972. Language in the Inner City.; and Mathers, Patrick-André. 2012. The social stratification of /r/ in New York City: Labov's department store study revisited). [Published on 02-18-2016]

Donald Trump's accent, explained

A discussion of the ways that Donald Trump's New York accent contributes to his no-nonsense, authoritative, and brash persona. [Published on 02-09-2016]

Posted by Kara Becker on February 9, 2016

Tags:
New York City English;
Politics and Policy

Hey, I'm running for President Here!

A New Republic article highlighting the New York accents of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, with quotes from many linguists suggesting that their accents allow them to construct a positive local authenticity. [Published on 11-14-2015]

Posted by Kara Becker on November 18, 2015

Tags:
New York City English;
Politics and Policy

How capicola became gabagool: The Italian New Jersey accent, explained

This article discusses how different varieties of Italian made their way to the U.S., using the example of the word "capicola" pronounced like "gababool" on an episode of the Sopranos. [Published on 11-05-2015]

Posted by Kara Becker on November 12, 2015

Tags:
New York City English;
Race,Ethnicity

How a New York accent can help you get ahead

Sociolinguist Michael Newman discusses the positive indexes of the New York City accent in the realm of politics, as used by Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. [Published on 10-05-2015]

Posted by Kara Becker on October 5, 2015

Tags:
Indexicality;
New York City English;
Politics and Policy

Problems with Labov's Department Store Study

This comic plays with a potential problem in Labov's department store RA study.

Listen: There's no such thing as a Brooklyn accent, exhibit says

A recent exhibit at NYC organization CityLore played New York voices for listeners, arguing that race/ethnicity and not borough is what distinguishes New York voices from each other. [Published on 01-28-2015]

Posted by Kara Becker on February 26, 2015

Tags:
New York City English;
Race,Ethnicity

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio accused of faking accent

The media criticized Boston-born Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, for faking a New York accent to gain "street cred" with his constituents. Interestingly, the feature focused on, nonrhoticity, is also a feature of Boston English. [Published on 02-04-2015]

Posted by Kara Becker on February 26, 2015

Tags:
New York City English;
Boston English;
r vocalization

Fuhgeddaboudit: New York Accent On Its Way Out, Linguists Say

This is just a short article that looks at the inevitability of language change. Although it mostly talks about neutralization, I feel as though other processes and possible future developments are left out in a way that makes it more sensational for the average reader, especially New Yorkers. [Published on 02-02-2015]

Posted by Tyler Helton on February 3, 2015

Tags:
New York City English;
American English;
Change

How to Speak New York

A website featuring sound files of "authentic" pronunciations of proper names for streets, neighborhoods, shops, etc. relevant to New York.

Posted by Ashley Brandt on December 1, 2014

Tags:
New York City English

American Tongues: Linguistic Insecurity

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A clip from the documentary American Tongues profiling speakers with linguistic insecurity, including a speaker from Brooklyn who takes accent reduction classes to reduce her New York City accent.

Tawkin’ The Tawk: The Noo Yawk City Accent and the Race for City Hawl

A 2013 article in City and State on the New York City accents of the candidates for mayor.

Posted by Kara Becker on August 27, 2013

Tags:
New York City English;
Style-shifting;
Politics and Policy

Fox News: No Maw 'New Yawk'

A 2010 article on the change away from raised THOUGHT in New York City English.

Posted by Kara Becker on April 1, 2013

Tags:
New York City English;
Change

Daily News: Locals and linguists argue that notorious Queens accent is fading away

A 2010 Daily News article asks first whether there is a distinctive Queens accent, and second whether that accent is fading, citing celebrities, locals, and linguists.

Posted by Kara Becker on April 1, 2013

Tags:
New York City English

The Disappearing New Yawk Accent

A 2013 podcast from the show "Lexicon Valley" on Slate, profiling the change in progress for /r/ vocalization in New York City English.

A Life of Learning: Six People I have Learned From

Text and audio from a 2009 ACLS lecture by William Labov profiling six speakers: Donald Poole from Martha's Vineyard; Jacob Schissel from New York City; Larry Hawthorne from Harlem; Celeste Sullivan from Philadelphia; and Jackie Garopedean from Chicago

A Brooklyn Winter Wonderland

A 2012 blog post sharing Christmas classic "Winter Wonderland" sung in a Brooklyn accent

Posted on January 16, 2013

Tags:
New York City English

If These Knishes Could Talk

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A preview of the in-progress documentary "If These Knishes Could Talk: The Story of the New York Accent."

Posted on November 13, 2012

Tags:
New York City English

NY Times: Unlearning to Tawk like New Yorker

A 2010 article on New Yorkers' opinions of their accents, with a profile of some speakers who seek out dialect coaching to lose their accents.

Posted on October 30, 2012

Tags:
New York City English;
Stigma;
Accent

These days, the twang ain't no thang

A radio segment from Austin's KUT about the recession of Texas dialect features and ones in New York City as well.

Yoo talkin' to us? Researching whether New York is losing its distinctive accent

A 2012 New York Post article by Kara Becker on the changing nature of the NYCE accent.

Posted on September 28, 2012

Tags:
New York City English;
Change

The Brian Lehrer Show: You Talkin' to Me!?

A 2008 interview on WNYC's the Brian Lehrer Show on the New York City accent, with guest Kara Becker.

Posted on September 15, 2012

Tags:
New York City English

The Leonard Lopate Show: New York Accents

A 2010 interview on NPR's the Leonard Lopate show with guest Kara Becker on the New York City accent.

Posted on September 15, 2012

Tags:
New York City English

Oy Gevalt? New Yorkese an Endangered Dialect?

A New York Times article from 1994 on the decline of the NYCE accent.

Posted on September 14, 2012

Tags:
New York City English;
Change

FDR's Inaguaural Speech and /r/ - Fear Itself

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An example of FDR's /r/less, upper class New York City variety. An interesting spot to look at r vocalization, as the iconic phrase "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" includes two coda /r/ environments that we don't expect to vocalize, given that they are intervocalic.

(r) in New York City English

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The classic graph from Labov (1966) showing stratification by socioeconomic class and speaker style for coda r vocalization in New York City English