Is it just me, or does Louisiana sound like New York?

Tex   Saturday, April 10, 2004, 06:46 GMT
Certainly the two accents are very different. You can definitely hear the South in a southern LA person's voice. But sometimes I have a hard time distinguishing between voices from Brooklyn and Baton Rouge. For example, both pronounce the word "car" like "coa".

Is this just a coincidence, some kind of linguistic convergent evolution? Or is there a New York influence in New Orleans, like there is in Miami?
mjd   Saturday, April 10, 2004, 07:02 GMT
The only reason I could see Miami having any features of a New York accent is because so many people retire down to Florida. The joke we have here in New Jersey about Florida is that it's mostly comprised of hicks in the northern part of the state, Cubans near Miami etc., and old people from New Jersey.
Ginny Weasley   Saturday, April 10, 2004, 23:28 GMT
Black Americans pronounce car like "coa" and there are a lot of Black Americans in New York and Louisiana, so maybe that's why.

Sheesh! Why do old people like to retire to muggy Florida? When I'm old, I'd like to retire to some cold, northerly place like the Scottish Highlands or Sweden.
Jordi   Sunday, April 11, 2004, 06:17 GMT
Old bones and average human beings prefer warm climate to cold one.
Ben   Monday, April 12, 2004, 18:10 GMT
The New Orleans accent is very similar to the Brooklyn accent--Emeril Lagasse could talk to a New Yorker and easily pass for a native. It's something that's puzzled me for years, and if anybody has any historical information on why these two accents are so similar, I'd love to hear it.
mjd   Monday, April 12, 2004, 20:00 GMT
Emeril Lagasse's restaurant is in New Orleans, but he's from Fall River, Massachusetts. That is why he has that accent (the Mass. accent resembles the NYC accent). It's definitely not a Louisianian accent.
Elaine   Monday, April 12, 2004, 20:49 GMT
"Old bones and average human beings prefer warm climate to cold one. "

Exactly. When you're old and arthritic, have very little fat content to keep your body warm, lack resistence to all sorts of weather-related ailments due to a compromised immune system, have almost no energy to keep your blood pumping and body moving, AND have limited financial means to pay huge utility bills, the last place you'd want to be is some cold, damp, below-freezing environment where your forced to shovel snow off your driveway or turn the heater up full blast.

I find hot, sticky, humid environments uncomfortable myself, but I know that if I were a senior citizen, getting through a harsh cold Mid-Atlantic/New England winter would be a fight for survival.
Alice   Wednesday, April 14, 2004, 03:02 GMT
I don't hear any particualr similarity between Louisiana and New York accents. I have family and colse friends form both of these regions, and their dialects are very different from one another. Perhaps people like Mr. Lagasse who've relocated to the South are causing this confusion.

ps - I grew up in Florida, and it's hard for me to fathom why people seem to find out weather so attractive. Personally, I prefer the cold, but I suppose the grass is always greener.
Ben   Thursday, April 15, 2004, 22:14 GMT
Well, certainly, most of Louisiana sounds southern. But in New Orleans--the city, NOT the surrounding areas--there is a certain kind of very New York sounding accent that working class people speak with.

I'd guess it might be a sort of sped-up, guttural, urbanized version of an aristocratic Southern accent--which, when you speed it up, really does kind of sound New Yorkey. (e.g. both accents drop "r"'s at the end of words, both turn the "ou" in "bought" into a dipthong).
Alice   Saturday, April 17, 2004, 18:49 GMT
If I'm not mistaken, the two accents dipthong in opposite directions, for lack of a better phrase. That is, the NY dipthong whould turn the "ou" in "bought" into "oh-aw", whereas the NO dipthong would turn it into "aw-oh". Does that make any sense?
Andrew   Thursday, April 22, 2004, 18:31 GMT
I've heard that, like New Yorkers, New Orleanians(?) will pronounce, say, "bird" as "boid". You can hear some examples of this in Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary", in which John Fogerty sings "Proud Mary keep on boinin'". (He's not from New Orleans, but tried to imitate the accent in many of his songs.)

It's seems to be widespread throughout the South. In the movie "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou", which takes place in 1930s Mississippi, one of the characters used that "er"-"oy" dipthong briefly. Can anyone from the Southern US comment?
Jay   Monday, April 26, 2004, 06:27 GMT
There is one group (sometimes called Yats) in New Orleans who have that dialect which sounds to many like a Brooklyn New York dialect. It is probably a coincidence due to perhaps a similar phonological system, but it is quite striking. The film American Tongues has a great example of this dialect. Perhaps a great part of New Orleans has this Brooklyn-like dialect. Richard Simmons is from New Orleans, and he kind of has a Brooklyn thing going on!