New York accent?

Rupert Youngblood   Fri Oct 13, 2006 11:00 pm GMT
When I whatch american movies about New York city (or surrounding area), every time I see characters or are either jewish or old new yorkers, most of them have a peculiar accent.
I've noticed that when they pronounce park, the r drops and they say something close to pawk (to my ears; I'm not a native english-speaker); talk sounds like tawk; "it's all over the place" comes out "it's awl ova the ployce" etc.
I think it is a nice accent, can anyone give me any information about this?

thank you
Guest   Fri Oct 13, 2006 11:13 pm GMT
The New York Dialect is the variety of the English language spoken by most European Americans in New York City and much of its metropolitan area including Westchester and Rockland counties, the western half of Long Island, and a few cities in northeastern New Jersey, . It is often considered to be one of the most recognizable accents within American English (Newman 2005). (Wikipedia)

It's a cool sounding dialect, but its considered by many Americans to be the ugliest, most annoying, and most distinctive accent. People in New York who are upper class have a much less distinct accent.
Rupert Youngblood   Fri Oct 13, 2006 11:45 pm GMT
I've checked Wikipedia too. I agree it sounds annoying and can get to your ears, but still it sounds very local and identifiable.

I think it gives a special identity to the people who speak with that accent. After all, who would want to sound like everybody else or be "accentless"? Regional identity is a good thing.
Lazar   Sat Oct 14, 2006 3:03 pm GMT
Unlike many people, I actually enjoy hearing New York accents. AFAIK, the basic features of a traditional New York accent are:

- Non-rhoticism. "Bar", "bear", "beer", "bore", "better", would be something like ["bA] ["bE@] ["bI@] ["bO] ["bE4@].

- Father-bother merger, but cot-caught distinction plus lot-cloth split, basically similar to traditional General American. (I've read about some New Yorkers preserving the father-bother distinction though.)

- The vowel in "cot" is back, and sometimes even rounded, something like [A] or [Q].

- The vowel in "caught" tends to be higher than the vowel used by a lot of AmEng speakers, sort of like RP [O]. In an "extreme" or stereotypical New York accent, this vowel is even raised up to something like [U@]. (eg Mike Myers' "Kawfee Tawk" skits)

- Tensing of [{] to something like [E@] in many contexts, leading to a phonemic split between words like "have" ["h{v] and "halve" ["hE@v].

- One feature that I've never read about, but that I've observed in some people with New York accents, is a tendency for [aI] to move towards [AI], like in a Southeastern English accent.
Lazar   Sat Oct 14, 2006 3:14 pm GMT
I should add that the New York accent preserves distinctions like "Mary-merry-marry", "serious-Sirius", "hurry-furry", and "Tory-torrent". The intrusive R is also common.
Kelly   Sat Oct 14, 2006 11:27 pm GMT
hot dog
NYC [hAt dowg]
Chicago [hat DAg]
LA, Toronto [hAt dAg]
Q   Sun Oct 15, 2006 12:08 am GMT
>> hot dog
NYC [hAt dowg]
Chicago [hat DAg]
LA, Toronto [hAt dAg] <<

I thought it sounded more like: [hAt dOg].
Krystol   Tue Oct 24, 2006 3:00 am GMT
I am from LA and I must do a typical New York accent for a play. I understand all the dropping of the "r"s. It's quite difficult or should I say hahd. But if dats da way I gots to tawk den dats da way its gunna be.
torontonion.   Sun Oct 29, 2006 10:59 pm GMT
kelly,,us torontoniions dont tawak like dat!
Cow   Mon Oct 30, 2006 2:59 am GMT
>> LA, Toronto [hAt dAg] <<

>> kelly,,us torontoniions dont tawak like dat! <<

Yeah ya do. Toronto is cot-caught merged, and thus pronounced "hot dog" as either [hAt dAg] or [hOt dOg] ([A] is an unrounded "ah" sound, whereas [O] is a rounded version.) Because Toronto is part of the Third Dialect, the vowels in "hot dog" sound the same, whereas in for example the New York accent, it the vowels in the words "hot" and "dog" are different. The Toronto accent has very little in common with a New York or Midwestern US accent, but is practically identical to a Western US accent.


Toronto accent:
Western US/Western Canada accent:


New York accent:


Midwestern US accent:
MrNice   Mon Oct 30, 2006 3:49 am GMT
Yes, Toronto accent sounds more Californian than Midwestern(US) :)
Victoria   Sun Nov 12, 2006 4:22 am GMT
A New York City accent or people that are from places like brooklyn, the bronx, queens and staten island are horrid. They are the most dreadful accents I have ever heard, they sound as if the were never educated. You can hardly ever understand what their saying. The "gotti brothers" who live in Long Island, NY have them if you still researhing- I believe they have their own show on A&E.
AL   Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:52 am GMT
I disagree I've lived in Toronto for most of my life and now that i live in the south west everyone keeps asking me if I'm from NYC because of the way i talk. So, ya we do sound like New Yorkers and we do say hatdag and youse.
Josh Lalonde   Wed Feb 28, 2007 3:36 pm GMT
I'm from Ottawa (about 400 miles from Toronto) and have visited several times. I can safely say that Ottawa and Toronto vary only slightly, if at all. Our accent is certainly much closer to California's than to New York's. And yes, "hot dog" is [hA:t dA:g] in Canadian English. As for 'youse', I can't really comment about Toronto, but it is common in the Ottawa Valley (though not the city itself). It seems to be Irish in origin.
Delboy   Wed Feb 28, 2007 10:46 pm GMT
Cor blimey you lotve got sum lurnin to do, aincha? 'ey?. Yor over there givin it all thaat "its hatdag" this or "its hatdarg" that. Why dont ya just lurn propah English like what we speek in LunDin?.