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Friday, March 22, 2013

A New Yorker Tawks

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There is a distinct characteristic about accents that seem to stand out, no matter how much you try to improve it, whether you are from East Harlem, Brooklyn, New York or any other state or country. Accents are defined as a mode of utterance; pronunciation. Accents also reflect places of origin.

Several years ago I lived in Florida for a short time. One day while I was waiting on line to cash out my groceries, at the local super market, I was chatting with my friend when the man that was behind me, asked me a question.“Excuse me you’re from New York right?” Surprised, I looked at him and said, “Yeah! Why ya askin?” “Not for anything, but you talk with a unique accent.” “Whaddya mean accent?” I responded, feeling self-conscious. I was trying hard not to show my annoyance as I told him, “So whadsa madda wid da way Noo Yawkers tawk?” The man seeing that I was becoming defensive, answered immediately and without even the slightest hesitation, “Please don’t take offense, its just that you kind of talk like a hood” “Gedoutahea, I tawk like a hood?” I never realized that my East Harlem accent stood out, until the day this man brought it to my attention.

Naturally over the years my pronunciation has greatly improved, except for the holiday get-togethers with my nieces and nephew of the Italian side of the family from Yonkers, then it all comes back. Love it, love it, love it…

Here are a couple of words and expressions still being used by some Noo Yawkers. “Whaddya tawkin? Pronounced waddya talkin’ or wuddya talkin’. It simply means “what are you talking about?” or “what do you mean?”.“I’m a Noo Yawka, Didn’chat know that?” ” Gedoutahea, yer pudding me on! ” “Yeah, I kum fun Noo Yawk.” “Would ja ged a grip!” ” Did’ju or did’ja,” “Would’ju or would’ja, “. “Soopah (Super),” ” Fur sur I’m ohn the fawth floor,” “Wawda (water),” “I’ll have a tooner samwidge: (tuna sandwich),” ” I live on a hun’six near Toid”. “Gimme a cup of cawfy (coffee),” ” Who’s dat goil? (girl),” ” I shudda had my brudda over the udda day,” ” My mudda and fodda are goin downashaw ohn Lawnguylund, ” “Datsawayigoze (That’s the way it goes),” “Youse (you),” ” I wud be da foist to tell you if my brudda was na here,” “Fugheddaboudit! I ain’t saying nuttin,” “Gwan, gedoutahea before I call the cops” “Gimme a slizer pizzer anna soder.”

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