New York City Dialect New York-ese, Lesson 4

Aileen Marshall

Hey guys! This is another typical New York City greeting. Welcome to lesson four in our series on the New York City dialect.

To recap last month’s lesson, the R is often dropped in words and replaced with an “ah” or “aw” sound. Our vocabulary words were heah, rivah and mawnin.  Here are some more examples of them used in a sentence.

Don’t ya just love it heah?

His body washed up on the East Rivah last night.

You gotta get up early in the mawnin to get a seat on the subway.

Other examples of the dropped R are water, fear and father. Here are some examples of these words used in a sentence.

New York City used to have the best tap wada in the country.

If you live in the city long enough, you lose your feah of roaches.

My fadda has a long commute downtown to work every day.

This month’s lesson:

Some words in the city dialect have an elongated A sound, sounding like “aw.” The most famous example is the word talk. In the city, it is pronounced “tawk.”

Here are some examples of words using the elongated A used in a sentence. These words are: tawk, thawt, dawg, and cawffe. Click on the links to hear the pronunciation.

What’s wrong with da way I tawk?

Da thawt of leavin never crossed my mind.

Da law says you have to pick up after your dawg.

He gets his cawfee from da same street cart every mawnin.

Another way to absorb the culture and language of the city is to go on a walking tour. There are numerous companies in the city that provide either guided tours, or maps for self-tours. Probably the most famous one is Big Onion Walking Tours. They are often led by a history graduate student who has been certified by the city. They have tours focusing on history, culture, architecture, and food. I suggest trying either the Brooklyn Heights or the Fort Greene tour to get a good look at how typical New York City residents live. Another good source to try is Frommers. They have a lot of good information on all sorts of tours and attractions in the outer boroughs. They have information on a replica trolley tour in the Bronx, a pizza tour in Brooklyn, and a guide to the various neighborhoods along the 7 train in Queens.

Watch next month for a lesson in the dropped H. It’s going to be huge.

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