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Why It’s Important To Be Proud Of Your New York City Accent

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Why It’s Important To Be Proud Of Your New York City Accent

Why It's Important To Be Proud Of Your New York City Accent - Sassy Townhouse Living

New York City is one of the most prominent and powerful cities in the world. Why wouldn’t I want to sound like I’m from there? Most of my life, I’ve never had a reason to think about my New York accent – until I moved to PA that is. After 22 years of living here, I had some harsh reminders of my “annoying” accent. Yes, people can and will find a reason to be cruel even when it comes to something as natural as one’s elocution. 

As soon as I was made self-conscious about my accent, I worked like hell to get rid of it. I had to think about every word that I spoke and made sure I was pronouncing it so it resonated with a generic meter as opposed to cut with a slice of New York City pizza. Living in PA was a real eye-opener at first; from the minute I opened my mouth around locals, I was made to feel like an outcast, an invader, and a spectator not a resident. 22 years later, most of the locals are gone and I’m surrounded by transplants from NY & NJ. Can you see my happy dance?

We – New Yorkers – are always getting the “Oh, I just love that NY accent”, or “The minute you opened your mouth, I  knew where you were from New York”, scenario. And, it’s said in the most belittling way possible, not in an “Oh wow, I love your accent” kind of way – like we love Brit accents here in the states. I honestly am not aware of any other state that has to endure elocution bashing as much as New York does – second in line would have to be New Jersey especially after that show Jersey Shore, I’d say we were neck to neck with them. 

Tom Wolfe

Well, folks, I’m here to tell you that no, it’s not OK to point out to a New Yorker that you are aware of their accent especially when you are a virtual stranger and feel it necessary to let us know that you are fully aware we sound like Tony Soprano – thank you very much for that insight I would have never realized that if it wasn’t for your brilliant and keen observation skills! 

Now, I’m not going to get into the different accents from New York ie. the Bronx accent, the Brooklyn accent, etc. but more so it’s about the entire perception of the New York accent that is of concern here. For example, In the past, I’ve had folks point out to me how I actually pronounce these words. 

Now, granted, I do not speak that way nor was my accent ever that distinguished, but I have has a recent encounter with someone who commented on one of my video tutorials commenting, “PS: I love how you say “mirra”; it is the cutest – And she left a happy face and all! Now, while I wasn’t highly offended at this comment as I knew she left it in a good-hearted nature, I took it as a left-handed compliment. I can now say that I will pronounce the word mirror with the greatest of care. I’m kind of sad though because now I’m self-conscious about saying it. You should see me practicing it – MIRROR, MI ROR, MI ROAR? It’s a mess now. 

I was taken aback at how even though my perceptions of my accent are virtually nonexistent, the harsh reality of it is it’s not. And that’s really OK! I’m proud to be from one of the greatest cities in the world. Being born in NYC holds very special and important family ties and traditions. I also lived for many years in Brooklyn too which is another whole accent bag of goodies. 

It’s also interesting when you Google “New York Accent”, much to my shock and dismay the keyword that’s tied to the search is the word “annoying”. I never thought of myself as sounding annoying! I’ve been told I like to talk a lot – which is another half-assed compliment too. So, if you don’t talk enough, people talk about you, and if you talk too much they do too. You just can’t win! Luckily, at this stage of the game, I’m not in it to win it. I’m in it to make myself happy, and I’ve finally arrived at that place and it’s as good as being raised in NY! 

Why It's Important To Be Proud Of Your New York City Accent
Annoying? Really? Ya know what’s annoying – being told I sound like I’m from NY!

New Yorkers are the most open-minded people you will ever meet. We accept everyone regardless of who or even what you are! I think the rest of country needs to take a good lesson from them. I guess I’m trying to raise a little awareness when it comes to commenting about anyone’s accent. Let’s try and be a little more tolerant and think about what we say before risking hurting someone’s feeling because after all – you might not even be aware you’re doing it. 

We don’t do calm very well, though. 

Keep Calm

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50 Comments

  1. As a New Jerseyite (or shall I say New Joisey-ite) I can relate but like you, I believe I come from the best state in the area so the hell with the haters. I love NYC and am so lucky to live close by so that I get to enjoy all the things it offers. And, I love that quote by Tom Wolfe!!

  2. Hi Claudia, lol. Yes! To hell with all the haters indeed! It’s so nice having folks that can relate to the bias we have to deal with. Thanks much for your comment it made my day! Hope to see you back again soon!
    Carolann

  3. Oh, I am so with you. We’ve lived in Southern California for 17 years now and whenever someone tells me I still have my New Yawk accent, I thank them. Will always be proud of it!

  4. I have a New-Yawk accent and I’m rather proud of it. I’ve also been media trained so I can let it go when I need to. It’s never let me down yet.

  5. I never had a thought about you having an accent, but as for me, I love to hear different accents. The subject of the root of accents kind of fascinates me.

  6. That’s good to know Sue. I think I’ve lost most of my NY accent with the exception of a few words. I think I’ll keep those lol. I like accents too regardless of where they are from. I think it makes a person more interesting! xo

  7. Carolann,

    Love when you write personal life story posts. This was thought-provoking — I’ll never comment on a former New Yorker’s accent again!

  8. A question. Never used (or saw) premium CommentLuv before. Where do you put the three keywords next to your name? (I guess this is a dumb question.) On the “name” line under Leave a Reply?

  9. Born in NY and raised in NJ I got it coming from all angles lol. Loved this post but I don’t even here OUR accents lol.

  10. Hi Diane, Oh CommentLuv is awesome. Once you install the plugin you set it up and it does all the work for you. You don’t have to put keywords…I’ve never seen it ask that before. Can you clarify?

  11. Aww Carolann, I had no idea you were from New York. I grew up here and spend a good chunk of my life here and as you probably know by now I’m back. I don’t know what kind of accent I have. I think though now that I’m thinking about it… I am greatly influenced by all of the New Yorkers around me and it starts to come out . I’ll be sharing this funny but truthful post so everyone will sit up and pay attention. After all this is the greatest city in the world.

  12. I’m an Aussie and our accent is very noticable – I’m always conscious of it if I do anything video-wise with my blogging because so many bloggers I connect with are from the US. I comment on accents because I love the variety and hadn’t realized that it might be a sore point for some people – I’ll have to keep it in mind for future reference because I’d hate to offend anyone.
    Leanne | http://www.crestingthehill.com.au

  13. I am from the South and I can tell you about accent bashing – makes me mad – which is why I would never do it to anyone else – I love to hear accents from all over its what makes the world go ’round people.

  14. Carolann, Texan here telling you that I’m proud of my accent too! On television and in the media southern accents are portrayed as less intelligent which is infuriating. There was a moment in time where I felt self-conscious about it but then decided to be proud. Your accent is part of who you are and where you come from.

  15. What an interesting post Carolann! I never realized that New Yorkers would be sensitive about accents, but I know I’m sometimes sensitive about my Southern accent, and as Stacey says above, we’re perceived as hicks, which is maddening. I was a tourist in England once, and I heard someone behind me mocking my accent. I guess it just happens. I thought it was funny at the time, but now I would probably be offended! I love your post, and your honest insights! When I was working in my profession as a nurse, I would have contacts all the time from people of all walks & talks. I could always tell when someone was not from the South. They would say, “I’ve been here 30 years!” I guess I offended them without meaning to. And my hubby is from Michigan, so you should hear HIS accent! He’s never lost his twang even after being here for 50 yrs plus!

  16. I’ve never thought of an accent to be an opportunity to exclude someone. Actually I don’t think in terms of exclusion. I am so curious about people, how they live, where they’re from, the excursions they’ve had. An accent cues me in to listen and learn about the person speaking. When I lived in California people mentioned my accent. It was odd. But I found more people in California from the Midwest than I found natives. LOL

    I love listening to the cadence of the words spoken by people from different places. It’s like a song to me. I hope that you continue to speak proudly. New York and it’s inhabitants sound like my kind of people.

  17. When I moved from eastern North Carolina in my early twenties at first I tried to adjust the way I said pee-CAN to the way THEY said PEE-con. But I hated it! So then I just avoided saying it for years. Then as I aged I finally realized that I wasn’t WRONG in the way I said it. In fact, I was just as right as they were! And now I proudly say peeCAN! I am proud of my heritage and I hold on to it and try not to lose ALL my NC accent. And when I say I love the way you say mirror, I mean that I LOVE the way you say it! period.
    :) gwingal

  18. What an interesting post! The comments are thought provoking, too It sounds like each accent has some negative cliche attached. That’s too bad, isn’t it? Being from Arkansas, my accent is Southern, but with a twang. For the record, I wear shoes, I have teeth, AND I did not marry a relative. If someone is unkind about my home state, I try to keep my sense of humor. It’s not always easy. Thank you for a great conversation thread! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

    Visiting from Fantastic 50 Blog Hop

  19. Thanks Mary, Yep, lived in NYC most of my life. My accent is mostly gone but there are a few words where you can tell – esp if I’m angry lol. Don’t you love NY? Thank you for sharing and yes, it’s truly the best!
    Carolann xo

  20. Carolann, That’s something I never would have thought about because I guess I love listening to so many accents. Our one daughter-in-law is from Australia, and our other daughter-in-law is from Texas. We love listening to each of them speak because of their accents. Some people think I speak with an accent, but I was born and raised in Michigan where I’ve always lived and personally I don’t think we have accents; but what would I know…lol.

  21. Hi Leanne, I love Aussie accents! Generally, it’s fun to talk about accents with folks but you can tell when someone is poking fun at you and not just having fun talking about them. That’s when it gets under my skin. It’s funny, you can always tell when someone is just having fun and when they are aiming to be mean-spirited. Have a wonderful weekend!
    Carolann

  22. Hi Sandy, Oh yes, Generally, it’s fun to talk about accents with folks but you can tell when someone is poking fun at you and not just having fun talking about them. That’s when it gets under my skin. It’s funny, you can always tell when someone is just having fun and when they are aiming to be mean-spirited. Have a wonderful weekend!
    Carolann

  23. Hi Stacey, Yep for sure! That’s the best attitude to have. Generally, it’s fun to talk about accents with folks but you can tell when someone is poking fun at you and not just having fun talking about them. That’s when it gets under my skin. It’s funny, you can always tell when someone is just having fun and when they are aiming to be mean-spirited. Have a wonderful weekend!
    Carolann

  24. Hi Florence, Thank you! Generally, it’s fun to talk about accents with folks but you can tell when someone is poking fun at you and not just having fun talking about them. That’s when it gets under my skin. It’s funny, you can always tell when someone is just having fun and when they are aiming to be mean-spirited. Have a wonderful weekend!
    Carolann

  25. Hi Nikki, You bring up such excellent points! Generally, it’s fun to talk about accents with folks but you can tell when someone is poking fun at you and not just having fun talking about them. That’s when it gets under my skin. It’s funny, you can always tell when someone is just having fun and when they are aiming to be mean-spirited. I love accents and am always in awe of most of them. Aussie accents are one of my favs! Have a wonderful weekend!
    Carolann

  26. Hi Nikki, lol I always say pee-can too. Yes! Being proud is all that matters. That’s mirror thing cracked me up…now, I’m so self-conscious of how I say it. lol. I mostly lost my NY accent cept for when I get pissed…lol then watch out. ha! Generally, it’s fun to talk about accents with folks but you can tell when someone is poking fun at you and not just having fun talking about them. That’s when it gets under my skin. It’s funny, you can always tell when someone is just having fun and when they are aiming to be mean-spirited. Have a wonderful weekend!
    Carolann

  27. Hi Marci, thank you! I love reading the comments. It’s so interesting to hear how others think about accents. I just love Southern accents! Generally, it’s fun to talk about accents with folks but you can tell when someone is poking fun at you and not just having fun talking about them. That’s when it gets under my skin. It’s funny, you can always tell when someone is just having fun and when they are aiming to be mean-spirited. Have a wonderful weekend!
    Carolann

  28. Hi Carol! I love Aussie accents! They are one of my favs for sure. Generally, it’s fun to talk about accents with folks but you can tell when someone is poking fun at you and not just having fun talking about them. That’s when it gets under my skin. It’s funny, you can always tell when someone is just having fun and when they are aiming to be mean-spirited. Have a wonderful weekend!
    Carolann

  29. Oh my goodness…growing up in Arkansas and moving to Indianapolis, I TOTALLY relate to this story. It is so interesting to hear you tell of your experiences. Thank you for sharing.

  30. It’s such a shame that people rip your accent off and make you self concious about it Carolann. People can be really thoughtless sometimes, we get ripped off often about our South African accents but I’m pretty proud of it and I think a NY accent is cool. It sounds so wordly

  31. I’m glad you wrote your post about your NY accent, Carolanne! I get asked where I’m from all of the time and I always think, uh, I was a military brat so I’m from many different states. I tend to pick up accents wherever I go so when in California, I sound like I’m from there. Now in Texas, I’m sounding a little more like I’m from here. :) Accents are beautiful and I love hearing people speak and trying to figure out where they are from; accents are fun! Thanks for a fun post and I’m happy to be on the Fantastic Fifty blog hop with you. <3

  32. Hi Rachel,
    Thanks much! Yes, there are some folks that are very upfront about commenting on one’s accent. You can always tell when someone is saying something, and not from a good place.
    Carolann

  33. Hi Michelle, Yes, they can be thoughtless for sure. You can always tell when they are trying to be snarky. I’ve lived in PA for over 25 years now so I lost much of my NY accent but there are a few words that folks will hone in on. I love different accents. I’m always intrigued by them. Thanks so much for stopping by to comment. Always good hearing from you!
    Carolann

  34. Hi Barbara, I agree. I love hearing various accent’s and am always intrigued by them. You must have had so much fun traveling around growing up. I am like that too….I tend to pick up an accent depending on where I am. thanks much for stopping by to comment. Have a great rest of the week.
    Carolann

  35. New York accents make me feel at home since I am originally from New York but upstate. I always tease my friends who are from the City and tell them anything north of NYC is upstate. Accents are part of us and who we are. For myself, I enjoy listening to people and their accents. I enjoy their stories of where they are from. It makes for a more interesting person.

  36. Hi Debra,
    I love listening to various accents too. I think you can always tell when someone is being snarky when they comment on the way one speaks. I love update NY. It’s always so beautiful to take a drive there. Thanks so much for stopping by and have a great rest of the week.
    Carolann

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