Learning a New York Accent

Posted: January 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

I’m going to be in a play this year, and my character (a teenage tough-guy named Clovis) has to speak in a Brooklyn accent (actually, any kind of New York accent, but our teacher suggested a Brooklyn accent since it’s the strongest). This is really something new for me, but I can kind of do one – sort of. In order to learn what a New York accent sounds like, one of my friends suggested that I watch a lot of “Happy Days”. This was a helpful suggestion. I also found a YouTube video that gives you all the sound changes for the accent. For example, they tell you that the “aw” sound in “thought,” “coffee,” and “awkward” become a diphthong, like “thuawght,” “cuawffee,” and “uawkward.” If you’re trying to learn a Brooklyn accent, you can find it here – it’s pretty good!

Trying to speak with a New York accent got me to thinking, “Who settled in various parts of the United States giving the people of that area their particular accents? Why do people have New York accents, Virginian accents, or Texan accents? What makes their speech different?” I read in wikipedia that the New York accent came about because a lot of immigrants moved there and their accents blended to make the New York accent. Well, wikipedia isn’t exactly the most reliable source to go to, but that’s what I read there.

In any case, I hope I can perfect my Brooklyn accent before the play happens in April. If you have any advice that you think would be helpful, I’d be glad to hear it!

by John

  1. Andy Oldham says:

    Good luck my friend. Can you record a few sentences and post it for us!

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