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you've got a killer scene there, man

You spend some time hanging out with a Californian and you learn a lot about how the English language can be mutilated.

However, that Californian will turn that around by saying "you spend some time hanging out with a New Yorker and you learn a lot about how funny people can sound when they don't talk just like you."

It's not about accents, per se, but about inflection and word usage. It's a dialect thing. Ok, it is an accent thing, too. I mean, no one thinks they have an accent. But when you pick up the phone and talk to a person on the other side of the country and they sort of snicker at the way you say cawfee, you realize that while you may sound perfectly ok to your fellow Long Islanders, you sound pretty damn funny to a guy from Sacramento.

And maybe the guy from Sacramento doesn't exactly have an accent, although he stretches some vowels out and lingers on certain consanants, and kind of sounds like Jeff Spicoli sometimes, he does use certain words that let anyone who talks to him know precisely what part of the country he's from.

The thing is, New Yorkers rarely deny they have an accent. Same for people from Boston or Fargo or Texas. But ask a Californian (especially a Northern one) and they will deny to their last breath that they speak anything but perfect, unadulterated English when they actually sound very much like they learned how to speak from watching Cheech and Chong's Up in Smoke.

Stop living in denial, Californians. Ya'll talk funny.

Really, I'm just trying an east siiiiiiide/west siiiiiiide fight here.

Comments

you left your i open!

When you get into the far, far reaches of NoCal, like around Weed and further north, they all sound like Oregonians. Who tend to put the accent on the first syllable of words. They go to YOO-jeen. They have INsurance on their rig (outside of Portland and Eugene, otherwise they have INsurance on their car.)

check it out dude

we don't talk funny, dude

Like, at least the lawyers here don't tell people they're "on trial," like, you know, as though they are a defendant, when they really mean they are "in trial," you know, like, as in representing some dude who fer sher really is on trial.

And you know, like when we stand in a queue for concert tickets, we totally don't say we're "on line," because most of us don't have internet access while we're standing in the line of ticket purchasers. You know what I'm sayin'?

Of the entire world, it's only New York City who substitutes "on line" for "in line" and "on trial" for "in trial." Even us Spicoli dudes can keep that straight.

I take it back: It's not just NYC. My ex-girlfriend from Westchester, another lawyer, used to perpetuate the same confusion.

I haven't noticed it in upstate, or in any other US state. I've stood "in" line and I've been "in" trial in nearly all the states, and only the NYC area seems to be "on" something.

You're dead on, Michele - the NorCal accent is a (slightly) milder version of Tommy Chong.

The earliest home I can remember was in Portland, then Eugene, then Modesto, California. Now I live in the Midwest - my accent tends to be hard to pin down.

That said, I tend to unintentionally match the manner of speech of any conversational partner. There are a million and three accents around the country, and I think they're all fascinating.

Except those that use the words "warsh" and "crick". Nails on a chalkboard.

Ok, mutilation of the language aside, I am always amazed by Northeastern accents. They are so strong and distinguishable, and they can change every time you cross the turnpike.

Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island: The old-timers from each of those bureaus sound different.

Upper East side of Manhattan; different.

West side; different.

Long Island; different.

Westchester; different.

Upstate; radically different.

Newark; different.

Cherry Hill; different.

Philadelphia; different.

Wilmington; different.

Rhode Island; different.

Boston; different.

Western Mass; different.

All these places have very distinguishable accents, and it blows me away. WTF?

In general, I think you can tell if a person is from Northern Cal, Southern Cal, or the inland valleys. But the diffferences are more subtle, I think.

As long as you don't sound like one of those goddamn Aussies, you're ok. "Crikey mate! Me's graduated the 3rd grade! Oy!"

The fact is that everyone who does not speak BBC English has an accent. Californians are bizarre in the way that a: They deny they have an accent, and
b: They have a marginal propensity to want to screw anything with a foreign accent.

Also, they can't tell accents from shit. People in Cali always ask me what part of England I'm from. It's the Australian part. You can tell because I say 'mate' a lot, my skin is not translucent and I can play sport.

Hey. I resemble that remark!

And when did you start blogging here again?

b: They have a marginal propensity to want to screw anything with a foreign accent.

well if you don't have tits, you have nothing to worry about, mate

:)

Jefferson's Brother: My brother's gonna kill us! He's gonna kill us! He's gonna kill you and he's gonna kill me, he's gonna kill us!
Jeff Spicoli: Hey man, just be glad I had fast reflexes!
Jefferson's Brother: My brother's gonna shit!
Jeff Spicoli: Make up your mind, dude, is he gonna shit or is he gonna kill us?
Jefferson's Brother: First he's gonna shit, then he's gonna kill us!
Jeff Spicoli: Relax, alright? My old man is a television repairman, he's got this ultimate set of tools. I can fix it.

"BOROUGHS," Mark!

Think, "Spanish donkeys," but don't roll yer Arrghs!

When I moved to LA from Florida I was confused by the slang "jacked". If I said my computer was all jacked up, I meant that it was on the fritz, that something was wrong with it. Here in LA, though, if someone says their computer is jacked up, they mean it is tricked out, really cool. At my first job a guy was telling me that his laptop was jacked up and I asked if he needed my help with it ...

Native Angelino here.

If some CA's think they have "no accent" it because a great deal of our pronunciation is bland enough that it has become the default "American" accent of tv, radio and movies. Especially So. CA.

Though, even has the edges of regional accents are blunted and filed down in a basin area that stretches with cities/towns/neighborhoods from ocean to mountains, differing accents creep into that "bland" accent from time to time.

From a grandmother from Michigan, I still say "Warshington"

f some CA's think they have "no accent" it because a great deal of our pronunciation is bland enough that it has become the default "American" accent of tv, radio and movies.

see

thats what i was getting at with michele. we have the default accent dammit.

i realize that alot of us speak funny but

cause of tvs and movies, we have the "correct" way to speak

so screw all of you

i talk fine

hehehe

having lived 10+ years on each coast, i have come to the conclusoin that he the biggest difference in language between california and the rest of the united states can be summed up in this one soda .vs. pop like example:

in, say atlanta, it is jesus, pronounced gee-sus... meaning "our lord and savior"

in california, it is jesus, pronounced hey-sue-s... meaning "our gardener"

welcome back to the internets. :)

Everybody uses a different dialect. None of us is "right" while others are wrong, including speakers of so-called BBC English or RP. I mean, if we're going to take it back that far, why not go all the way back to the roots of modern English to French and German and say those languages are even more right?

And to reiterate what a couple of folks here have already said, the reason Californians tend to think they don't have accents is because everyone on TV and in movies talks like we do. It's a coincidence that it's turned out that way, but insofar as there is such a thing as Standard American English (linguists agree there isn't actually such a thing, but we can agree there are certain features Americans will agree are "standard"), Californians speak it. I learned that Ohioans speak it too, but we don't distinguish the vowels in "caught" and "cot" like they do.

Language is hard.