New Jersey English

New Jersey English

New Jersey is dialectally diverse, with many immigrants and transplants from other states, and two regions of the state overlapping with other dialect areas, New York City and Philadelphia. According to "The Atlas of North American English", some European American residents of the areas closest to New York City are New York Dialect speakers; and some European Americans in southern New Jersey speak with an accent similar to that of Philadelphians, and other parts of the state show continuity with neighboring regions of Pennsylvania. [Labov, et al. 2001] Fact|date=July 2008

The so-called North Jersey accent heard in parts of the northeast quarter of northern New Jersey.Fact|date=July 2008 This is the part of the state which is in New York City's metropolitan area, including Rutherford and Rahway, but it is not part of the New York Dialect area. For instance, it is rhotic and lacks a "short a split". New York City shibboleths like "hero" are less used than the less regionally distinct "sub" or "submarine" (sandwich on baguette style bread). One example of this accent is the speech of the founder of variationist sociolinguistics William Labov.Fact|date=July 2008

Residents of the beachfront communities north of Atlantic City tend to have a New York influence and those to the south have a Philadelphia influence, perhaps because of the large number of residents from those areas who visit during the summers.Fact|date=July 2008 Some residents of Ocean and Atlantic Counties speak with an accent that includes New York and Philadelphia influences.

Contrary to popular belief, rarely anybody in New Jersey refers to the state as IPA| [dʒɒɪzi] , typically written as "Joisey". That pronunciation of the middle vowel as IPA| [ɒɪ] instead of the standard American IPA| [ɝ] is only residual in the New York Dialect as described above. In some parts of the New York metropolitan area the term "Jersey" is used to refer to the state as a whole, or as an adjective as in "Jersey Tomatoes."

Notable speakers with a New Jersey accent

*Danny DeVito [cite web|url=|title=Danny DeVito: Biography|publisher=allmovie|author=Flint Marx, Rebecca|accessdate=2008-07-28]
*James Gandolfini [cite web|url=|title=At Home with "The Sopranos"|publisher="Commentary Magazine"|author=Plotinsky, Benjamin A.|date=July/August 2007|accessdate=2008-07-28] [cite web|url=|title=Gandolfini sings|publisher="The Star-Ledger"|author=Rose, Lisa|date=November 2007|accessdate=2008-07-28]
*Ed Harris [cite web|url=|title='Enemy at the Gates': Mighty Scope, Bad Aim|publisher="The Washington Post"|author=Hunter, Stephen|authorlink=Stephen Hunter|date=2001-03-16|accessdate=2008-08-03]
*Artie Lange [cite web|url=|title=Stern und Lange: Comedian Gets Dream Job With Howard|publisher="The New York Observer"|author=Gay, Jason|date=2001-12-02|accessdate=2008-07-28]
*Ray Liotta [cite web|url=|title='I'm in tune with my feelings'|publisher="The Guardian"|author=Iley, Chrissy|date=2007-04-09|accessdate=2008-07-28] [cite web|url=|title=INTERVIEW: Goodfellas Ray Liotta: and how I learned that you should never steal from a wise guy|author=Phillips, Andrew|publisher="GW Hatchet"|date=2003-01-16|accessdate=2008-07-28]
*Frank Sinatra [cite web|url=,,20125409,00.html|title=A Swinger with Swagger|publisher="People"|author=Tresniowski, Alex|coauthors=Lacayo, Richard|date=1998-06-01|accessdate=2008-07-28]
*Bruce Springsteen [cite web|url=|title=When the Boss Fell to Earth, He Hit Paradise |publisher="The New York Times"|author=Holden, Stephen|authorlink=Stephen Holden|date=1992-08-09|accessdate=2008-07-28]
*Steven Van Zandt [cite web|url=|title=|title=A Little classic rock|publisher=Jam!|author=Armstrong, Denis|date=2003-06-26|accessdate=2008-07-28]
*Frank Vincent [cite web|url=,2540,230,00.html|title=Killing Time with Frank Vincent|publisher="Cigar Aficionado"|author=Savona, David|date=2006-06-07|accessdate=2008-07-28]
*Bruce Willis [cite web|url=|title='Sixth' a chilling look at haunted 8-year-old|publisher="San Francisco Chronicle"|author=Morris, Wesley|authorlink=Wesley Morris|date=1999-08-06|accessdate=2008-07-28]
*The Angry Video Game Nerd

New Jersey accents in movies and television

The New Jersey accents in movies and television are usually inauthentic.Fact|date=July 2008 In most cases, the actors use New York accents insteadndash for instance in "The Karate Kid".Fact|date=July 2008

They often simply use actors from New Yorkndash usually Brooklyn, Queens, or Long Islandndash to play New Jerseyans, as was done in the long running HBO series "The Sopranos". One exception is James Gandolfini, a native speaker who portrayed mobster Tony Soprano. After the first season they gave him a voice coach, who transformed his natural North Jersey accent into something more Brooklyn.Fact|date=July 2008

Even when filmmakers strive to capture authentic New Jersey accents, they often fail.Fact|date=July 2008 Russell Crowe, for instance, speaks with a dialect belonging more to eastern Massachusetts than to Essex County, NJ, his character's setting in "American Gangster".Fact|date=July 2008

ee also

* Regional Vocabularies of American English


*Labov, William (1982) "The social stratification of English in New York City" Center for Applied Linguistics ISBN 0-87281-149-2
*Labov, William (1994) "Principles of Linguistic Change: Volume 1: Internal Factors" Blackwell ISBN 0-631-17914-3
*Labov, William, Ash, S. and Boberg, C. (2001) "Atlas of North American English" DeGruyter ISBN 3-11-016746-8
*Labov, William (2001) "Principles of Linguistic Change: Volume 2: Social Factors" Blackwell ISBN 0-631-17916-X
*Wolfram, Walt & Nancy Schilling Estes (2005) "American English" 2nd edition Blackwell ISBN 1-4051-1265-4
*Wolfram, Walt & Ward, Ben (2005) "American Voices: How Dialects Differ from Coast to Coast" Blackwell ISBN 1-4051-2109-2


External links

* [ Varieties of English: New York City phonology] from the University of Arizona's Language Samples Project
* [ William Labov's webpage] There are links to many sites related to dialects, including references to his early work on New York dialect and the Atlas of North American English.

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