25 February 2008

Lose The Noo Yawk Accent?! Fuggetaboudit!

I've lived in Brooklyn all my life, born and raised. I've been around the world but I've lost most of my accent thanks to voice over work in radio and the demand for non-regional voices in that field.

I have a few friends whose Brooklyn accents peek out here and there (mine included) but I've always thought it was a shame that the stereotypical Brooklyn accent is synonymous with this '├╝ber blue-collar, working class, I'm tough and dumb' type of thing.

Its tragic and Hollywood is definitely to blame by perpetuating and milking the stereotype to no end. I guess its hawd to sound well educated if ya tawk like dis but it's tragic, I tell ya, tragic! I mean, could you imagine Vinnie Barbarino doing a reading of William Blake's "Milton" at Carnegie Hawl?

And just as the Noo Yawk accent leads many to assume the person is dumb, when we hear an English accent we assume the person is fucking brilliant (me included). Tell it to me in an English accent and I'll believe it.

Then again, I feel like more people pretend to have the coveted 'Noo Yawk' accent then actually do. For instance any time we'd run into someone on tour who'd moved away from New York, inevitably they'd speak to us with this thick cartoon-like Brooklyn accent, almost as if they were laying it on extra thick in our presence. And we'd be like "Dude, we don't even talk like that and we still live there!" I'll tell ya, it was bizarre.

Anyhoo, check out an interesting article on Gothamist about New York City accents changing with the times. Personally, I still favour for the old money Mid-Atlantic accent. Unfortunately the article has to reference Archie Bunker and I fucking hated that show.

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