I’m from upstate New York originally, and when I lived there I heard no accents. I didn’t have one to my ears, my family didn’t have one and my friends didn’t have one. But now that I live in the South and I have picked up a Southern accent I can hear the Northern New York accent. Actually, it is more of a brogue to my ears when I hear it, and it’s funny (not ha ha funny but strange) that now I hear it with my ears.
When I lived in New York I could hear different accents from different regions of New York. New York City people sounded different than I did to my ears. People from Long Island sounded even more different. People from Rhode Island sounded even stranger to my ears, so much so that I had to really listen to understand them lol.
Then I moved to GA and boy did I get an awakening. People couldn’t understand me! My accent or brogue (which I didn’t hear) sounded strange to them. I was taking care of patients and he or she would say “where you from?” Another one said “Are you from Ohio?” I said No I’m from New York.
I had a cousin by marriage that had a funny accent to my ears. She was from somewhere beyond Troy, New York, but I don’t know where now. It was the way she pronounced her words mostly that sounded so different.
Here in the south it is regional. When I lived in Commerce, GA my accent and the way I pronounced my words sounded kind of backwoods, as someone said one day. I had picked up the dialect within 3 weeks time but my southern drawl was mixed with a bit of Northern brogue.
The way words are pronounced in different regions is different. For instance the word “radiator” was pronounced with a long A where I came from, but in other parts of New York the A was pronounced with an “ah” sound so that it sounded like rahdiator.
Phrases are different too here in the south than they are in the north. When I lived in Commerce the trunk of a car was called a ‘boot’ which I thought was only a British word for trunk. Here in Metro Atlanta it’s not called a boot, it’s called a trunk.
Up north if you didn’t understand something said you would say “;pardon?” and when I was in Commerce I learned to say “say what?” But it’s not spoken that way here that I know of.
I could go on and on, but that’s just a little smattering of it. I know it’s not just a family thing, because everyone I used to work with in Commerce talked that way. I pick up dialects fast, but everyone says they do hear a bit of New York in me. I remember one person said I sounded ‘cosmopolitan’ whatever that meant.
Previously published in Bubblews