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Expert: New York accent on the wane

Jan. 20, 2012 at 12:35 PM   |   Comments

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NEW YORK, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- A language expert said many of the defining characteristics of the New York accent are fading as stigma surrounding the accent increases.

Kara Becker, an assistant professor of linguistics at Oregon's Reed College who obtained her Ph.D. in linguistics from New York University, said New Yorkers feel pressured to alter their accents because of negative perceptions, the New York Post reported Friday.

She said recent research indicates U.S. residents view the New York accent as the second-least "correct," after the Southern accent, and many associate the accent with negative portrayals in the media of gangsters, comedians and unpleasant characters such as Archie Bunker from "All in the Family."

Becker said New Yorkers in particular are more often working to pronounce the final "r" in a word, a lack that was once a defining feature of the accent.

However, she said some features of the New York style of speaking are still going strong.

"We still wait 'on line' for instance, not 'in line,' as most of the rest of the country," Becker said.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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