Wednesday, May 12, 2010
No such thing as a Queens accent?
From the Daily News:
There's a slew of ways to prove you're from Queens. Maybe you're a die-hard Mets fan, or you've perfected the art of crossing Queens Blvd., or you recognize the Unisphere from a mile away.
But one thing that won't prove you hail from the borough is the way you speak, insist experts and some notable Queens natives. That, or the Queens English is fast becoming a dead dialect.
"No offense to my brothers and sisters in Queens who feel that there is [a Queens accent], but I really don't think so," said Forest Hills-born actor Hank Azaria.
"I didn't hear it, and I have a pretty sensitive ear," said Azaria, a chameleon of diction who voices several of the characters on "The Simpsons."
But some locals beg to differ.
"I would say I have a Queens accent," said Frank Barone, 62, a cobbler who has lived in Astoria for 44 years. "We all speak New York slang, but there's a slight difference between boroughs."
Despite the fact that proud locals insist their borough has its own dialect - with drawn-out vowels and a distinct nasal sound - it's just a run-of-the-mill New York accent you're hearing on the streets of Queens, said the city's top linguists.
"People claim that there is a difference, but no one has been able to show it," said Michael Newman, a linguist and Queens College professor.
People are wondering where our street games went, too.