Monday, February 25, 2008

Crappy's on the terlet

AM-NY's trying to determine what a real native NYC accent is. They skipped Queens.

In search of the true New York accent

To be sure, it's been a long time since anyone called a toilet a "terlet."

Not true. If only they had visited Queens and talked to my grandmother...


Anonymous said...

I've tried to avoid a "New York" accent for years; frankly, it sounds idiotic.

What do NYers have against the letter "r"? It's just as good as any other letter. Popular, even.

Queens Crapper said...

My mother adds Rs to words that don't have them. "What's the idear?"

Anonymous said...

many NYers also affix "g's" to their words, in addition to "r's."

"Damn this &#$@ GRRRidlock! Grrr, Grrr."

Anonymous said...

F--k youse all!

I'm a prowd native NooYawker!

And if I want to sit on the terlet and scratch me "arse"
(to throw a little Cockney accent in)
ats my bizness too luv!

After all, aren't we supposed to be part of a
vibrant "mosaic" in our tweeded borough
of Queens?

Anonymous said...

Haahaa, my grandmother said terlet as well. My mom drops the ts in 'bottle' (I think that's called a glottal stop) which a snooty linguistics professor once told me only lower class Londoners did.

It's actually a shame that America's regional accents are disappearing. I heartily disagree with the anonymous poster who says they sound idiotic.

The "NY accent" (whatever that is) represents our history and bears the markers of every group of people that has come into our city. Maybe our anonymous friend should change the link at the bottom of their post to

dave in milwaukee said...

You can't get more "Queens" than my beloved grandfather, who grew up in
"de Bronx" but lived in Astoria for most of his adult life. He was a motion picture operator and "woiked" in "de boot" (projection booth) at "de Colony" in Jackson Heights, and other theaters. In those pre-microwave days, he would take his with him to work, and would re-heat it in "de brerler" (electric broiler).

He served proudly in World War II and belonged to several "Vetrins" organizations. And if he was talking to two people he'd address them as "de boat a yiz."

Anonymous said...

My niece was told
that she had a speech impediment
when she moved from NYC
to the boonies in Colorado.

She pronounced the word caught as "kawt".....
and was corrected by hick westerners
into pronouncing it as "cott"!

"Hey, the law just cott up with Jessie James".

lad1818 said...

When I was a kid growing up in Queens I was astonished to find out that "idear" was really "idea" - I still think "idear" sounds right.

I've lived in Los Angeles for 20 years and am usually told that I have no accent. But when I encounter someone with a NY accent I just want to talk to them forever...

Anonymous said...

My childhood buddy folks moved to Queens from Greepoint or rather Greenpernt! They were classic Bunker types, he a construction crane operator and she a home maker with plastic covers and naked cherubs all over the living room.

They pronounced oil as earl, sewer as sour and spagetti as spragetti! My buddy speaks this way today and he now lives in Florida.

Anonymous said...

I am a PA native and have been living in NY for the last few years. I do notice an accent developing, but I'm not quite 'terlet trained' yet.

I'll have to break out the All in the Family DVDs for some home study.

Anonymous said...

My mom also says terlet, she has problems with words with "oil" in them. Because of her for most of my life instead of saying oil I called it earl.

Anonymous said...

The three stooges also called it 'earl'. They were from bensonhurst so that fits.

Anonymous said...

Well I don't know about you guys but I used to play in the gutter (prounounced "da guttah") NOT the street.

To Andy-Looney:
I am a native NYer now living in Pa. I try telling the locals that they are the folks with the accent. I mean, it's "Lan-cas-tuh" not "Lang-kest-er" ;-)

Anonymous said...

I'm from Ridgewood. My family and I moved upstate when I was young; my father's accent is still strong but mine has faded to the point of being vestigial. Oddly enough, whatever trace of a North Brooklyn/Southwestern Queens accent I still have becomes a little more distinct when I'm pissed off. As my girlfriend once told me, "When you're angry, your father's voice comes out of your head."

My late grandfather had a real old-school NB/SWQ accent... I wish I had a recording of his voice. Here's a few things I remember: German was "joimen", battery was "battree", radiator was "raddiatuh", bottle was "bah-ul", mobile was "mobeel", etc. I believe he may have used the "-erl" for "-oil" sound as well, but I don't remember for sure. All of these are archaic and have pretty much disappeared from the speech of New Yorkers born and raised after WWII, although if you listen really closely you can sometimes hear them (especially the "oi" sound) in a very softened form.

I'm proud of being a native Ridgewoodite and I would love to hold on to what's left of my accent. Problem is, if you THINK about your accent, then your speech becomes affected, like an actor's, and it sounds fake or contrived.