Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New Orleans Accents

On browsing through YouTube videos of accents, I loved this clip featuring many different New Orleans accents:

Am I wrong to think that the very first woman in the video sounds like a New Yorker? The narrator later (at about 4:20) mentions people who "talk the famous Brooklyn-ese of the older city neighborhoods, the so-called 'yat' talk." Then, from about 5:25 to the very end, there are a couple of women who really sound like New Yorkers to me. They're hilarious.

UPDATE: Wikipedia confirms that the "Yat" dialect does sound like people from Brooklyn. Awesome. Although it's no wonder that real New Orleanians reportedly get very irritated whenever they're portrayed in movies as speaking like Scarlett O'Hara from Gone With the Wind.

As for the video below with Amy Walker speaking in 21 accents, here's a video that shows what some real Texans sound like. Also some Kentuckians from Appalachia, who have a delightfully thick accent.

The radio show at the beginning of that video brings back memories of growing up in Arkansas. I think it was my grandma who used to listen to exactly the same sort of radio program, where random local citizens would just call in to describe anything that they wanted to sell or just get rid of. It was like classified ads for poor or lower middle class people.

Probably the thickest accent I've ever heard (from a native English speaker) is in this next video. The guys who are sitting on a bench (42 seconds onwards) do seem to be speaking English, but darned if I can make out more than one or two words. At least they understand each other, which is what counts.


Blogger Cargosquid said...

Certain New Orleans accents can be described as a Brooklyn accent with a drawl....

8:16 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

My favorite was the Texans! They were a hoot!

Southeast GA has some very, very weird expressions and quite a pronounced accent, FYI.

8:22 PM  
Blogger ethan said...

The Midwestern tendency to see ourselves as accentless has always interested me (like that "normal" guy from Ohio). I'm from Missouri, on the border between the midland accent belt, the Western Appalachian sound of the Ozarks, and the Kansas drawl. But the people who sound accentless to *me* are Pacific Northwesterners. I've always wondered why.

9:36 PM  
Blogger Moonglade said...

Just as irritating are the portrayals of New Orleanians as all having Cajun accents e.g. The Big Easy. New Orleans isn't really Cajun country. If you visit New Orleans your chances are about 1/100 that someone you meet will sound like Justin Wilson or Bobby Boucher.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Casey Hutton said...

I am from New Zealand and to me the main difference in various American accents is the way 'R' is said. New Orleans 'R' sounds like 'ah' where New Yorkers etc. 'R' rolls off the tongue more. (I love the "N'arlins" *New Orleans* accent.)

11:51 PM  

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