You Talkin’ to Me? looks like a fascinating book. My wife and I were native Midwesterners and had encountered a few NYC accents before we moved to Princeton for my graduate school. However, it was immersion language class not only for New Yawk accents but the plethora of other eastern accents. Friends and lab mates said, “Oh, you’re from way out west” (since you talk like it too). When we went back home for the first time in our second year at a party our old friends said we talked like New Yorkers. C’est la vie. After a few years I began to appreciate the wide range of accents native to a few hundred miles of Megalopolis from Boston to D.C. I’ve detected at least two varieties of NYC accents, the crisp, almost bitten-off speech of many and the mush-mouthed, incomprehensible speech of Cleveland Amory. After several years living in Allentown, Pa. (Pennsylvania Dutch), near Chicago (Da Bears), and briefly back to Minnesota (Uff da, Ya sure), I’ve been 16 years in Maine (Orono) and still learning all of the accents (wicked good, French, etc.). It’s been a lifelong education.
In Response to: Elyse Graham ’07 tells the history of New York City’s accent