Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1993 20:43:31 EST From: David Bergdahl Subject: loss of dialect distinctiveness Ohio University Electronic Communication Date: 30-Nov-1993 08:42pm EST To: Remote Addressee ( _MX%"ADS-L[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UGA.CC.UGA.EDU ) From: David Bergdahl Dept: English BERGDAHL Tel No: (614) 593-2783 Subject: loss of dialect distinctiveness In response to the remark about the loss of a distinctive NY-accent I offer the following. Although I left Brooklyn in 1942 and moved to Nassau County I had an identificable "Brooklyn" accent well into my youth. I remember in 1950--Mario Lanza's song "Be My Love" was the big hit--at my aunt's house after church using "Earl" for "Oil" and vice versa--my cousin Lois had a boyfriend named Oil who worked in an earl station. But nobody at school remarked upon it. When the great outmigration from the city started in the 1950's I was one of the local--i.e. Long Island--kids rather than a city kid. So I know that as a kid I had a strong dialect. Since 1958 when I went to college--and was teased by upstate and Penn kids over my pronunciation of "coffee" &c.--I've lived outside metropolitan NY, first in Syracuse, then Boston, then Syracuse again and for the last 25 years SouthEast Ohio. My dialect has moderated, but Ohioans still identify me as "eastern." Now this is a long preamble of a tale, but I had the occasion this fall to visit my daughter Anya who's a grad student at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Not only did I hear few "classic" Brooklyn accents but my daughter's boyfriend--from LI--affirmed that the "classic" [or should I say stereotypical?] dialect features aren't salient any more. Moreover, he couldn't recognize my dialect as "native' to the area. Perhaps with a different ethnic make up, the "city dialect" founded on Irish, Jewish and Italian immigrant pronunciations is already outdated. A decade ago I was told by the English chair that the three largest ethnic groups at Queens College were Carribeans, Central American Hispanics and Israelis. Maybe we should look to them for the new accommodation model. David Bergdahl Ohio University/Athens "Gateway to West Virginia" BERGDAHL [AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] OUVAXA.CATS.OHIOU.EDU Received: 30-Nov-1993 08:43pm