Originally Posted by kunk10
for the record i have no accent.
Neither do I. There are actually several accents on Long Island, depending on location, ethnicity, social class and duration of residence.
As a geographical area Long Island has had more influences than many more insular areas, so there are a variety of ways that people speak and several sub-dialects.
I'm not a linguist, but I lived there for over 45 years and did some reading on the subject.
It was spurred when I went to college in Massachusetts as a Freshman and was put in a dorm with kids from at least twenty states.
Not surprisingly, "accent talk" came up quite a bit.
People were surprised when I said that I was "from Long Island" because I "didn't have that accent". When people attempted to imitate the accent they used the infamous "Lawn-Guy-Land" pronunciation of LI as an example, and honestly, I was confused. No one I had ever met who was from Long Island spoke that way. (and I have to add, I've still never met anyone who does)
One of my first friends in the dorm other than my room mate was a girl names Karen from Lawrence. Some one introduced us because we were "both from Long Island" When we met everyone was surprised that I'd never been to Lawrence and she had only been to Oyster Bay once - on a class trip to Sagamore Hill.
People also noticed something else. We spoke differently. She had a more traditionally "Brooklyn accent" but softened Her "r"s were softer than mine or non existent, where as mine were and are pronounced. That long southern state with palm trees that LIers are so fond of visiting? Karen called it "Flaahrida" I prounce it "Floor i da" And she referred to that round fruit that they grow down their as an "Ahh -renge."
The LI accents seem to be the following
1. Native Long Island. - People who did not migrate to LI from Brooklyn Queens and The Bronx, but moved directly here either for agricultural purposes or to work in industries associated with estates, or to open stores and restaurants or to work in the fishing and boating trades. There people arrived from the 1600s through the 1930s.
They are located along the North Shore in municipalities that pre-dated the suburban post war influx, and on the East End on both the north and south shores and Shelter Island.
There are some peculiar phrases and pronunciations - I grew up among these folks, but I can't think of one off hand. If anyone can, I'd love to here it. Some refer to these natives as "Bonikers" - I only heard the word about 20 years ago and I have no idea of it's derivation. Perhaps it's a corruption of barnacles?
On the North Shore, suburbanites just refereed to them as "Townies" and they refereed to us as "City people"
The accent sounds somewhat like a New England accent. It's fading, but it can still be heard.
2. South Shore LI, suburban - The "Long Island accent most associated with LI by outsiders. Different from Brooklynese but film and TV dialect coaches confuse them. It's softer and slower, with more features of Standard American English. Also spoken by sububanites in the center of the Island - Hicksville, Levittown etc. "Long Island Medium" sports an extreme version of this accent. Most people in these geographical areas have some roots in Brooklyn, or central or southern Queens. (One parent or grand parent.) And there are three major ethnic groups in that area. Pronounce "Marry" "Merry" and "Mary" in three separate and distinct ways.
The word "vary" may be pronounced "Vaary" with no diphthong. Contractions such as "wouldn't" may be pronounced "wunt". Not ALL speakers do this, but some do. Differences among ethnic groups are strong.
3. North Shore LI, suburban - Very close to SAE, with some inflections that are North East. For example North Shore suburbanites still practice the "caught" "cot" differentiation. ( as all Long Islanders do)
In other words "caught" in "caught" the "u" is pronounced. So "caught" sounds different from "cot". (in SAE Standard American English there is no difference)
"Marry" "Merry" and "Merry" are pronounced with varying degrees of difference - not exactly the same, but the difference is more slight.
Younger speakers may have a "California" type accent.
Little difference along ethnic groups.
4. Locust Valley Lock Jaw - Like the Howells on Gilligan's Island.
Spoken by the very wealthy.
Most people in LV, OB, The Brookvilles etc, do not speak this way, but
it can be heard.
5. South Shore and middle Long Island underclass. - Like South Shore but harder and more intense. "R"s are sometimes pronounced and sometimes not. Liberal use of regional expressions and poor grammar, especially double negatives.
Although I now live in PA, I will NEVER, EVER pronounce "cot" the same as "caught" It's just plain wrong.
I am sure that when I have grand kids someday, that they will think that I