Italian-Americanisms? or regionalisms?

Joanne M. Despres jdespres at MERRIAM-WEBSTER.COM
Mon Jul 8 15:41:50 UTC 2002

The more standardized pronunciations could be the result of class
consciousness in many cases, I suppose.  I don't think of my
mother and aunt as particularly uncomfortable with their Sicilian
roots, though.  If they've changed their parents' Italianized
pronunciations, it would probably be in the direction of
anglicization, or maybe orthographic pronunciation, rather than
improved Italianization.  I notice that my mother, who's the younger
of the two, has a slightly more assimilated pronunciation and
outlook than my aunt (she married a non-Italian, for example, and
she pronounces certain words like "sandwich" in the American
fashion, whereas my aunt calls it a "SANGwich," a partly
Anglicized variant of my grandmother's "sangWEEchu.").

My impression of immigrant families in general is that the elder
children tend to hew more to the native ways, linguistically and
culturally, than the younger ones.


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