dialect of Elena Kagan

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed May 12 17:13:46 UTC 2010

At 12:26 PM -0400 5/12/10, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
>On Wed, May 12, 2010 at 10:07 AM, Laurence Horn
><laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
>>  If you think a majority of New Yorkers, in particular a majority of
>>  middle-class and/or college educated Upper West Side New Yorkers in
>>  the 40-60 age bracket, are non-rhotic, you have an inaccurate or at
>>  best considerably outdated view of the facts.  Non-rhotic speech may
>>  be a stereotype of New Yorkers, but it's not (currently) accurate.
>>  As an anecdotal aside, my father, who grew up in Brooklyn in the
>>  first quarter of the 20th century, was non-rhotic, as were most of
>>  his (New York-based) coeval friends.  I, who grew up in Manhattan in
>>  the mid 20th century, have always been rhotic, as have all of my (New
>>  York-based) coeval friends.  Labov and I'm sure many others have
>>  written about the shift in rhoticity among New Yorkers since the
>>  World War II period.
>...as alluded to at the end of this so-so Daily News article on the
>"Queens accent"...
>--Ben Zimmer
Nice catch.  I see what you mean about the piece, but I did like the
reference to "the Queens English" for the variety associated with
Fran Drescher's "Nanny" and Carroll O'Connor's Archie Bunker.


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