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Can't Shake the Long Island Accent

by Anonymous
(Former Long Islander)

I grew up on Long Island, and lived there for over 30 years. A few years ago I moved to the Midwest, where I am constantly asked about my accent. For some reason I get annoyed if someone asks if I am from Boston.

I had no idea how pronounced our Long Island accent was, until I moved. Why do we drop the R’s, and say rememba instead of remember? Why do we say motha instead of mother? Yet we throw an 'R' at the end of the word idea, making it idear?

Long Islanders, and New Yorkers in general, have this respect, which I don't think a lot of us realize. We are tougher, harder, and more direct than most people outside of the area. New York is extremely competitive.

There are so many little details of Long Island that I miss, such as the Greek diners that are open 24 hours, and order a gyro not a yero and have the waitress write it down, without correcting my pronunciation.

I miss the pizzerias that sell pizza by the slice... yes; they are rare outside of New York! And don't think you can walk into a pizza place outside of NY, and ask for a pie. They'll hand you their dessert menu. Don't forget to mention to cut the pizza (not pie) into slices! Otherwise, you'll get it cut into squares... yes, a round pie cut into squares. I don't get it either.

It took me 3 months to find a bagel shop that had lox on the menu. I had to drive 40 minutes from my house to find it, and it really wasn't the same. They looked at me funny for ordering an onion bagel with lox and a schmear. I confused the hell out of them, they said nobody ever orders the “smoked salmon.”

I ordered a soda, they brought me pop. I looked for a Carvel, they have Dairy Queens (I can't complain - DG is GREAT!) I go for a burger, they go for a Sonic. I said to the waiter, “where's my freakin water,” (with a smile of course) I get kicked out for disorderly conduct.

I miss it when I'm not there, and when I go back to visit, I can't stand it!

Long Island is a world on its own.

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Nov 16, 2017
Don't want to lose my accent !
by: Joshyny

I'm 30 years old. I was born on long island, moved out west for a few years as a kid and moved back to the island in fourth grade. I grew up in Nassau, mostly in the long beach area but lived in hicksville. I just moved to Minnesota over the summer and I love it here , I just don't want to pick up the accent lol. 23 of my 30 years were spent on Long Island, and my mom grew up in the Bronx so I'm very proud of my New York roots. I'm like consciously trying to maintain my lawnguyland accent lol But for real I am totally loving the Midwest the people are so friendly and the pace is much slower

Feb 23, 2015
Love my accent
by: Ny til I die

If people don't think Long Islanders don't have and accent you are crazy ! My sisters and I accent is so heavy we some times stop ourselves and say to one another you're sounding too NY for me right now tone it down lol!!! The Long Island medium for example her accent is over the top , the RnB/pop singer Ashanti has a heavy accent as well , it's just in us . My grandmother has been living down south for 30 years she still says "hua" instead of "her". I don't think I will ever say talk and walk how the rest of the US says it EVER!! it's just to hard and that's what makes me stand out (besides my wonderful fashion sense) when I'm away and I love it. I ❤ NY

Jan 18, 2015
Missing Long Isand
by: Anonymous

Long Islanders do NOT have an accent. The others do, not us. I grew up in Brentwood with families that all moved out from Brooklyn. Great way to grow up. I live in central New York, in Utica. Wonderful people, beautiful scenary. Only one Bagel place that makes real bagels (anybody wanting to open a True bagel shop can make a killing here), what passes for pizza is nuts, only a few decent places, from LI natives of course. I will always be a Lawn Guy lander!

Oct 28, 2014
by: Ian

Thanks for writing this, it's was great to read! I've been living in Japan for a few years now and I'm encouraged always as a language teacher to "lose my accent". Even went I went home to visit, my family said I lost my accent a bit. I find that when I speak with other native English speakers here though I automatically go right back to my LI accent. Now that I've started studying linguistics and the lot I've started to take a slight pride in my accent and it's history. Just consider yourself lucky you're still in the States! If I don't use a standard accent most of my students, even the really high level ones, don't understand me at all! Best wishes!

Jan 10, 2013
by: Anonymous

You can take an LIer out of LI, but you can never take the LI out of an LIer ;)

Jun 10, 2012
long island and pizza
by: Merokee

I agree too. I didn't notice at first. I'm in Fla. temporary. I miss home. Long Island was the best place to grow up. Central to everything. You want the city, you got it. You want the country got that too. Half my family is from Bay Ridge the other from Bucks County Penna. We would drive out to Lentos Pizza. I think it was on was 3rd and Ovington. That was real pizza.Skinny like loose leaf. Ohhh yea and the Westbury drive in. I can tell if someones from back home right away when I hear em. Happened couple of days ago in at the grocerie.

Apr 01, 2011
Totally agree!
by: Cara

I was born here, raised here and still live here in central Suffolk county. I've done a fair amount of traveling in my 31 years and the one thing that ALWAYS gets attention is my accent.

I don't even realize it until someone points it out to me - which is usually immediate with some comment like "Ya'll from New York?" People recognize us right away and it seems to be a novelty to non-New Yorkers.

It then becomes a game to them; getting us to say things like "water" or "dog" then erupting into a fitful of laughter because we sound like Joe Pesci.

But I also understand what you said about not being able to get New York food while out of state. We are such creatures of habit, waking up and automatically reaching for that cup of coffee...and not being able to get it? TORTURE!

The first things I do when I get home from traveling are make a cup of coffee and then go out for a slice of pizza...REAL pizza. Not Domino's or Pizza Hut. Non-New Yorkers don't know what they're missing!

Dec 14, 2010
by: Anonymous

I have been in Pa for 14 gosh darn (don't swear) m f years and I still miss the Island, went back last year for 2 days great place I was for the most part in my element. Accent was back the minute I said " I'm goin home" but I don't know what was missin? I really can't pin point. But I still think of that I as my home. Can't take that away.

Nov 11, 2009
Long Island
by: Anonymous

I can so relate to this, as I'm sure many relocated Long Islanders can. I live in western New York, about 1 1/2 hrs southwest of Buffalo.

I've pretty much lost my accent after 35 years upstate, but always find it again after spending time on LI!

We've finally found a pizza place with LI/NY pizza in Buffalo only to find the owner is a transplant from Brooklyn! Yes, I actually drive the hour and a half occasionally to get that wonderful pizza I miss so much.

I love this newsletter - I'm learning more about LI than I ever knew, since I left when I was 21. Thanks, Bill.

Oct 29, 2009
I live in Texas
by: Anonymous

I so agree with your story ...
about the New York accent ...which i am told of that to...but i am use to it...
after 30 yrs
but i am happy living here ..believe it or not
but i always think of Massapequa...
where i am from...
and i will always say i am from new york and proud of it...
good luck
and we are not alone

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