Some accents are undeniably unique. Boston accents, Southern accents, and, of cours,e New Jersey accents. The Jersey accent is a very distinctive and unmistakable dialect that not only utilizes its own pronunciation methods but also employs some very unique vocabulary changes. Follow some steps to help you speak with a New Jersey accent and capture a bit of the regional charm that categorizes this area of the eastern United States.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Make an effort to visit the New Jersey area so you can experience the accent firsthand. Visit multiple areas of the state to help you access a wide range of dialect differences. Take a recording device if possible and recording random conversations so you have a frame of reference.
Watch movies where the characters have New Jersey accents. Many accents will be overdone because of the dramatic effect, and many mob movies also utilize a stereotypical Jersey accent. However, you can still get a good idea of how some of the language is used in that region. Rent movies starring New Jersey native Frank Sinatra or even funny movies, such as "Jay and Silent Bob", are set in New Jersey and give a good overview of the colloquial language.
Drop the "r" in most of your words to begin encompassing one of the major phonetic differences of New York and New Jersey dialect; for example, saying "ba" instead of "bar" is common in New Jersey. Practice dropping your "r"s as a good primer for speaking with a valid Jersey accent, but don't overdo it.
Relax your consonant sounds in other words. Particularly pay attention to the relaxation of "d", "t", "l", "s", and "o". These sounds will result in a lazier and more languished feel to the overall word and capture a bit of the New Jersey style of speaking.
Learn a bit of the New Jersey colloquial language as different words are used to describe different things, a shopping cart is a carriage and a hero sandwich is a grinder. Noticing distinctions in language usage will make your accent more believable and authentic.
Tips and warnings
- Write down words that use r's and hard consonant sounds in the manner that you would say them, such as instead of writing "borrow" you would write "barrah". It will help you visualize the difference on pronunciation.
- Shortening words and phrases is very common in the Jersey area; "do you want to go with me" becomes "do you want to go with", and "go ahead" becomes "g'head". Try shortening phrases and words whenever possible.
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