Language Dossier

New York Accent

The Five Boroughs of New York City: 1: Manhattan, 2: Brooklyn, 3: Queens, 4: The Bronx, and 5: Staten Island (airports are within Queens).

The New York accent can be recognized by a few characteristics:
1. The dropping of "r"'s at the end of words like the British (although middle class New Yorkers often will pronounce these r's like standard American).
2. An extremely drawn out way of pronouncing words like "bought" or "caught" ("bawuht" and "cawuht") --even more so than the British.
3. "ar" words like "cart" and "hard" are often pronounced with a rounded vowel, almost like "court" and "horde" (similar to some South Africans).
4. "o" words like "pot" and "not" are pronounced in the standard American way--"paht" and "naht"--separating this accent very strongly from any British dialect.
In addition, there are a few variations on the accent based on the specific location or ethnicity:
1. Jewish speakers in Brooklyn have an accent slightly similar to that of East London (not suprising, since both areas have large Yiddish populations) --the dipthongs tend to be very drawn out--"royt" for "right," "dye" for "day," etc.
2. In some areas (esp. Brooklyn & Staten Island), there is a slightly residual influence from when New York was controlled by the Dutch, so that the word "bad" almost rhymes with the word "bed".
3. Black New Yorkers tend to speak with a mixture of New York and Black Vernacular Dialects.
4. Irish and Italian New Yorkers maintain some of the musicality of their ancestor's accents.

New York Accent and ethnicity

There definitely is a New York accent, but it takes on different characteristics with the ehtnic groups that influenced it: NY-Jewish, NY-Italian, etc. The women on "Sex and the City" don't have New York accents, number one because they are actresses speaking General American, number two because many Manhattanites are "transplants," i.e. people from other parts of the U.S. that moved to Manhattan because of their careers, for more excitement, etc. The stereotypical New York accent is heard a lot more in what are called the "outer boroughs," Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island. Classic “New Yorkese” has been immortalized by films (“Goodfellas,” “Marty,” and “Manhattan,” among countless others), TV shows (“All in the Family,” “Seinfeld,” “King of Queens”) and plays (“A View from the Bridge,” “Lost in Yonkers,” “Guys and Dolls”).

Celebrities speaking New York accents:

Larry King: mild New York accent
Woody Allen: Jewish New York accent
Adam Sandler: Brooklyn accent
Jerry Seinfeld: Brooklyn accent
Robert De Niro: New York Italian accent
Jennifer López: New York Latina (from the Bronx) 

New York

The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is one of the most famous landmarks in the world. This enormous statue is 93 metres high and stands in New York harbour. For the millions of immigrants to the USA who saw it as they sailed into New York, it became a symbol of liberty.

The story of the statue

The statue of Liberty was built for the hundredth anniversay of American independence from Britain.

It was given to the American people by the French as a token of friendship.

It was designed by French sculptor Frederic August Bartholdi, and took fifteen years to build. Money for it was raised through lotteries and dinner parties.


The statue was made from 32.5 tonnes of copper.

It was constructed in sections in Paris. Then it was put into 210 boxes and taken across the Atlantic by ship. In New York harbour the sections were assembled on a huge pedestal.

The seven spikes of the statue's crown represent the seven oceans and seas of the world.

The statue's face is based on the strong face of the sculptor's mother.

Today visitors to the statue are carried by a glass lift to the top of the pedestal where they can see the inner structure of the statue above them. Form that point there are 171 steps to a viewing gallery in the crown.

What makes New York so famous?

New York City is a large city and port in the northeastern US. New York City is the largest city in the US and its main business centre, but it is not the capital city, which is Washington, DC. The city is divided into five boroughs: Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Richmond.

New York City is one of the most popular cities in the world. It has several famous landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. The area in and around Wall Street is the financial centre of the US, and the city is also famous for its theatre productions on Broadway. Although some parts of the city are thought to be dangerous, there was a big reduction in the level of crime during the 1990s. Some people think that New York City is too busy and crowded, but many people love it because of all its excitement, entertainment and culture. It is sometimes called the Big Apple or the city that never sleeps, because it is never quiet and many people go out at night.   

New York is famous for its

- skyscrapers

- jazz clubs

- Woody Allen

- Lou Reed

- The Strokes

- Central Park

- Brooklyn Bridge

- Broadway

- Chinatown

- museums like MOMA and Gugenheim and Metropolitan

- Meatpacking District (fashion and modern trends district)

- Chelsea Market (and its bakers, cafes and gourmet stores)

- Ground Zero (place where the Twin Towers stood)

- Seaport Ice (skating rink)

- Rockefeller Centre

- Lincoln Centre

- Times Square

- Yelo (nap station)