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Old 2015-04-30, 16:40   Link #1
Draco Spirit
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2013
Random questions about New York mannerisms

Hi guys

I'm currently writing a fantasy story, and one of the characters is from New York (Queens specifically) and I'm trying to describe her accent... thing is I live pretty far away from New York so it's hard to check it against reality!

I assume there some real New York natives prowling these forums, any tips on making her the way she speaks ring more true? Also are there any other mannerisms I could use to make her seem more real... and stereotypes to avoid like the plague?
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Old 2015-04-30, 19:36   Link #2
Twilight Impersonator
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: a zoo
New York is a melting pot, anyone from Abida Sa'd al-din to Zhou Zhu can be a New Yorker.
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Old 2015-05-01, 02:28   Link #3
Ha ha ha ha ha...
*Graphic Designer
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Right behind you.
Age: 26
Having lived in New York for a brief spell, I can tell you the stereotypes, depending on which part of New York you were in, were pretty much true. Now the major metropolitan areas that tourists visit are indeed a giant melting pot but most Americans living in New York speak with a weird mix of a Midwestern and Boston accent that isn't really either.

Now the stereotype New Yorker accent is pretty obvious. It's the whole "Italian-descendant type" that's very common, especially in Manhattan. But that's been quite diluted in recent years be the influx of a mishmash of people from other parts of the country, people with heavy foreign accents, and people that don't speak English at all.

In terms of phrases and sayings common to New Yorkers, it's hard to say for similar reasons as to why the accents aren't quite as strong as they used to be. But New Jersey accents are very similar in a lot of ways, and they used to use similar sayings, so you might want to look there. New Yorkers aren't confrontational like New Jerseyers are, instead they attempt to shut everything and everyone out. That's due to the high population concentration, and it's the primary reason New Yorkers tend to come off as rude individuals. Riding on the train to the city proper with my mother a few times, I discovered that talking is near-prohibited. Not because of official rules, but because fellow passengers will give you death-glares if you make too much noise. You could always tell who was from the city and who wasn't because visitors and tourists would be talking non-stop, whereas residents were usually sleeping or had headphones on and didn't look at the people around them.

Whereas we Midwesterners like nothing more than to take 5-10 minutes to chat with some stranger we don't know at all, New Yorkers will be short, curt, concise, and blunt as humanly possibly, because they are surrounded by people 24/7 and the last thing they want is more forced human interaction.

Hopefully this gave you some insight into the mindset of most American New Yorkers. It's not so much about the language or the accent (anyone can fake that), it's about the mindset. The culture. Remember that.
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Old 2015-05-01, 05:37   Link #4
Draco Spirit
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2013
Thanks for the information.

The shutting everyone and everything out habit seems like something that could work well with her.

I'm was originally planning to make her a S Grade chatterbox, but if I make her only a S Grade chatterbox when with friends in private, but pretty much silent when in larger social interactions, then I'll draw attention to both habits more

Similarly if I make her coping mechanism for being stressed/angry to become increasingly quieter and to the point with her words, it should add a nice dimension to her character
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