American Accent (New York, Bronx) - phonetic breakdown

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T h u m b n a i l   i m a g e 

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Phonemic symbols are broad measurements of speech sounds and do not take into account narrow phonetics and differences in voice quality. For more information read the notes below.

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New York, Bronx            vowels                 see picture 
       diphthongs              see picture         consonants          more..

The Bronx is located just north of Manhatten across the Harlem River. It is an area of vibrant multicultural diversity, comprising imigrants from vaious European countries well as Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and west Africa, including migrants who have arrived from the American south. The strong Latin influences (particularly Puerto Rican) and Afro-American influences bring hand in hand their music; salsa and hip-hop being at the forefront. The cultural blend of residents is also reflected in the distinctive Bronx accent.

Tips for learners:

•  The voice placement of the Bronx accent is distinctly nasal, with the tongue body quite high in the back of the mouth.

•  Bronx speakers tend to talk very fast.

•  The Bronx accent is mostly non-rhotic except for the mid- central vowel /ɜr/ in learn, turn, world etc. where the /r/ would be pronounced.

•  /r/ is retroflex which means the tongue body and blade are retracted toward the back of the hard palate. This affects the quality of adjacent vowel sounds.

•  /j/ is dropped following alveolar consonants in words such as new, duty, tune, assume.

•  The fricative sounds 'th' /θ, ð/ are often released as either dental or alveolar plosives.

•  There is a certain degree of /l/ vocalisation in words such as 'wall, tall'.

•  Many vowels are diphthongised, for example 'coffee, off, all, bought and law' are realised as diphthongs /ɔə/ and rhyme with each other.

•  The 'intrusive r' is sometimes present in intervocalic positions such as in 'vanilla ice cream' »but a word-final 'r' is rarely pronounced.

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