To linguists our city is part of what’s known as the "R-less corridor,” because New Yawkas, like South Londonaws before them, drop their “R’s” (My Daughta’s a lawya). But, most language experts agree that the designation is quickly becoming irrelevant. “New Yorkers are more and more 'R'-ful, and the amount of R-dropping is decreasing," says Michael Newman, associate professor of linguistics at Queens College.

But before we get into that, what defines a New York accent and where does it come from? The NY Post explains:

Not only do New Yorkers drop Rs (call the doctah!), they add them in where they're not needed, usually when the next word starts with a vowel, which creates "I sawr it with my very own eyes!" and "The sofer in the living room is green." It all started across the pond.

Londoners began to drop Rs around the end of the 1600s, says Newman, about the time New York was settled. Then there are dipthongs like "Taww-uhk" and "waww-uuhk," also British. Other unique pronunciations come from Yiddish and Italian, but they may not be around much longer.


"In Manhattan [the accent] is definitely dying," says George Jochnowitz, retired professor of Linguistics at the College of Staten Island. One reason may be the influx of people from outside of the state, carrying with them new accents or no accents. There’s also self-identity—parents encourage their kids to drop their grating pronunciation to get ahead; people don’t like how accents make them sound, so they change the way they speak. Still, others argue (and we know it’s true) that the accents are just migrating—to Lawn Guyland or New Joisey, for instance.