Talk:Yat dialect

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A small quote: Movies and television shows set in New Orleans generally make the mistake of imbuing the characters with a generic "Southern" accent, a "Gone With the Wind" accent, or a Cajun accent (heard in South East Louisiana, not in the city), much to the amusement or annoyance of New Orleanians.

I do believe the writer should have used South West Louisiana, as that is the region where the "Cajuns" were, and still are, concentrated.

Unsigned Doll, Cajuns are all over Southern Louisiana, with some spilling out into Mississippi and Texas. The Acadian Coast area of South East LA certainly maintains its Cajuns, as do the many in the South Central areas. I've changed the wording to reflect such. L talk 09:19, 9 January 2009 (UTC)


I removed the proposed quick deletion from the article reading:

"Insalvageable rubbish, totally WP:OR and made up in school one day, or as they say in Yat (apparently): "Wutzapnin up da road, old lady? Lookit da T.V.! It's house coat 'n' curlas!" Also claims many totally normal English phrases to be unique to New Orleans and this so-called dialect. Patently obviously total rubbish. +Hexagon1 (t) 13:07, 5 January 2008 (UTC)"

Certainly not total rubbish (already has references to the books of Leibling, Toole, and Virgets), but some legitimate criticism that silly or not particularly Yat specific items crept into the article. I have removed some of the obvious problem items, and a bit of rewording of some others. Other suggestions for improvements? I have flagged the article for attention in the New Orleans project. -- Infrogmation (talk) 16:15, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

If this is real, this has to be rewritten ground-up. And book references are ridiculously ambiguous, they can be included as footnote citations with the exact page number and issue in question but can not be treated as a source in the way they're included. +Hexagon1 (t) 09:18, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
This article is still pretty sketchy. The list of phrases at the end is ridiculous. Almost a third of them are just general Southern phrases, certainly not unique to New Orleans. This entire article could easily be condensed into a single paragraph in the Southern American Dialect article. (talk) 04:47, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

Is Richard Simmons a Yat?[edit]

I always thought he was from New York until I read his bio. Does he speak with a Yat accent? Azalea pomp (talk) 18:50, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

He does, but it's not as strong as it likely was when he was a child. He uses a more SAE-influenced accent than most Y'at speakers in NOLA would, but he sounds to me like many of us who've left the city and have conformed our accent with SAE, but retain a bit of the accent. His fabulousness, though, is all New Orleans, sugar. L (talk) 05:36, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

I honestly didn't believe he was either from New Orleans or New York. However, I've read that he was born and grew up in New Orleans, but moved to New York later on in his life. He's been very exposed to Hollywood throughout his life. It's very common to see through mass communication for people to lose their distinctive accents (especially in the spotlight). The thing I've noticed more about his vocal structure is the gay lisp. That can seem to override or diffuse regional accents (especially in his particular case). TomNyj0127 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 06:47, 23 August 2009 (UTC).

Original research[edit]

So, apart from the direct quote at the beginning asserting that the New Orleans accents exists and is superficially similar to the New York City accent in some ways, this article is utterly without sources and appears to be an unregulated collection of amateurish speculation and original research. (A condition sadly prevalent in articles about dialects of American English at Wikipedia.) What here can be verified and what needs to be removed? —Angr 14:15, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

There's a documentary called "Yeah You Rite" with some sections from its creators on YouTube (one and two with transcript here). While the Yat dialect is disappearing (or being subsumed by others), it is still a living phenomenon. The difficulty with many dialects is that other research is either lacking or in "obscure" academic texts (i.e. those not generally found in places like Barnes and Noble or Borders). If anyone could get their hands on the books cited here or "The Authenticity of Yat: A 'Real' New Orleans Dialect." 2003. The Southern Journal of Linguistics 25: 74-85, you'd have some evidence which conforms to WP:V. I don't have access to that journal in my database, but that should be enough to suggest without reading the actual texts that this article isn't Original Research (unless the argument that it isn't OR is itself OR, but that's a whole 'nother beast to deal with!). -- Anonymous Coward 2009-04-30 11:21 UTC —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

When locals meet other locals with a noticeable accent, it is often paired by the seemingly personal questions of "What school [i.e. high school] did you go to?" and "Are you Catholic?"

I don't understand how this comment is relevant or significant. I'm not saying people don't do this there. But do people exclusively do this here compared to other cities? If they do, I think it'd be appropriate to source it. I think it's fair to say that most people ask What high school did you go to or a question of that nature. I think it'd seem a little more invasive or personal to ask someone their religious denomination, but if the majority of the population is Catholic, than it probably wouldn't be something you'd need to ask.

The city came under U.S. rule in the Louisiana Purchase, and over the course of the 19th century, the dominant language of New Orleans gradually became non-rhotic English. However, non-rhotic English is prevalent within southern American English

What this also doesn't describe is that most forms of Southern American English are non-rhotic. Therefore, it's not unique that New Orleans does compared to it's region. I will be noting in this quote that the southern dialect is non-rhotic.

An influx of Irish, Italian - particularly Sicilian - and German immigrants during the 19th century, along with the city's geographic isolation, led to the creation of a new local dialect.

The city's geographical isolation, led to the creation of a new local dialect.

I'm revising this quote to say the following. This doesn't describe any specific lingual impact those later immigrants would have made. While later European (particularly Sicilian) immigration may have been unique to New Orleans (although was prevalent in Eastern Texas too), these later ethnic groups make up rather little of the modern day New Orleans (and metropolitan) area's population. This was a largely populated area prior to the Louisiana Purchase. There were several influences on the New Orleans dialect. It's undeniably been most influenced by their neighboring southern states though. Italian and Irish immigrants have went to New York City, Pittsburgh, Scranton, Philadelphia and Chicago all in the same era as their respective immigrants went to New Orleans. Yet those accents aren't really distinguishable from the other? Especially not New York for those cities? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nyj0127 (talkcontribs) 06:44, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

Movies and television shows set in New Orleans generally make the mistake of imbuing the characters with a generic "Southern" accent, a "Gone With the Wind" accent, or a Cajun accent (primarily heard in Southwest Louisiana, not in the city), much to the amusement or annoyance of New Orleanians.

It's one thing if this statement were trying to show people from the New Orleans area as stupid. This is not what's being done though. Louisiana is one of the most southern areas of the country. It's the deep south. New Orleans is the heart and soul of that and played one of the largest roles of the Civil War. To an outsider not from the New Orleans area (and especially to non-southerners), it's very easy to not know the difference between Yat and a generic southern accent.

I've met a large enough number of people to know that there is a southern ring and drawl to the accent. Even if there were unique characteristics of the New Orleans accent, it's not to say it doesn't most relate to the generic southern accent. It'd be like assuming someone from western Massachusetts has the same accent as rural Maine just because they're both apart of New England. They'd be able to understand where that confusion is deriving from. They wouldn't be amused nor annoyed. This statement gives off a vibe that people in the New Orleans area are resentful of their southern identity. They're not.

The city came under U.S. rule in the Louisiana Purchase, and over the course of the 19th century, the dominant language of New Orleans gradually became non-rhotic English.

The city was non-English speaking prior to the Louisana Purchase. Therefore, the English you would have heard spoken there would have been relavent to those of how the French spoke it in France at the time or Caribbean/Creole territories. What ever English that had been spoken there prior to 1803 (even if it was only among the educated) would have been non-rhotic English though. Their neighboring southern states post-1803 (via migrants from colonial south) spoken non-rhotic English. This comment could leave a sense of confusion in that people would believe a new form of English was spoken than prior to that of the French colonial era. I'll revise it to say the following.

This city came under U.S. rule in the Louisana purchase, and over the course of the 19th century, the city transitioned from speaking French to becoming an English speaking city. TomNyj0127 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 00:45, 25 August 2009 (UTC).

Adding information on Hurricane Katrina pertaining to the dying away of the accent[edit]

I'll be explaining it's impact. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nyj0127 (talkcontribs) 00:50, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

its — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:37, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

Addressing a couple of statements made[edit]

First off, before I begin, I must tell you that I am a Yat and pretty much everyone I know is a Yat. My family originated in the 9th ward of Downtown New Orleans, and later moved out of the city to the suburbs. There's a couple of things I need to touch on.

First - I read in this discussion that the Yat dialect is dying out. This is not true. The suburbs is loaded with Yat speakers. The Yat dialect is very strong in Chalmette (all of St. Bernard Parish for that matter), Kenner, and the Westbank, even in Slidell. There is a lesser form of it in some parts of Metairie, but not all Metairie. There is also a lesser form in parts of the Northshore such as Mandeville and Covington.

Second - When Yats greet each other and also ask the question of which school did they go to or are they Catholic, it is part of the culture. Not neccesarily saying it is exclusive to the Yat culture, but it is part of the culture.

Third - The Yat accent is exclusively a White New Orleans accent (now spread to the suburbs due to white flight of the city). The Yat dialect on the other hand does include some words and phrases that the Black New Orleans dialect shares, but not all. Most of the Yat dialect was created by White New Orleanians, and many of the dialects words and phrases has influenced the Black dialect and vice versa.

Fourth - I read that the later immigrants of German, Italian, and Irish did not influence much of the dialect, accent, and culture. Also, I read that the modern population of Greater New Orleans is not largely made up of these immigrants descendants. This is so not true. Many of the White New Orleanians in the city and the suburbs are mixed with these heritages. There are lots of people that are descendants of these immigrants. For instance, Chalmette and Kenner has a large Italian descended population, in which some are mostly Italian and some are part Italian. Many people on the Westbank are of Irish descent. Many German descended people live all over the area. In New Orleans in general look at the contributions of those immigrants...Germans with their French bread companies, bakeries, and the creation of Creole mustard, Italians created the Muffeletta and influenced the cuisine even influenced jazz and originated the ritual that jazz funerals are modeled after, and the Irish are the reason you hear some people say ferl for foil, terlet for toilet, earl for oil, etc.. in which that comes from an Irish accent. That is a trait that Blacks picked up from the Whites.

Fifth - The Yat accent and dialect was taken to the suburbs by the Whites when New Orleans experienced White flight in the 60's and 70's. They did go the the immediate suburbs back in that era. Most every White family knows that many downtown Whites went to Chalmette and the Westbank and many Uptown Whites went to Metairie and Kenner. Some Whites from other parts of the city spread out in the suburban area, but most of the Whites went to the immediate suburbs. Yes, some did move to other places such as the Mississippi Gulf coast, but it was not the majority. Now this is not saying all did, but many did. Oh, and the suburbs were mostly all White until about the last decade when more Blacks started moving to the suburbs because crime in the city was getting too bad. I can remember a time when Chalmette and Metairie was mostly entirely White. I can remember a time when the westbank was mostly White. My father talks the same way about the city and especially the 9th ward, from a time when he could remember most of the city being White people with a much smaller Black population. I don't remember much of that because by the early 1980's much of the city turned Black.

Sixth - Now I read that "nearly all blacks and Whites trace their heritage to colonial heritage of New Orleans and to France". Again, this is not true. I don't remember where it was I was reading, but it had sources, and it said that at one point almost half the population of New Orleans was made up of immigrants from Germany, Italy (Sicily), and Ireland. I kid you not. But anyway, I work with and went to school with both Whites and Blacks and many of them did not have French or Spanish last names. That would mean that there are many people who had ancestors that were not part of Colonial New Orleans before 1803. Also, most Blacks I have met, have English surnames instead of French, i.e. Johnson, Jackson, Williams, Green, etc.. This could suggest that many of them relocated to New Orleans after the the Louisiana Purchase with the Americans and even after the White Flight of the city in the late 1960's and early 1970's. If New Orleans was predominantly White prior to the 60's and 70's, then the instant increase of the Black population had to come from somewhere else other than New Orleans proper. I have spoken to many Blacks of New Orleans that told me that their families came from Hammond and Bogalusa and such places like that and moved into the city in the 60's and 70's. Go figure.

I read that the city is mostly Black. Yes, this stands true since about the late 1970's early 1980's. Not before then, so the Black contribution is not as much as the person who commented on this thinks it is. The Yat dialect and accent was created way before the late 70's early 80's. Also, if the person has heard alot of Black dialects from New Orleans (since hearing a Yat accent in the city proper in the media is becoming quite rare), yes the Black accents do sound more southern, I believe it may come from Blacks that relocated here back in the day from other parts of Louisiana and the south. But by listening to the Black accent you would hear a southern drawl that is absent in the White Yat accent. I know because I grew up around these accents.

Lastly, the end of the discussions page talks about explaining more about the accent dying out after Katrina. The accent is not dying out after Katrina. Most of the Whites came back. Even many who did not come back because of devestated areas such as Chalmette, just relocated to the Northshore like Slidell, Mandeville, and Covington. That's still the New Orleans area. The only place that the New Orleans White people's Yat dialect is dying out is in the city, but that has been happening since White flight of the 60's and 70's and post White flight of the 1980's and the 1990's on into the new millenium.

Thank you for listening, I know it's long. But it's correct. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:45, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

Lexicon section[edit]

I've tagged it as unencyclopedic; frankly this section is not appropriate for an encyclopedia. Each of these should probably be entries in Wiktionary. The article might call for a couple examples, especially those attested in any linguistic sources, but these should be few, significant, and characteristic. They should be worked into the text of the article, rather than a specific section.

On a related note, I'd like to note that the entry "beebla" described it as a "lazy" way of saying something. That's really not the appropriate tone for an encyclopedia, and moreover is highly inappropriate for any text that purports to be a modern linguistic description, as it is passing judgment about the quality of speech. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 11:37, 16 November 2010 (UTC)