New Jersey English

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Despite popular stereotypes in the media that there is a singular New Jersey accent, there are in fact several distinct accents native to the U.S. state of New Jersey,[1] none being confined only to New Jersey. Therefore, the term New Jersey English is diverse and may refer to any of these dialects of American English, or even intermediate varieties that blend features of these multiple dialects.

African American dialect[edit]

Working- and middle-class African Americans throughout New Jersey commonly speak African American Vernacular English, regardless of the area of the state in which they were raised or live in.

Mid-Atlantic dialect[edit]

The regional dialect of the Mid-Atlantic States is spoken in South Jersey and some parts of Central Jersey,[2] including most of Ocean County. The closer a speaker was raised to the city of Philadelphia, the more features their variety will share with the Philadelphia sub-dialect, such as use of the term hoagie to mean submarine sandwich (or sub). In Vineland and some areas of Central Jersey, a nasal short-a system has been reported (in which /æ/ is tensed only before a nasal consonant), rather than the defining Philadelphia split-a system typical of South Jersey.[3]

New York dialect[edit]

Main article: New York City English

The dialect of greater New York City is spoken in northeastern New Jersey, plus Middlesex and Monmouth Counties. Therefore, the short-a system of these areas of New Jersey is most similar to the New York City split-a system. While most of the New York metropolitan dialect heard in New Jersey is rhotic, that of Newark and Jersey City (just across the Hudson River from New York City) may be non-rhotic or "r-dropping".[4]

Northern super-dialect[edit]

Outside of the New York metropolitan area, regional English of North Jersey is part of the broad family of Northern U.S. dialects, but is not part of the Inland North dialect region centered mostly around the Great Lakes. Unlike the Inland Northern accent, accents of North Jersey use the nasal short-a system.[5] This system also prevails somewhat in Central Jersey, in cities like Brick and Trenton. Also, in North Jersey, the // vowel remains very far back in the mouth.[6]


  • Labov, William; Ash, Sharon; Boberg, Charles (2006), The Atlas of North American English, Berlin: Mouton-de Gruyter, pp. 187–208, ISBN 3-11-016746-8