6 things New Yorkers say that you won’t hear anywhere else

New Yorkers have one of the most distinctive American English dialects.

caption
New Yorkers have one of the most distinctive American English dialects.
source
Abbie Parr / Stringer

From Barbara Streisand to Al Pacino, Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump, New Yorkers have made their legendary dialect the most recognizable in North America, according to sociolinguist William Labov.

But it’s more than just “fuhgeddaboutit” and “yuuuge” that set New York English apart – there are more subtle features in a New Yorker’s speech that could clue you into where they come from.

Graphic designer Joshua Katz mapped some of the most distinctive elements of New York speech in 2013 using data from the Harvard Dialect Survey of the early 2000s.

Read on for six things you’ll only hear in New York.


People from New York are likely to say the words “merry,” “marry,” and “Mary” differently.

source
Joshua Katz

And they put “sear-up” on their pancakes.

source
Joshua Katz

New Yorkers color with a different type of “crayon.”

source
Joshua Katz

It’s hard to tell from the map, but New York is one of the only places in the US where “hero” is the most common term for a type of long sandwich.

source
Josh Katz, “Speaking American”

New Yorkers are much more likely than other Americans to pronounce “grocery” with an S sound in the middle.

source
Joshua Katz

And unsurprisingly, New Yorkers are the most likely Americans to be talking about New York City when they simply say “the City.”

source
Joshua Katz