I have been living in California for about 25 years - yet my ears never deceive me. Standing in a school office about a month ago, I saw a woman come in and speak to the clerk. She had some kleenex in her hand and asked if there was a "garbage pail" available.
I introduced myself and said that I couldn't help but overhear what she had said. I said, "You must be from New York" She said, "yes, how did you know?" I said, " you said garbage pail" and followed with saying to her that she sounded like she was from Staten Island. Well, she also was a 25 year plus resident of California. Both she and her husband were from Staten Island and she was from New Brighton.
Another time a year or so ago, I was chatting with the Assistant Principal in the same office, when a women asked a question of us. I said "you sound like you're from New York" She said, "yes, how did you know?"
I asked, "Staten Island?" And she said she was. The woman asked what in her few words gave it away. When I thought about it - it seemed to be both pronunciation and inflection. It seems it's not just what is said but also the manner in which it is said that marks Staten Islander's speech.
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