Ed Driscoll

The Rich and Varied Tapestry that is My Home State

Hear me now and believe me later that to understand the Great State of New Jersey, you need to click on the map below found by the Gormogons blog and study it carefully. It is absolutely spot-on — if more than a little brutal at times — when it comes to the state’s varied cultures, and where they reside:

As for how New Jerseyians talk, well, you’ve heard me on a bunch of podcasts and videos; I don’t think I have much of a regional accent, but you can decide for yourself. (My dad grew up in Yonkers in the 1920s, before moving to South Jersey after the War; I suspect both he and his sister, who sounded a bit like Eleanor Roosevelt at times, worked very hard long before I was born to lose their respective accents.) But as for the rest of Jersey, “If you want to hear the nuances in what is perceived as the monolithic NJ accent, go no further,” as one of the Gormogonians write. “This video can teach you more than you EVER need to know:”

The one outlier is the fellow in the middle of the clip who speaks with what appears to be a southern dialect at first listen; I can’t recall meeting anyone who talks with that specific accent when I lived in Jersey, so I can’t vouch for how common it is, or its main geographic location in the state.