Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Normal New York Talk

I came to New York City in 1978 from a Western State carrying a bright shiny degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in ESL and Bilingual Education. 

"Why did you leave a nice place like that to come here?", I was asked more than once.

'There's all kinds of different people",  was my favorite reply.  "You can't find this kind of diversity anywhere else." 

That wasn't the only reason I came,  of course, but it was the only one I could give in ten words or less--which I learned was required of me if I wanted to engage in the short, staccato dialogue accepted by New Yorkers.

"Why was that guy so angry at me?" I asked one of my New Yorker friends once. 
"Why do you think he was angry?  He was normal.
"He was yelling at me!
No, he wasn't.  That's just how people talk here.

So normal conversation with a New Yorker came in short, loud staccato bursts.  And that didn't mean they were angry.  It was just normal. 

Just to clarify--I was living in Brooklyn at the time.  I found this delightful video that might give you an idea of my first taste of New York conversation.

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