All of my life, I never thought I had a Jersey accent until I went away to school in Pennsylvania. My Pennsylvanian friends have a field day when they hear the “weird” ways I pronounce certain words. I am constantly the butt of all the jokes and have been asked way too many times to pronounce certain words for others so they can hear how “weird” I speak, but if you’re from Jersey then you know what I mean when I say these things.
NOTE: The words in parenthesis are the way we say it. Which is also the correct and best way to say them.
1. Water (wader)
Okay, so maybe I say water a little differently than others, but this is the way my family has said it for generations. This one is sort of a dead give away. When I’m on vacation and ask for “water” people will always know where I’m from.
2. Drawer (Draw)
I’ve gotten into many screaming matches with people about this. It is a "draw"! This causes many fights between me and my roommate, but I know for sure I’m not the only New Jersian who pronounces it like this.
3. Coffee (Cawfee)
I can’t even explain this without getting angry. It is most certainly not pronounced “Cahfee.” I will fight to my death that coffee should just be spelled the way it’s pronounced which adds a nice “aw” sound instead of that harsh, awkward “ah” sound.
4. Pork Roll (Correct term: Taylor Ham)
Considering most people on campus here call Taylor Ham “pork roll” I am always outnumbered, but don’t think I won’t go to war on this. It is absolutely called Taylor Ham! No, it’s not just the brand. What is a “pork roll”? I assume if you call it pork roll you’re from South Jersey or Philly and I can also guess you don’t even know what real Taylor Ham tastes like. I’m sorry I’m getting way too heated typing this…
5. Dog (Dawg)
OK, I just don’t even know any other way to say dog without adding the typical “aw” sound to it. Is there any other way? I’m pretty sure us New Jersians are not wrong about this one.
6. Talk (Tawk)
This one speaks for itself (pun intended).
7. City (Ciddy)
First of all, when I reference the “city” I am always 100% talking about New York City. Never ever am I talking about Philly. Never. Maybe us Jersians confuse the letters “T” and “D” but you can definitely distinguish my New Jersey background anytime I say “city”.
8. You (Yew)
This term most usually follows a common curse word us New Jersians say frequently. Expect this phrase when you’re driving on the parkway in the summer trying to maneuver your way through the boatloads of shore traffic.
9. Sandwich (Sub)
It pains me when I hear someone go up to a counter and ask for a hoagie. It sends shivers down my spine and makes me question my existence. It’s a sub-short for submarine sandwich-where does the term hoagie even come from?
10. All (Awl)
My roommate truly enjoys making fun of me for this one. Commonly used in the phrase “awl of a sudden”. This is great for story-telling and helps create a dramatic mood.
11. Chocolate (Chawcolate)
The only thing I can say is it sounds a lot better than saying “chakolate.”
12. Jersey (Jerzee)
Please, please, please, and I seriously mean please, do not ever, under any sort of circumstance come up to me and say “Joisey.” I think I would rather have someone call Taylor Ham a “Pork Roll” and insult my favorite pizzeria than ever say that word. I can assure you that no one, and I mean not one person who is from Jersy says “Joisey.” I do however add a nice hard Z to my pronunciation. Sometimes we call it “Dirty Jerz” too.
But no matter what I call it: Jersey, New Jersey, The Garden State or whatever other amazing nicknames there are, my favorite thing to call New Jersey is home.