Multi-American

How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

In L.A., that Eastside way of 'talk-een'

There's a special sing-songy way of speaking that those of us who grew up east of the river in Los Angeles are easily identified by, but I hadn't seen much written about it until today. Hector Becerra has written a lovely piece in the Los Angeles Times about what is termed in the story as "Chicano English." But the telltale accent is really a product of both ethnicity and place, spoken by Chicanos and non-Chicanos alike, so long as they're locals.

How do you know you speak Eastside? If you pronounce "going" as "GO-ween," "talking" as "talk-een," and have a habit of closing sentences with "ey" but you're not Canadian. (I'm from Huntington Park, and friends have pointed out this speech habit to me for years.) Becerra writes:

The East L.A. accent is not as well-known as some other Southern California styles of speech " the Valley Girl accent or the surfer dude patois. But it is a distinct, instantly recognizable way of talking, associated with a part of L.A. famous as a melting pot of Mexicans, Japanese, Jews, Armenians and other ethnic groups.

The accent " also known as Chicano English " crosses racial and ethnic lines and inspires a certain pride even in those who have long since left the neighborhoods where it prevails, most notably East L.A., Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights, El Sereno and City Terrace.

Read more at: www.latimes.com

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