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.

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