Wikipedia and research are not compatible. Why? Because my dog can edit Wikipedia, and my dog plays with dead roaches! Hell, I bet his dead roach can edit Wikipedia. I have therefore banned Wikipedia from my English classroom. That said, today my hypocrite self was browsing Wikipedia. In the Miami entry, I spotted a link for "Miami accent" and came upon this priceless nugget:
In Miami, a unique accent, commonly called the "Miami accent", is widely spoken. It developed mostly by second- or third-generation Hispanics whose first language was English. It is very similar to accents in the Northeast, but contains a rhythm and pronunciation heavily influenced by Spanish. However, a Miami accent is not Spanish-accented English, as many Miami residents who are not Hispanic, or do not speak Spanish, speak with the Miami accent as well. It is most common amongst those born and raised in Miami, and can commonly be heard spoken by Blacks and White non-Hispanics, as well as in Hispanics. However, not all Miamians have the accent. The accent is acquired in some areas, but not others.
First things first. My desire to edit the hell out of this convoluted paragraph replete with grammatical craziness was difficult to overcome. Apparently, Wikipedia doesn't know where to place commas or how to form the passive voice. Then there are the WTF sentences. Can someone please tell me what it means if an accent is not spoken in Hispanics or whether accents are even spoken in the first place?
Moving on, what most struck me was the equivocal nature of the passage. The point? Miami has an accent. Only Miamians have it, but not all Miamians have it, and it's not really an accent, but it's an accent (kind of), which comes from Spanish, but not only Spanish speakers have it, and it exists in some areas but not others. Get it? Got it? Fail.
Not that I'm sure how to define this "accent" either. My whole life, I've been able to identify "Americanos" in Miami by the way they speak. Having been born here, I am of course an "Americana," too, but I am first-generation "Americana," which is not the same thing. If your parents respected your teenage privacy by knocking on your bedroom door before barging in, chances are your family has been reproducing in the U.S. of A. for a while.
The fact that these privacy-respecting Americans sound different to me means that those of Hispanic origin born in Miami must have a uniquely Miami accent. As the above passage states, this is not the same thing as a Spanish accent. My parents, who were raised in Cuba, have a Spanish accent. (They don't sound like Scarface, though. Nobody sounds like Scarface! It's an appalling caricature. Okay, maybe a few Miamians sound like Scarface, but that's probably because they think it's cool to sound like Scarface.)
So if there indeed is a Miami accent, it's an American one, in the same way that the southern twang or the New York, Boston, Chicago, or Minnesota accents are American. Yet the distinctive intonation and pronunciation of the average Miamian isn't widely recognized as an American accent.
This is all quite confusing, so I leave first-generation "Americanos" and privacy-respecting "Americanos" alike with the following questions:
1) Does Miami have an accent?
2) What does a Miami accent sound like, anyway?
3) What will it take to get the Miami accent New York accent status?
4) Does Sarah Palin stand as a one-woman accent category? Such a maverick!
Please enlighten me with your insight before my mind explodes with the "accentiness" of it all.