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Miami accent

"Miami dialect" redirects here. For the Native American language, see Miami-Illinois language.

The Miami accent is a continuously evolving American English regional accent, or dialect-in-formation, influenced largely by foreign languages and spoken in South Florida, particularly in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Monroe counties—originating from central Miami. The Miami accent is most prevalent in younger, native South Floridians who live in the downtowns of Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Palm Beach.[1]


The Miami accent developed amongst second- or third-generation Miamians, particularly young adults whose first language was English, but were bilingual. Beginning after World War 2, Miami's population has grown consistently every decade as a result of the post World War 2 baby boom. In 1953, the US Census stated 90% of Miamians spoke with the a normal american accent. Beginning with large international immigration and the cuban exodus of the late 1950s, Miami's population has drastically grown every decade since then. Many of these immigrants began to inhabit Miami's large central business district. By 1970, the US Census stated 52% of Miamians spoke with the accent .By 2000, about 82% of Miamians spoke it. [2] Growing up in the cities crowded central core, second-, third-, and fourth-generation Miamians of the 1960s foreign influx, developed the Miami accent.[1][3]

Phonological characteristics

The following are typical phonological (pronunciation) characteristics of the Miami accent:

  • Rhoticity (i.e. the pronunciation of the "R" sound in all environments) like with most American English; though otherwise rare, a "rolled R" may be heard after a consonant.[4]
  • Pronunciation of /æ/ before nasal consonants with the jaw and/or tongue more lowered than in a General American accent.[1]
  • Clear "L" only, unlike the relatively dark "L" of General American.[5]

Lexical characteristics

Speakers of the Miami accent may be heard to use "calques": idioms (that would sound awkward or unusual to other native English speakers). For example, instead of saying, "lets get out of the car," someone from Miami might say, "let's get down from the car". Some colloquialisms common in Miami, include words such as: "supposably" (supposedly), "irregardless" (regardless),"bro" (brother), and "libary" (library). Some other Miami slang terms include:[6]

  • A mission: Anything that takes a while
  • A.F. or Af: Often used to end a negative sentence. Short for as f***.
  • Chanx: Short for flip-flops
  • Chonga: South Florida female subculture
  • Petit: Tiny or of a small stature.
  • Qué: Used in situations such as: "qué cute" (how cute), "qué nice" (how nice), and/or "qué cool" (so cool)
  • Super: Used as "very" or "really"

In popular culture

Many of the characters in the 1970s PBS sitcom, ¿Qué Pasa, USA? speak in the Miami accent. It was the first bilingual American sitcom. ¿Qué Pasa, USA? follows the Peñas, a Cuban-American family living in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood. The series is praised as being very true-to-life and accurately, if humorously, portraying the life and culture of Miami's Cuban-American population. Today, the show is cherished by many Miamians as a true representation of life and language use in Miami.[7][8]

Notable lifelong native speakers

See also

External links