Ask someone from South Jersey if they want an "Italian hot dog" and they'll probably pause and say "whaaa?!" They might expect it to come with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. They've more than likely never heard of it unless they are regular listeners to New Jersey 101.5 and may have caught someone from another part of the state making reference to it on the air.

It's a delicacy of a swath of North Jersey usually prominent in Essex and Union counties. People from there can't believe the rest of us haven't heard of it.

Let's say you ask for a hoagie in North Jersey. If they don't roll their eyes or scold you for not calling it a "sub," they'll just silently think you're a hillbilly rube from South Jersey.

Now for those of you who are already annoyed by us not acknowledging "Central Jersey," relax. North and Central Jersey tend to have the same language and accent, which differs from the South. As I've mentioned many times, the state is divided in two parts by the particular media markets that dominate the two regions.

Townsquare Media photo illustration (romanbabakin)
Townsquare Media photo illustration (romanbabakin)

New York media influence the north and what people like to call "central" Jersey and Philly media dominated the southern end of the state.

The dividing line goes from somewhere just above Trenton to just above Long Beach Island. The accent is pretty standard American in Central and North Jersey, except for a small part of Essex and Hudson counties, which sound a little like New York.

South Jersey has the Philadelphia/Delaware/Baltimore accent which they don't realize they have but seems to really irritate and puzzle everyone else. As time goes on, most countries that have varied dialects seem to fade with each generation.

That may be happening in New Jersey, too. Aih certainly haowpe saow!

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy only.

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