The Miami accent is an evolving American English accent or sociolect spoken in South Florida, particularly in Miami-Dade county, originating from central Miami. The Miami accent is most prevalent in American-born Hispanic youth who live in the Greater Miami area.
The Miami accent was developed by second- or third-generation Miamians, particularly young adults whose first language was English but were bilingual. Since World War II, Miami's population has grown rapidly every decade partly because of the postwar baby boom. In 1950, the US Census stated that Dade County's population was 495,084. Beginning with rapid international immigration from South America and the Caribbean (exacerbated by the Cuban exodus in the early 1960s), Miami's population has drastically grown every decade since. Many of the immigrants began to inhabit the urban industrial area around Downtown Miami. By 1970, the census stated that Dade County's population was 1,267,792. By 2000, the population reached 2,253,362. Growing up in Miami's urban center, second-, third-, and fourth-generation, Miamians of the immigration wave of the 1960s and 1970s developed the Miami accent. It is now the customary dialect of many citizens in the Miami metropolitan area.
In 2023 Florida International University linguistics professor Philip M. Carter and University at Buffalo doctoral student Kristen D’Alessandro Merii argued that the accent qualifies as a distinct regional dialect of American English.
The Miami accent is a native dialect of English and is not a second-language English or an interlanguage. It incorporates a rhythm and pronunciation that are heavily influenced by Spanish, whose rhythm is syllable-timed. Unlike some accents of New York Latino English, the Miami accent is rhotic.
Some specific features of the accent include the following:
The Miami accent also stereotypically includes a lack of certain features associated with standard American accents, including:[better source needed]
Speakers of the Miami accent occasionally use "calques," which are idioms directly translated from Spanish that may sound syntactically unusual to other native English speakers. For example, instead of saying, "let's get out of the car," someone from Miami might say, "let's get down from the car," which is the standard expression in Spanish "bajar del coche".
Other Miami terms especially common among Miami youth, often called "slang," include:
Cubonics is a popular term for Spanglish spoken by Cuban Americans in Miami. The term is a play on words of the term Ebonics which refers to African American Vernacular English.
The term for the dialect is rather new but the dialect itself has existed ever since the first Cuban exile to Miami in the 1950s. The dialect is a mix of the English language and Cuban idioms. Use of Cubonics has become so popular in Miami that a knowledge of it is considered necessary by some Cuban Americans. Language researcher Elena M. de Jongh even notes how popular Spanglish in Miami is that court translators need knowledge of it to function proficiently.
Cubonics exists as a form of Spanglish where certain Cuban idioms are preserved in Spanish. When these idioms were translated to English they lost some of their original meaning so to preserve these meanings the phrases were continued to be said in Spanish. Cubonics also consists of the Cuban inflection and use of English words. On some occasions Cuban idioms are directly translated into English, these translations are still considered part of Cubonics.