Summary of “How Capicola Became Gabagool: The Italian New Jersey Accent, Explained”

Meadow Soprano on an early episode of The Sopranos, perhaps the most famous depiction of Jersey Italian culture in the past few decades.
I spoke to a few linguists and experts on Italian-American culture to figure out why a kid from Paterson, New Jersey, who doesn’t speak Italian, would earnestly ask for a taste of “Mutzadell.” The answer takes us way back through history and deep into the completely chaotic world of Italian linguistics.
That’s because each of the old Italian kingdoms had their own well, D’Imperio, who is Italian, calls them “Dialects.” But others refer to them in different ways.
During unification, the northern Italian powers decided that having a country that speaks about a dozen different languages would pose a bit of a challenge to their efforts, so they picked one and called it “Standard Italian” and made everyone learn it.
This gets weird, because most Italian-Americans can trace their immigrant ancestors back to that time between 1861 and World War I, when the vast majority of “Italians,” such as Italy even existed at the time, wouldn’t have spoken the same language at all, and hardly any of them would be speaking the northern Italian dialect that would eventually become Standard Italian.
Italian has undergone huge standardization changes in the past few decades, and it’ll be hard for modern Italian speakers to understand them, even harder than if somebody showed up in New York today speaking in 1920s New Yorker “Thoity-Thoid Street” slang and accent.
Let’s do a fun experiment and take three separate linguistic trends from southern Italian dialects and combine them all to show how one Standard Italian word can be so thoroughly mangled in the United States.
Italian is a very fluid, musical language, and Italian speakers will try to eliminate the awkwardness of going consonant-to-consonant.

The orginal article.