I was recently interviewed (along with expert on all things Philadelphia, Joe Fruehwald) about use of jawn in Philadelphia. The article appeared last week in Metro Philly, and then Metro New York. They even use a quick graphic I made of jawn on Twitter.
Note, I think the author might have mixed up a quote from me and from Joe, unless Joe also has an interest in jawn-like words in other varieties of AAE (this is a possibility).
For more on DC's jont, there's the (relatively) recent article in the Washington Post on the DC local dialect (hint, Chocolate City's local dialect is local AAE). And of course, there's some discussion of KY, TN, and (Eastern) PA jeent, online, as well as Virginia's (and basically all points south of DC) jaint. (Note to self: Virginia's Jaint sounds awful.)
NYC is still holdin' it down with the classic: joint. That said, I do increasingly hear teenagers in NYC occasionally saying jawn, though it is rare.
I'm very curious to see if the success of Creed really does cause jawn to spread. In AAE, it would be doubtful, since(1) everyone already has their own jawn-like word and (2) not everyone uses the vowel in jawn (the same as in a stereotypical New York pronunciation of coffee), or can even reliably hear or pronounce it. For non AAE speakers, I'm not sure. Inability to pronounce a word the same, or even having the same word already in your lexicon has not stopped white speakers of various mainstream varieties of English from borrowing slightly different pronunciations of words and giving them different meanings than they have in AAE: turnt (turned), bae (babe), cray (crazy) or ratchet (wretched) in the last few years, alone.
And, of course, the original Rocky introduced wider America to yo, so anything could happen.
©Taylor Jones 2015
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