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I've seen and heard this at various times:

It's a-me! [first name]!

(Most of the time, seemingly as a reference to Mario.) I was wondering what the intent was behind the construction "a-me".

Is it just to transcribe an Italian accent? In that case, what is it about it that sounds Italian to a native English speaker?

Or maybe is it conveying something more, like perhaps a lack of education?

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    Actually, transcribing an Italian accent, I would probably write It's-a me. Done that way because our mythical Italian is not used to words ending in consonants. – GEdgar Sep 29 '11 at 15:09
  • Thanks, that explanation is really what I was looking for! If you give it as an answer I can accept it. – Philippe Sep 30 '11 at 9:05
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The phonotactics of Italian does not include a sequence -tsm-, therefore Italian speakers naturally pronounce it dropping a vowel between -ts- (rendered as [ʦ] as in "razza", 'race' /ˈraʦʦa/ or, in phonemic notation, [ˈratːsˑa]) and -m-. The standard epenthetic vowel in Italy is [e]: e.g. in Tuscan, "sport" is, again, naturally pronounced [ˈspɔrte].

Epenthesis is a widespread phonetic phenomenon in substandard speech across Italy.

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    +1, though I have to point out that razza is not pronounced [ˈraʦʦa] (that would have a non-allowed sequence of two fricatives after each other and would, by epenthesis, become [ˈraʦeʦa]), but rather [ˈraʦːa]. :-) – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 22 '13 at 9:14
  • That is definitely true. In fact, my transcription was not accurate, since I included it in square brackets (phonetic notation); so yours is the right one. However, if we were to transcript it in phonological terms, it would be correct to note it as /ˈraʦʦa/. I'll correct my answer. :-) If any of you can read Italian, I suggest you take a look at this post. – Giorgiomastrò Aug 9 '13 at 14:50
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from comment to answer ...

Actually, transcribing an Italian accent, I would probably write It's-a me. Done that way because our mythical Italian is not used to words ending in consonants.

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    If I as an Italian had to transcribe it, it would rather be "It's-e me". But that's because our 'e' is pronounced ɛ, and that's the sound we apparently accidentally put at the end of English words. – badp Nov 5 '11 at 16:04
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It's always attributed to Mario because he would say that in Super Mario 64 (audio)... When you started up the game, he would say "It's a-me, Mario"... There are likely other places that used this, but this is the reason it's attributed to Mario.

Admittedly, I have heard it used as a terrible Italian accent, but Gen Y grew up hearing it on video games :)

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    ...the younger half of Gen X as well. – T.E.D. Sep 29 '11 at 13:03
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    Please note that as @GEdgar says in the comment, it's "It's-a me, Mario" not "It's a-me, Mario". – Kimvais Sep 29 '11 at 18:33

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