Thursday, May 13, 2010

I Used To Tawk Funny

Joe.My.God posted a VIDEO this week about the different accents of NYC's five boroughs.  This reminded me of the accent I grew up with - which language scholars call "Pennsylvania German English" or the "Susquehanna Dialect".  It is represented by the small #12 on the map of U.S. dialects (above).

When I went to college, many of my friends thought I had a Southern accent.  Personally, I could tell the difference between a Pittsburgh accent and a Philadelphia accent, but I didn't think us country folks from South Central PA even HAD an accent...

But when I moved to New York City and started visiting PA less often, I recognized how different we sounded.  Our dialect is influenced by both the Western PA/Pittsburgh and the Philadelphia accents - but more importantly our speech patterns have been influenced by the Germans who settled in Pennsylvania.  These people are commonly referred to as the "Pennsylvania Dutch"...

Here are some examples of the weird things we say in Central Pennsylvania ...

Red up - to straighten up, (I red up the house yesterday.)

Macadam - asphalt, (Jason scraped his knee on the macadam.).

Dippy eggs - fried eggs/eggs over-easy.  The runny egg yolk is referred to as the "dippy".

..awhile - "in the meantime" - used at the end of a sentence, (Can I get you a glass of tea, awhile?)

Outen the lights - turning the lights off, (You need to outen the lights, John.)

It's all - it is all gone, (The pie is all.)

...yet - still, (The pie is all, but there's cake yet)

Slippy - slippery, (The snow on the road makes it really slippy.)

Now that I've lived in NYC for over 15 years, I can hear myself adopting more of a Noo Yawk accent.  It is especially noticeable, for some reason, when I say the words "hot dog" or "coffee".  Fuggedaboutit.

What kind of funny things do people say where YOU live or grew up?  Go ahead, leave a comment awhile...


Miss Ginger Grant said...

Honey, for Miss Ginger, that's a whole 'nother blog post! She's fixin' to go to work, but maybe this weekend she'll set a spell and put her mind to thinking of some of the things we say here on the Gulf Coast that others might night understand! Meanwhile, she'd better finish her coke and git in the shower!

Daddy Blade said...

Miss Ginger and I leave in the same city. For a long time, I went whole hog on adopting "y'all". It is such a wonderful word that just says it. But now, I find myself ending a lot of questions ", eh?" Where does that come from? All the Canadians on sitcoms?

theminx said...

I never had a Balmer accent (hon) but my maternal uncle, whom we lived with, said all of the stereotypical things, "amblance" (ambulance), "po-leece" (police), "farn gin" (fire engine), etc.

My lovely homedown dialect is chronicled here. Personally, I always thought people with a heavy Balmer accent (Philly too) sounded like morons. It's definitely not an accent of the upper crust.


Lee said...

Hmm, I was an Air Force brat. My father and his family are from Houston, TX. My mother is from Scotland. (They met while he was based there). I was born in Houston, but have lived all over the place and visited my family in Scotland a lot (every summer as a kid while we were out of school) so I have kind of a mixed accent. It tends to come out as kind of a bland midwestern accent though.

I've lived in the South now for a long time though and have picked up quite a few Southernisms. Y'all might know what I mean. ;)

MJ said...

Funny and enjoyable post.
Thanks David
In Calif.,....most people lose their accents here, except a few Bostonians and New Yorkers. Have a friend from Amsteram who worked here for a couple of years and she even lost her Dutch accent!

Wonder Man said...

I'm really Southern when I am mad or around my friends from Tn & KY.

And I still say some southern things in professional staff meetings

mrs. miss alaineus said...

i grew up in the place where the western MASS accent meets the eastern MASS accent.

i have long a issues but not as bad as people in bahstin. i talk faster too which i think is a generalized east coast thing. i say soda.

i know people from the area where david dust grew up and i remember h'aint as being a regionalism i just couldnt wrap my head around all the different ways it was used.
that and they called stuffed cabbage pigeons.


Anonymous said...

I grew up in Michigan, and never thought I had an accent, but now that I no longer liver there, when I go back I here hints of that accent, that is almost Canadian.

I now live in Cincinnati, Ohio, which has an accent of it's own, a mix of southern and midwest. As for strange sayings, it is "PLEASE?" If some one does not hear you or did not understand something you said, the response is "PLEASE?" The first few times i heard it, I resonded with "Please WHAT??

Joy said...

Well, bless your heart, y'all have some mighty interesting expressions up there in central PA. Btw, "y'all" is plural, so I don't want to hear any of you messin' up and doin' it wrong, y'hear?

Now I'm fixin' to go get me some sleep.

Todd said...

are you sure you people speak EEENGLISH in PA?????

Beth said...

Oh, I love the different dialects in our country! I enjoyed reading about the accent where you're from--I had never heard of most of those, and it seems to be a very localized accent!

I have the upper Midwestern accent, which is fairly similar to Canadian. Lots of harrrrrrd rrrrr's, and flaaaaaat a's. In my area, we even say 'aunt' as 'ant,' rather than 'auhnt.' Also, instead of soda or coke we say pop.

I lived in North Dakota for a while, and I think the ND/Minnesota/Canadian accent is a bit different from ours here. They have a little more 'oh' action going on, as in 'Nort' Dakohda' or 'Minnesohda.'

Indiana is a long state, and once you get south of Indianapolis, you start hearing a bit of a southern twang.

I should have been a linguist. I would have been a cunning one. heeheehee XOXO

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