We need a translator

thats an exaggeration, but we have noticed somewhat of a communication breakdown as we converse in Pennsylvania. Obviously, we have the southern draaaaaawl and the Pennsylvanians have something altogether different. Here's an example:

1. In the south, we say "y'all" .. up here we expected "You guys" but usually we here we here "younz" as in "Younz need to borrow a rake?"

2. Also, we've heard the expression "red up" as in clean up, get ready. "I'm ganna red up the yard today."

3. speaking of words like "gotta" , up here its "gAtta" like "I gatta tell you guys..." or instead of "bought" its "i baght a broom"

4. instead of "color" we here "keller" up here. "What keller is the house?"

5. we say "buggy" instead of "grocery cart" well, actually i say "buggy" and adam says "cart" probably because i'm from louisiana.

6. the everpresent coke vs. pop debate. you guys wanna pop? its actually not even "pop" here its "pahp"

7. car is "cah" ganna pahk my cah in the pahking laht.

and then there are some people here who are polish. and honestly.. we never have any idea what they are saying. and vice-versa. we just look at each other confusedly. and smile. but they are always friendly!

thus we are learning to translate our draaaaawl and y'alleatet? (did you eat yet?) ya'antto? (do you want to?) into northeasterner. of course we can't say the difference between "pen" and "pin" either. so there you go. adventures in dialect.


Jenson said...

Hi there! I'm from the South, too. Orginally from VA... spent some in NC. My family comes from Shreveport. Anyway-- People still look confused anytime I say "Y'ALL." I have to repeat myself a lot!

When I first moved to PA in 6th grade, people made fun of the way I talked but now, I miss the accent I used to have. Every so often, my accent pops out though :)

I used to say pen like "pin." It took a lot of kids making fun of me to learn words like "ken" are not said like "kin."



Stephanie said...

What you need to learn is Pittsburghese. It does have a translator page btw:


I grew up in Florida (mostly north Florida, which is like Georgia) until I was 13 so I'm fluent in both Southern and Pittsburghese. If you go to Giant Eagle (pron: "Jant Iggle"), you can encounter more Pittsburghese. Asked for the chipped ham at the deli, for example.

Kitten said...

My family picks on the way I talk because I picked up a Boston accent from a vacation years ago (I pick up on other accents VERY quickly and can adapt to where ever I am). Even my kids correct me if I pronounce something different from the way they know how to say it - and I don't notice that I've said it differently.

Unknown said...

I wish I heard more people around Erie speaking Polish, I need some practice speaking it! (I'm trying to learn)

Trisha said...

Ah, yes, the Pittsburghese. It's hard to learn, lol. I've been here 4 1/2 years and still have a hard time understanding it! I grew up in Indiana, but am more apt to say y'all than you guys.

Freya_Borealis said...

I was going to express my amazement that you're hearing a Pittsburgh accent around here because I grew up with the knowledge that according to Linguists, Northwestern PA as far north from Pgh as we are HAS no accent. My Linguistics professor at Gannon told us that here in Erie we speak (spoke???) "Journalese," i.e., the totally unaccented American English television broadcasters strive for.
Then I noticed that none of the comments to your post expressed disagreement and some even agreed with you.
So I did some research and was shocked, SHOCKED I TELL YOU (LOL) to discover that it's generally agreed that Erie speaks a watered-down version of Pittsburghese.
(I nearly fainted...to think of all the gentle teasing I directed toward the many Pgh'ers I've known over the years!)
This is from the University of Pennsylvania:

"Q. Erie, you say, is also a unique case. Tell me about that.

A. Erie in the 1930s and 1940s was strictly northern, but now it’s shifted over and it’s now part of the Western Pennsylvania dialect. That’s very interesting and there are some people working on that now. It’s the only city we know of that has actually changed its status like that. As for why, you obviously think of Pittsburgh residents maybe taking their vacation time there at the beach, but people in Buffalo and Cleveland go there, too. So we don’t have an answer for that."
Oh well...I guess I'll have to get used to it!
But if you ever run into me you will never hear the word "y'unz" pass my lips.
(Although I say "crick" for creek, "ruf" for roof, and have never lived in a house with a basement - it's a CELLAR, darn it!)