Talk the Talk

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Before I wander into the great unknown that is Pittsburgh, I think I need to brush up on my Pittsburghese.
In my post yesterday, I briefly touched on the language that exists in Pittsburgh. Since I really only used the word yinz (you guys) to annoy my Ohio friends, I think I need a crash course on how to speak like a local:
Picksburgh = Pittsburgh (NEVER forget the h at the end!)
Stillers = Steelers
Jeet jet? = Did you eat yet?
Dahntahn = Downtown
Ahr = hour
Arn = Iron
Baffroom = Bathroom
Red up = To clean
Brights = High beams (I actually do use this term, but I didn’t know it wasn’t universal)
Buggy = shopping cart (again, I thought this was what everyone called it)
Clicker = remote control
Gum band = rubber band
Gian’ Iggle = Giant Eagle grocery store
Worsh = wash
Slippy = Slippery (another one I use)
Ovaderr = over there
Sheep’s leg = Wipe your nose (this exists?!)
Wutzername = What’s her name?
Yagottabekiddin = You have got to be kidding
You kids are driving me to Dixmont = You kids are driving me crazy (Wow, that bad? Am I really annoying you that much that you need an insane asylum?)
Okay. So today I’m just going to march dahntahn and be all, “Yinz know where the baffroom is?” “I think I left my brights on. Man, my car needs worshed.” “Jeet jet?” “At least it ain’t slippy out.” “Be there in about an ahr.”
It actually kind of hurts my vocal chords to talk like that.
Three years outside of Picksburgh, and yinz’d think it wouldn’t be enough to lose the accent of my youth, but I guess the question remains: did I even have an accent in the first place?Ā  I must have. Why else would I still say “buggy,” “brights,” and “slippy” unless I learned them during childhood?
For the record, Yinzers are not unintelligent, as I am going to prove. Pittsburgh has an abundance of museums and culture. We just have our own way of saying things.
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6 thoughts on “Talk the Talk

  1. Sharon

    You missed ‘nat (and that, etcetera). I’ve never used that, but I know people who do. I was just talking yesterday to a neighbor who said it several times.

  2. While I never had the accent (no dahntahns for me, thanks!) certain words made their way into my vocabulary that I had no idea were localized. Pop (the ONLY Sodapop I acknowledge is Ponyboy’s brother), buggy, brights. I know what clicker means though I’ve always said remote.

    Because neither of us had the Pittsburghese accent I’m wondering if it comes from being so immersed in books in our childhood. Roald Dahl certainly didn’t speak Pittsburghese! I’m betting Laura Ingalls Wilder never encountered Yinzers on the prairie.

    That said, the older I get, the more I wish I had the accent. Even though I’ve lived here my entire life, I feel a bit like an outsider for not saying certain words/pronouncing certain syllables. šŸ™‚ Perhaps I’ll start introducing Pittsburghese into my speech.

    • It wouldn’t surprise me. I know that my time at Kent State studying English (as well as being immersed in the Akron “a”) drove out what little Pittsburghese I had. But I’m working on it!

      Oooh, that’s right, I did forget about pop. I feel like that could be a whole other blog post in itself!

  3. Katie B.

    Some of these are negotiable as “Pittsburghese.” Pop is more of a PA/OH/MI thing. (You should have seen my students’ faces when I said it the other week.) Many people down here in GA use “buggy” and I had never heard it until I moved down here. I’ve always used “clicker” and “brights.” My dad’s from central PA and he claims that “red up” is a central PA thing.

    Also, I don’t remember you having a Pittsburgh accent and I first knew you when you were fresh out of PA.

    • That makes me feel better then. I was afraid I was becoming too comfortable. šŸ˜› I wish I could have seen those faces. Hearing “pop” made moving to Ohio easier because even though I don’t drink the stuff, hearing “soda” would have driven me crazy!

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