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Friday, January 30, 2009

1/30/09 Steelers: Pittsburghese 101

It’s officially Steeler Fever here in Pittsburgh (although it’s a year round fanfest here), but more about that tomorrow. Today I’m going to give yunz a little lesson on Pittsburghese 101. This might come in handy if you’re watching TV on Sunday night (Have you heard yet? There’s a big game!). Who knows, they might interview one of those many Pittsburgh natives and after yunz lesson here you’ll actually know what they’re saying. I’m not poking fun, as I’m officially a Pittsburgher now. Their very friendly and inclusive here…after a mere 8 years living here, I’m now an official Pittsburgher. Yeah, each city I’ve lived in has their own slang, but it’s very pronounced here and this is not a very transient town, it’s mostly natives, so you hear it a lot. Pittsburghese is mostly VERY fast talking and they just smash all the words together.

My very first week here, I kid you not, we were talking to a carpenter who works for our builder and then I told him we needed to get somewhere, and as fast as you can say it he asks us “Da-boat-a-yunzes-g’n-dahntahn?” Now say THAT three times fast (if you can, you’re a Pittsburgher). We had no clue what he said, so DH politely asks him “Please?” Dear Lord! This is the Cincinnati word for (DH grew up there and we lived there for a year) “HUH?" or “What?” (very polite people, those Cincinnatians…Please?...they use it for EVERYTHING. Just sayin’….you might need to know this if the Bengals ever make it back to the Super Bowl.) So I’m standing there in the long pause between these two dialects, with neither one knowing what the other one just said. So I politely as our carpenter “What did you ask?” He repeats at a more normal pace, which must have seemed like super-slow-mo to him “Da…boat..a..yunzes…g’n…dahntahn?”….pause…we smiled and without a response we waved goodbye as “The both of us (you) were going downtown.”

I won’t bore you with the million or so slang abbreviations they have for locations in Pittsburgh, as you probably don’t know them (the Mon *wink*), but you need to know they (oops we) call our city The Burgh. Here’s the ones I’ve personally heard. Study up…you only have a few days left…

*Anat-A combination of two words that means and that.
*Anymore-A rather confusing construction which doesn't mean any, or more, or even anymore. Instead, it means nowadays, or currently, or these days. It almost always occurs as the first word of a sentence, as in this example: "Anymore, the traffic on Liberty Avenue moves so slow, it's quicker to walk."
*Crick-The way a Pittsburgher says creek.
*Comere-A Pittsburgh "quickie". Come here, said quickly, is comere. See also: Gahed.
*D-Pittsburghers have a lot of strange likes and dislikes. One dislike is the letter D, especially when it is in the middle of a word, next to another consonant. Being non-violent, for the most part, Pittsburghers do not rely on force to eliminate those offensive D's; instead they simply invoke one of the laws of English pronunciation and make the D's silent. Hence, couldn't becomes cooun't, wouldn't becomes wooun't, and everyone's all time favorite, didn't becomes din't.
*Da-boat-a- The both of. As in “Da-boat-a-yunz g’n dahntahn.” (my personal fav now)
*Dahntahn-The way a Pittsburgher says downtown.
*Djeatyet? Nodju?-Polish? Ukrainian? No, it's those Pittsburghers again, spitting out syllables as fast as they can and losing half of them in the process. It really means "Did you eat yet" "No. Did you?"
*Drug-It's not something we should "just say no" too. It's simply the past tense of the word drag
*Gahed-Say it quick in Pittsburgh and it's not go ahead, but rather gahed. See also: Comere
*Gumban-A word which, if said slowly, would be heard as gum band, which is what everyone else in the world calls a rubber band.
*Hafta- Have to. I haftago to the baffroom!
*Ink pen-Although there's really no reason to announce what's inside a pen, Pittsburghers do anyway. Instead of asking for just a pen, they ask for an ink pen.
*Ketch-What the Steelers offense should be doing. *You might need to know this one!
*Redd up-To clean up, or tidy up.
*Tubes-Pittsburgh slang for tunnels.
*Worsh-As a noun, it's the stuff that goes into the washing machine when it gets dirty. As a verb, it's what you do to the stuff once it gets into the washing machine.
*Yunz-The word that sets Pittsburghers apart from everyone else in the world. It means the same as all of you and is sort of a northern y'all. Yunz is singular, with yunzes usually reserved for the plural.

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