|The Language of Pittsburgh|
|Learn to Speak 'Pittsburghese' Like a Native|
Planning a visit to Pittsburgh? Before you come, make sure to get out your maps, decide what you want to do and see and, if you cannot understand the following exchange between Pittsburghers Don and Howard, you may want to learn a new language!
If you aren't a Pittsburgh native, that conversation probably didn't make much sense to you. Well, believe it or not, I grew up in Pittsburgh, and I even had trouble with some of their lingo, known affectionately as Pittsburghese. While not all Picksbergers (oops, thats Pittsburghers) speak like that, to many long time residents, especially those who grew up in the steel towns along the Monongahela River, this is the Queens English.
No one is really sure where Pittsburghese came from. Much of it is the ethnic mix of Pittsburgh, which is really a quintessential melting pot of the gateway to the west. We have Germans, Poles, Italians, Slovaks, and a dozen other nationalities that all settled where the three rivers come together.
These local idioms are pervasive in all sections of Pittsburgh culture, however, not just in the mill towns. I always make sure I redd up (tidy up) my room. When the floor 'needs swept' I pull out the sweeper (vacuum). I even wash dishes with dish soap (dishwashing liquid). I cant stand when my neighbors get too nebby (nosy), my mailman uses gum bands (rubber bands) to bundle my mail and I enjoy an occasional Ahrn (Iron City beer). I definitely drive my wife nuts with these and no doubt countless other Pittsburghese. But these are the terms everyone uses, aren't they? Apparently not, as I recently received some quizzical looks and even a few snickers when asking a sales person in a department store in Dallas for rubbers (galoshes).
It took me years to realize that wash did not have an r in it (we always said warsh as in warsh cloth). Fortunately, most of my idioms are just quirks, compared to some die-hard Pittsburghers that start every sentence with Yinz (you ones), and end them with nat (and that). Then again, I guess I cringe when I hear someone, who wants a soft drink, ask for a soda. Of course, we all know that a soft drink is pop, and a soda is really a flavored, carbonated beverage (like root beer) with ice cream in it.
Well, scratch my back with a hacksaw, I hope to see you all in da ' Burgh real soon! Learning Picksburgese is easier than you might think. Once yinz guys git into tahn, pump an Ahrn or two, ave some pigs-n-a-blanket and a chipped ham sammich nat, yizzel be old pros! Well, nuff fer now. Elvis has left the building. Just remember, its a Burgh thing!
Don and Howard - In English
Next page > Don and Howard - The