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Don’t Be Such A Leafpeeping Masshole

Topics: Lifestyle & Culture | 5 CommentsBy admin | January 20, 2009

Said the Kaybecker Floatin’ On A Logan Eatin’ An Italian

So Republicans Drink Coke And
Democrats Drink Sodapop?

I ran across yet another survey of the great Pop vs. Soda debate yesterday, which got me curious about regional dialects. I’m usually most intrigued by differences in language that are truly cross-cultural (one of my favorite books EVER remains Forbidden American English which, aside from being a serious ESL guide, is hilarious at parties) but America’s a big place and has plenty of its own peculiarities. I’ve moved around a fair amount, but my speech has probably been shaped more by wanting to appear media-savvy (or maybe reasonably educated without being stuffy) than anything else. I say sofa (not couch or davenport) sneaker (not tennis shoe or gym shoe), faucet (not spigot), skillet (not frying pan or spider), gutter (not eaves trough or spouting), seesaw (not teeter-totter or dandle) firefly (not lightning bug), and pail and bucket seem interchangeable to me. I take a peculiar pride in the fact that in spite of living in the Midwest most of my life, you can tell the difference between when I say “pen” or “pin”. The best condensed list of these differences that I could find was this Regional Vocabularies of American English page on Answers.com, especially the Regionalisms section, which is where I snagged all the words in the headline. Have any quirky regionalisms to share?

Read Comments

  1. Posted by Laura on 01.20.09 6:37 pm

    Here in Chicago the space between two homes is called a gangway. What is it there?

  2. Posted by admin on 01.20.09 8:08 pm

    Hmmm. I wonder if that’s some sort of Al Capone influence? As far as I know, around here we call the space between two houses a “cornfield”.

  3. Posted by Dojo Nick on 01.22.09 12:34 am

    This time of year, we call it a “glacier.”

  4. Posted by Naomi on 01.22.09 12:38 pm

    Of what I remember from teaching about this, the word you use for a submarine sandwich is supposed to be one of the best indicators of your region in the US.

    My favorite regional-speak is the (mostly Southern) Illinois use of ‘anymore’. Standard English use involves a negative statement such as “I don’t do that anymore”. Illinois (again, mostly Southern) folks use ‘anymore’ as synonymous with ‘nowadays’, e.g.: “Movies are so expensive anymore”. It’s pretty distracting, actually. And it’s spreading… you hear it often.. anymore.

  5. Posted by » How To Talk Like A Hillbilly - Dissociated Press on 11.14.09 10:57 am

    [...] a little redneck, sometimes a little white trash. We’ve talked about regionalisms like Leafpeeping Massholes and general misuse of English before, but I’m trying to assemble and categorize as many of [...]