Saturday, May 29, 2021

Speaking (or should I say speakin) like a Native

 Hi everyone. 

There was a show on the local TV station awhile back about New England words and phrases.  I am sure this is true almost everywhere, but here in New England we have a whole lot of words and phrases that are New England local (at least when I confirmed them on the internet). 

Never mind our way of speaking. Anything with an ar or er gets the ah sound. In some areas of New England, like Boston, that ah sound is much more pronounced. So radar is radah. And smart would be smaht.  And if you are from Worcester, my hometown, you would say Woustah. Because it is not Worchester or Worsester as some want to pronounce it. If you are speaking the name of that town properly, you would say Wouster, (like how you pronounce the vowels in the word would, with a ster on the end), even thought it is not spelled that way.

Maybe my British blog friends who read this can comment if the pronunciation of Worcester in their area of Britain is similar. I once was in London and had a conversation with someone about how to pronounce the area/ city  called  Greenwich. I called it "Grenich", and he said  back to me, don't you mean "Greenwhich"?   After I asked if I was mistaken because the 2 places called Greenwich I know about, in Connecticut and New York City, pronounce it "Grenich".   He laughed and said no I had it correct but so many of Americans pronounce it wrong and say Green-which

It is fun to figure out how towns and cities got their names, and I am also curious if our English founding back 400 years ago here in New England has affected how we pronounce out local town names. 

For those of you not familiar with New England, it is made up of the 6 most northeast states in the US that are Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.  And I must say, because someone will comment on this, that even though we share some pronunciation and local phrase similarities, there are a lot of language differences in and around New England.

I thought I was done making pages for Elle's Language challenge at Art Journal Journey, but I just had to make one after seeing this local show. It was just too good to pass up.

I started my page with a multicolored painted background. Then I added this sheet of lacey paper. Once that was all dry, I sponged on some gesso to pull it all together. Then I added the map. I outlined and colored in New England. Finally I typed in the words I wanted to use and printed them, then I cut them out and added them around the map.

If you are interested in what any of these words of phrases mean, here's my little dictionary. Some of these phrases are not as commonly used as they once were. Some are more localized than others. And maybe, you even use a similar word in your area too.

My Little New England "Language" Dictionary

Ayah-a Maine phrase pronounced with a long A and a yuh. It would be said by someone when you just got their attention, and they are responding to you. For example if you said "Excuse me" trying to get someone's attention, that person could look at you and respond "Ayuh"

Hornpout- a catfish 

Barrel- a trash can

Wicked- means really good/great or a lot of something, like wicked tasty or wicked rainy

hamburg- a short form of ground beef or a hamburger sandwich

jimmies- are sprinkles, little chocolate or multicolored items you put on ice cream or cupcakes or something sweet

frappe (pronounced frap not frappay)- in New England a milk shake is flavoring and milk only, if you add ice cream it is a frappe

down cellar- in the basement

elastics- rubber bands

johnny- a hospital gown

close the lights- this is a French Canadian phrase meaning turn off the lights that people who grew up in French and English speaking New England communities often say. They also might say open the lights. These are literal translation so the French words.

an Italian- not someone from Italy, although it could be, it is a sandwich made with cold cuts like salami, parma ham, and mortadela, cheese, some veggies and maybe even some hot peppers

bang a uey- make a u turn

So don't I- grammatically incorrect, but means you agree with what someone is saying to you

ice box- refrigerator

package store- a liquor store especially true in Massachusetts, shorten to packie

beater- an old beat up car

bubbler- a water fountain

bug- a lobster or an insect or a form of a VW car

the directional or blinker- the turn signal on a car

leaf-peepers- someone out looking at the fall foliage

a grinder- is a sub or hoagie sandwich made on a long thin backed roll

tonic- soda, pop, carbonated non-alcoholic drink

numb- not with it, not getting what someone is saying or what is going on

the clicker- a remote control

rotary- a traffic circle or round about

right out straight- way too busy with too much to do

statie- a state trooper police

townie- someone who lives in one town all or most of their life and has no plans to leave it

roadie- an illegal alcoholic drink in a car, not good  (or recommended you do) while driving

American chop suey- a dish made of noodles, tomato sauce, beef and flavorings

booking it- moving fast

flatlander- someone who isn't from around the area, or as they say in Maine "from away"

Have a wonderful weekend!


CJ Kennedy said...

Love this! Your page is wicked fun! Add suicide circle to the definition of rotary. 😺 Stay dry this weekend.

Iris Flavia said...

We say "Woustah-sauce", LOL.
johnny- a hospital gown - is my fav!
And bang a uey could be Aussie-slang as well.
Tonic we use, too!
Have a nice weekend! Languages are fun.

Valerie-Jael said...

What a fun post.Worcester is pronounced in England like Wouster, too. And there are many dialects in England as in Germany and probably most other countries, too. It's always fun to be able to hear where someone comes from! This is a great idea for Elle's theme.Have a fun weekend, take care! Hugs, Valerie

kathyinozarks said...

Good morning I really enjoyed this post-very fun the deep south rural areas have a language of their own as well very interesting thanks

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I knew about wicked, leaf-peepers, bubbler, and ice box. Do you say divan, couch, or sofa? I am curious. And I made a tee shirt when I got back from Cambridge that read HAHVAHD. People in KS had no idea what it meant. I love this latest entry, Erika. It was wonderful. Thank y'all for sharing this with us at Art Journal Journey using Elle's theme.

Jeanie said...

I LOVE this, Erika! I knew an awful lot of them -- but there were more than a few that were totally new to me. The different words are always such fun. This would be a great Jeopardy series!

Divers and Sundry said...

Fascinating! As with the South it can sound like a foreign language if you aren't a local.

Neet said...

I too pronounce Worcester like you - one I had to be corrected on once was "Belvoir" which is pronounced like "beaver", which reminds me "Cholmondeley" is pronounced "Chumley". No wonder they say English is hard to learn.
Thanks for your interesting page in your journal - some words I understood and some not. Thanks also for the Little new England Language Dictionary - very interesting.
Hugs, Neet xx
ps to me "jimmies" are what I wear to go to bed sometimes (PJ's) but a lot of the words I would not have known.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

To answer your question, I say love seat. Just joking. Like you, I say couch, even though I no longer own one!

pearshapedcrafting said...

Love this Erika - yes - Woustah in England too and Leicester is Lestah, Portsmouth is Portsmuth, Norwich is Norritch, Salisbury is Solsbree....I could go on as there are some are more confusing! Greta to see this page with your explanation! Hugs, Chrisx

Cath Wilson said...

Sounds as if New England dialect originates in Northern England, and maybe specifically NW. We say smaht and many other things in a similar way. Such an interesting post. I love language. I was just wondering if you use the French open the taps (fawcets) too, like the French. There were lots of things I Had to relearn when I lived there - such as on TV being a la télé - usually because the language is actually more precise. I think the Americans have adopted some of their grammar, too - for example 'if you would have done that' over there would use a pluperfect here - 'if you had done that'. We say 'elastics', too - not rubber bands. What a great journal page.
Cath x

Cath Wilson said...

PS, yes, it is Wusta for Worcester - and Lesta for Leicester...x

Anne (cornucopia) said...

Lovely art piece.

And I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, being from New England myself. Although some of these terms I didn't know. And I chuckled about "Greenwich" being pronounced "Grenich" because I didn't think about the fact that it is not pronounced the way it is spelled until I read this. But as you pointed out, the same is true for "Worcester." When I first pronounced that city name, I said it the way it was spelled, and was promptly corrected by someone who knew the right way to say it.

And despite Connecticut and Rhode Island being right next to each other, I didn't know that they used the word "bubbler" for what we call a "water fountain", and to them, a water fountain is something entirely different (the "other" thing that we in Connecticut call a water fountain too).

But ask the British how to say the Thames River in Connecticut, and they will say it the "right" way (Temz), while the Colonists at some point changed the pronunciation to the way it is spelled: Thames (like flames). (After all, the Thames River is in New London, CT so both names came from the original British names. :-) )

And here in the "States" we call it a "flash light" but the British call it a "torch". (I find language nuances / differences a fun topic.)

Empire of the Cat said...

What a fun page! I loved learning all the local lingo, some of which I know already from too much TV lol. Bang a uey is very much like the Aussie Hang or chuck a uey. There is a place in the UK called Launceston (in Cornwall) which is pronounced Lawnston, but there is also a Launceston in Tasmania that is pronounced Lawn ceston how fun is that lol. Thanks for joining me for the Language theme at Art Journal Journey this month Elle xx

nwilliams6 said...

So fun, Erika. I loved reading this!!! I should have done a page with Southern sayings! I will have to try it one day. Totally fun page and post! Hugz

Mrs.B said...

A great post Erika, language is so interesting and I enjoyed reading your New England Dictionary, it's strange how different areas of a country adopt their own sayings and meanings. Loved the page in the previous post too, this has been a great topic, but I just ran out of time this month.
Hope you've had a great weekend.
Hugs, Avril xx

Meggymay said...

A great post Erika, local dialect and where you come has already been mentioned and depending where you live does so effect how you speak. When my sons finished University they lost most of the local intonations in the way they talked. Hearing them speaking to friends who had come from all areas of the UK the dialects had blended into a very clear way of speaking that suited them all. Years later they still can switch from the local tones to the universal speech of those days which they use in their working environment.
Stay safe.
Yvonne xx

Lowcarb team member said...

I did enjoy this post.
Such fun ... many thanks.

All the best Jan