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!