I grew up outside Boston. Which means I grew up never knowing much geography because I learned at an early age that Boston was the center of the world. And while I knew that the people around me often dropped their Rs (as they “pahk the cah in Hahvad Yahd”), they said things that made perfect sense to me.
Then I moved to the Midwest. Where the carbonated beverage you drink is called “pop.” And the person putting your groceries in a bag is a “sacker.” And I quickly learned that Boston is not actually the center of the world and that in fact much of the terminology I grew up with was not easily understood by my new neighbors. Nor theirs by me.
Where do colloquialisms come from? Who decides if I am drinking Coke or tonic or soda or pop? Why do some people sleep late but other sleep in? And does my brother-in-law really think I am going to buy into his theory that “acrosst” is an actual word meaning across in a catty corner way? I put away my groceries when I come home from the store but others put UP theirs. And that long kind of sandwich… is it a sub or a grinder or a hoagie?
When I first met my husband, a native Midwesterner, I was confounded by his use of “anymore.” As in, “I used to do that, but anymore I do this.” What? Oh yeah. He means “nowadays.” And he is very insistent that the state bordering ours is pronounced with an “a” sound at the end despite being spelled with an “i.” (How do YOU say Missouri?) Wait… maybe I am confusing pronunciation and regional accents with colloquialisms? Do you “wash” or “wersh” your clothes? Do you have an “aunt” or an “ant?” Do you say “tomahto” while I say “tomato?”
Growing up back east I had Jimmies on my ice cream cones. Here they are called sprinkles. They were “wicked” good, or maybe you would say they were “awesome.” And to pay for them I took money out of my pocka-book (aka pocketbook), which now I call my purse.
Rotary vs. roundabout, bubbler vs. water fountain, elastic vs. rubber band. Do you “take I-70” or “take the I-70.” If someone tells you about a wonderful time they had, how do you respond? My mother swears that Easterners will respond, “What fun,” while Midwesterners will say, “How fun.” I’ve never noticed this one myself. Is she right?
And that’s, as some, but not I, would say, all the further I can go with this.
Your turn:) Or, as my blog friend, Leslie, might say, “youze guys!”