Monday, August 31, 2020

Unusual American words and phrases

    Last post, I talked about language learning during the pandemic and how difficult learning English must be.
    Yet another confusing aspect to English, even for Americans, is regional slang.

    I grew up in New England, where we had our own jargon. Some examples:
    Grinder is Yankee for a sub sandwich. (It’s ‘hoagie’ in Pennsylvania.)
    Jimmies are called sprinkles most everywhere else.
    A tag sale in New England is a yard sale in NC where I live now.
    A rotary is Yankee for a highway roundabout.
    A milkshake in Massachusetts is just that, milk and syrup blended into a frothy confection. If you add ice cream it becomes a frappe (pronounced frap). And around Boston, soda is pop.
    When the ground thaws in Yankee land it creates a mud season, and many a farmhouse has a mud room to keep entrants from tracking up the whole house.
     In the fall, roads like the Mohawk Trail and Route Nine through the Western Massachusetts hill towns are filled with leaf peepers, folks who come from afar to view the traditionally spectacular foliage displays.
     Wicked is an adjective used as an intensifier for anything. Powder snow makes for wicked good skiing and snowmobiling. Cheeseburgers in the old-fashioned diners that remain are wicked delicious.

     When I moved south, I had to learn a whole new regional phraseology.
     Y’all, and hankerin’, and down yonder, and pitch a hissy fit, and bless your heart, and well, I’ll be.
     And you don’t just say could in Dixie because that’s too committal. Better to say might could to hedge it a bit. Then you’re covered if'n you can’t.
     Y’all be safe and well now, hear?

No matter where you’re from, check out the North Carolina suspense series Guns, Diamondback, Kllrs, and Deathsman in print or Kindle on Amazon or through my website for some distracting pandemic reading that will take you away from our current troubles. People seem to like the yarns.

1 comment:

  1. You forgot "used-ta-could", as in "I used-ta-could sleep through the night...."

    And "fixin'", as in "Im fixin' to go to Publix..."

    22 years now, this Yankee has lived in the Deep South, and still pickin' up new stuff.

    Thanks for the laughs this morning