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How to Speak Pittsburghese like a Yinzer
The Biggest Rules of Pittsburghese
- The "ow" sound is pronounced like "ah." Like instead of out, you say aht. (If you're having trouble pronouncing it, elongate the a so it sounds like "ah.") This is a surefire way to spot someone from Pittsburgh.
I'm going dahtahn for an ahr.
- Long e sounds are pronounced like a short i.
The Stillers are the best football team in the universe.
- If more than two words can be pronounced as one, then it's slurred that way.
Every region of the world has their own dialect, accents, and colloquialisms that mark it as unique and distinct. In the United States especially, any American can pinpoint exactly where a person is from as soon as they start speaking, just because of their "accent" and the phrases they use. Because of this, cities often develop their own language, or deviations from the normal English. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is no exception to that.
What marks Pittsburghese as significantly distinctive is our use of words and phrases that don't mean anything or are completely indiscernible if you don't already know what they are. You can't figure them out on their own; not that adaptations of the English language all over the country aren't like this, but Pittsburghese is like a vernacular all its own.
Whether you need the pronunciation or the definition of a word we use, it's all right here.
'Sliberty - East Liberty
Beer - Beaver. As in Beaver County
Mon - The Monongahela River, one of the Three Rivers of Pittsburgh
Windeez - Wendy's restaurant
Wes En - West End
Mancini's - bakery whose bread is so good you'd think it was made by angels
Igloo - Mellon Arena, AKA Civic Arena where the Pittsburgh Penguins play. It's no longer there, and now it's the Consol Energy Center. AKA Consol
Bottoms - Lower Part of McKees Rocks
Shayside - Shadyside, a neighborhood east of the city
Sahside - South Side
Dahntahn - downtown, like in Pittsburgh
Pymatooming - Pynatuning Lake, right up north off of 79
Lebo - Mount Lebanon. Also sometimes referred to as Mahnt Lebo
Lahrnsville - Lawrenceville
Jine Iggle - Giant Eagle
The Strip - Strip District, home of Wholey's Fish Market and Peace, Love, and Little Donuts
Ins and Ahts of Pittsburgh
Redd up - do a light cleaning; putting things away and picking stuff up off the floor, but no vacuuming or dusting
Jeet jet? - Did you eat yet?
No, dju? - No, did you?
Dahn the Rocks - in Mckees Rocks
A whole nother - another, but more dramatic
Back'air - back there
Chout - watch out
Dahnahhahs - down the house; usually what people saying when they're going home, or visiting their parents
Kennywood's open - the fly of your pants is down (in reference to our amusement park, Kennywood)
Mills on Wills - the catering company Meals on Wheels
Mize well - I might as well
Pittsburgh Steelers Song
Other Everyday Words
Gum band - rubber band
Jagoff - an idiot; usually someone who cut you off while you were driving
Jumbo - lunch meat. Typically bologna.
Babushka - scarf worn wrapped around the head and shoulders
Worsh - wash. Also Worshington
Blinkers - turning signals
Yinz - you guys. Similar to "y'all." Also yinz guys.
Buggy - shopping cart. Like at Jine Iggle
Cahny - county. Allegheny, Beaver, Worshington, etc.
Cellar - basement
Chipped ham - ham sliced so thin it's almost transparent
Clicker - remote control
Dupa - your butt
Arn - iron
Tennies - any type of sneakers, usually not worn for actual tennis. Also tennis shoes.
Hankerin - need or want, like a craving
Half-ahr - half an hour
Jaggerbush - any plant with thorns (jaggers are thorns)
An'at - and that
Keller - color (...not Helen)
Pop - any soft drink
Sweeper - vacuum
Worsh rag - washcloth
Yinzer - a native of Pittsburgh who speaks the language fluently
Slippy - slippery
Nebby - nosey
Zaksame - exact same
Are you fluent in Pittsburghese now?
After a Thorough Lesson
These are the main phrases, words, and places that people from Pittsburgh use pretty much daily. The younger generations are starting to lose their Pittsburghese touch, but the ones born and raised in Pittsburgh have an accent that's still stronger than ever.
Here we go Stillers!