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Pittsburgh : Speaking Pittsburghese

Updated on September 17, 2014

Welcome to Pittsburgh!!

Did you ever try to figure out where somebody lives just by listening to the way they talk, the phrases they say? Well if you ever here someone refer to “Da Burgh” everyone knows right away that you are from Pittsburgh, Pa. and that you are speaking what we affectionately refer to as “Pittsburghese”. Pittsburgh was founded in 1758 by John Forbes in honor of William Pitt. Pittsburgh was originally made of up Scots – Irish Immigrants, German, Quakers, Italians, Croats, Poles, Slovaks and Jewish. The different languages make up the “Pittsburgese” that you still hear today in Pittsburgh.

Learning the Lingo

  1. Downtown - pronounced dahntahn
  2. Bologna - Pittsburgh says “Jumbo”
  3. Rubber bands - Pittsburgh says “Gumbands”
  4. Submarine Sandwich - Pittsburgh says “Hoagie”
  5. Out - Pittsburgh says “aht”
  6. Jag - Pittsburgh says “Jagoff”
  7. Soda, Soft Drink - Pittsburgh says “Pop”
  8. Nosy - Pittsburgh says “Nebby”
  9. You , you guys - Pittsburgh says “Yinz”
  10. Clean up - Pittsburgh says “Redd up”
  11. Slippery - Pittsburgh says “Slippy”
  12. Creek - Pittsburgh says “Crick”
  13. I can’t believe it - Pittsburgh says “Nuh –uh”

Moving To The West Coast

So there you have a sample of “Pittsburghese”. I know someone from Pittsburgh who moved to Colorado. She went into a deli there and asked for a Hoagie. She was promptly informed that they don’t sell “Hoagies” here, you have to go to a store that sells sweepers. They explained that a hoagie was a sandwich, and then the person understood. They then asked what they wanted on the sandwich and they told them Jumbo and Chipped Ham, neither of these were part of the menu until they said jumbo is bologna and chipped ham is just ham sliced thin. Pittsburgese can be a little confusing at times, but Pittsburgh is not the only area with their own way of saying things. If you go to the south you would hear a completely different dialect, same as if you went to New York or Boston. Pittsburgh however seems to be recognized everywhere. I went to Florida and was talking to people from Texas and they said you’re from Pittsburgh aren’t you? I said yes, how did you know? I was informed it was my pronunciation of certain words and they said most people recognize a Pittsburgher’s language. I didn’t know it was different, it’s the way I grew up talking. I didn't realize how different I was until I moved to the west coast. Now I try to remember cola, bologna, and sliced ham when ordering.

PNC Park
PNC Park


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