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Pittsburgh: The Steelers and The Language

Updated on February 2, 2011
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania | Source

Pittsburgh Has The Steelers and Its Own Language

When we think about Pittsburgh (aka The Burgh) scenes of a dirty steel mill town comes to mind. But, today Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is no longer a town cluttered with steel mills spewing poisons into the atmosphere. Pittsburgh is now a modern renaissance city. A city with modern cathedrals, high-tech companies, Old World atmosphere embellished with friendly faces, fun and adventure.

The City of Pittsburgh was founded in 1758, incorporated in 1816, and is comprised of 55.5 square miles that ranks as the 13th largest city in the United States. The city has a population of 350,363 and the entire Allegheny County has a population of 1,336,449. It thrives at an elevation of 1,223 feet, and Pittsburgh is the nation's largest inland port that provides access to the extensive 9,000 mile U.S. inland waterway system.

Education does not take a backseat, in Pittsburgh, with 92 public schools, 72 private schools, 58 parochial schools, 38 proprietary schools, and 8 colleges and universities. Pittsburgh has 4 major newspapers, 32 radio stations and 8 television stations. Also located in Pittsburgh are numerous churches: 348 Protestant; 86 Roman Catholic, 28 Jewish; and 8 Orthodox.

Steel, once being the major industry, no longer is the ruling entity of the area. Pittsburgh is visited by 3.9 million people annually, which makes for a $2.2 billion industry that provides more than 35,000 full-time equivalent jobs within the region.

Pittsburghers have the Steelers Football Team and a language of their own. They have survived the Homestead strikes, Johnstown and Etna Floods. Pittsburghers are tough-minded and have worked hard in mills and mines without complaint. Chic Internet cafes or cappuccinos might not be the norm in this city, but they have the Original Hot Dog joint, Primanti's Eat n Park, and Iron City Beer. Palm tree-lined and sunny beaches or high-dollar yachts might not be part of Pittsburgh's scenery, but the rivers flow and connect small towns that were built on strength and humility, and the area is rich in history. The blue-collar world in this area was symbolic of hard work, family values, however, no one suggested they lacked material things. When the steel mills closed and jobs disappeared, some people had to leave to find other employment to support their families.

Many Pittsburghers may have departed the area, but they taught their kids about Jack Lambert, Lynn Swann, Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Joe Montana, Jack Ham, L.C. Greenwood, Joe Green and Myron Cope. The Terrible Towels wave for the team and the hearts left behind.

Pittsburgh may not have the biggest shopping malls or best nightclubs, but Pittsburghers will take a Friday night high school football or a Steeler's game over anything. These towels wave in living rooms and Washington, D.C., bars. They wave in the Seattle Superdome, and for the Rooney family, whose values mirror loyalty, grit and humility. The towels wave for football players like Jerome Bettis and Hines Ward, whose unselfishness and toughness taught about the game and the team.

Pittsburgh is not just about football. It's about tradition, family and roots. And, along with these qualities comes a language unique to the area. For instance, "Yunz" is from the Pittsburgh area, and if your rooting for Pittsburgh's finest, you might be heard saying "Go Picksburgh Steelers!" That's right, Picksburgh.

If you grew up in or around the area of Pittsburgh you might recognize and remember the following:

* You did not have spring break in high school.

* You walked carefully w hen it was "slippy" outside.

* Many times you went down to the "crick."

* You tell your kids to "red up" their rooms.

* You told your little brother or sister to stop bing so "nebby."

* Maybe you had "neb-nosed" neighbors.

* You skinned your knees when you fell into a "jaggerbush."

* If anyone asks you for a "Gum-Band" you know exactly what to give them.

* You've been to Beaver Valley, Turtle Crick, Mars, Slippery Rock, Greentree and New Castle.

* Hearing someone say "Hey, Yunz Guys" is not strange.

* "You guyses" is normal, for instance, "You guyses have a nice car."

" You know what "The Mon" or "The Yough" are.

* "The Point" is not necessarily someone pointing at something or the end of a writing tool.

* As you hear the chant, "Here we go Still-ers!" you join in.

* "There's a bug loose on the rug" has special meaning to you.

* You know what a "still mill" is.

* You drink pop, eat hoagies, love perogies, and most likely your favorite sandwich has coleslaw and French fried ON it.

* You order "dippy eggs."

* Summers or school picnics were had at Luna Park, Kennywood, Westview, Sand Castle or Idlewild.

* "Chipped ham" was always in the refrigerator when you were growing up. (Of course, it came from Isaly's.)

* Any condiments besides Heinz is not worth trying, unless there's a picture of a Pittsburgh athlete on the package.

* Wedding reception food consists of rigatoni, stuffed cabbage, sauerkraut and polska kielbasa.

Ahhh, yes, the language and colorful scenes abound throughout the Pittsburgh area, and along the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio Rivers.


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    • slideseven profile image


      7 years ago from UK

      Did they use your city for location making the movie "The Deer Hunter"? I've always wondered. Great film!

      Enjoyed your hub -and you did include a photo, so many hubbers don't -or maybe are not sure how to add one.


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