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Language Usage Amusements


JessiesMom

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My son is taking a public speaking class this semester and one of the things they have been talking about is regional and small group word usage. Basically the idea is that there are words and phrases that are commonly used in certain areas or in certain groups - that are not understandable outside of those areas or groups. 

This lead to an interesting dinner table discussion of what some of these are for our family. For example, my daughter is often referred to as the "Pink Princess" or the "Pink Princess of Langford Park" or (due to an amusing mistype on Facebook) "the Ponk Princess." I have occasionally used this with people and gotten a strange look and had to explain who that is - but is has become such common usage among my friends and family that I don't think twice about it.

Another example, when my daughter was really little she used to call a tortilla a "lipley" (don't ask, I cannot remember). For quite a while ( and still occasionally) all of us called them that. Again, others would look at us strangely when we used it.

A more regional example, I live in Minnesota. A good way to tell if someone is from Minnesota is to ask them to complete the following...... "Duck, duck........" If they answer, "Grey duck," they are likely from Minnesota. If they answer, "goose," they are likely from somewhere else. 

So, what are your regional or small group word usages?

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Wonderful subject.  I can only speak to my urbanized South.  When referring to Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, etc., we call it "soda."

Much to our (admittedly) rather smug amusement, we can always identify a tourist from the Midwest, who will refer to it as "pop."  You can imagine the fun I've had on rare occasions when a relative from Ohio visits.

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7 hours ago, MarkintheDark said:

Much to our (admittedly) rather smug amusement, we can always identify a tourist from the Midwest, who will refer to it as "pop."  You can imagine the fun I've had on rare occasions when a relative from Ohio visits.

Interestingly enough - I have always said "soda." I get much ridicule from my children. There is a small area in southern Wisconsin where "soda" is more prevalent - including the town I was born in. I attribute my language deviation to be due to the fact that we spent a lot of time with my Kenosha family when I was in my formative years. I would fly under your "Midwest-dar"  @MarkintheDark 😉

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In New Mexico, natives will often ask this question when they meet someone:  "Red or green?"  This can sometimes confuse people from other states.  New Mexicans like chili and have strong opinions on whether "red" chili or "green" chili is better.  [I like red chili better myself lol].

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I had a friend from Minnesota and she’d always call casseroles a “hot dish”, which I thought was just cute. She would also call her backpack a bookbag and gum chewing gum. And of course soda was pop. I grew up in San Francisco so there was always a lot of mixes of cultures and I always enjoyed hearing what words other people would use. It’s interesting that you don’t have to travel far or even out of the US to hear such vast differences in slang.

 

Edited by Tid322
D for S. Misspell.
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When my grandma first came to visit us in New Mexico, she saw a sign for "Taco Bell" and said, "Oh, you have your own phone company here."  Only older people will understand that.  I guess that it not really an example of language usage though. 

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I love stuff like this and consider myself an amateur linguist. I used to think we Connecticuters didn't have an accent, but we have some interesting but subtly weird way to pronounce some words. We pronounce water to rhyme with quarter, I sometimes have trouble distinguishing between short E and long A sounds, and a lot of us don't fully pronounce the T's in the middle of words ("twenny" instead of twenty). People from Bridgeport over the age of 50 pronounce soda like soder--they add R's to words instead of taking them out like most of New England.

To me a hot sandwich is a grinder (e.g., meatball grinder); a cold one is a sub (fun fact: the first Subway restaurant was in downtown Bridgeport). A garage sale is usually called a tag sale. Some people call the liquor store the package store. My mom used to call pomegranates "Indian apples" and I only knew them as that name until I was an adult. There's probably more...

I won't even get into all the weird things Rhode Islanders say, some I picked up after going to school there for 5 years. I still say, "I had to park all the way in East Chuckaf.uck!" when I have a crap parking spot. All my roommates in RI said this, but I've yet to meet anyone from anywhere else who says it. lol

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Sometimes I'll casually refer to my sister as "Mini Moo" or "Mini Meme". Most people think I'm saying "Mini me." I would hope she isn't a mini me 🤣

Same chili rules about new mexico. My favorite is being asked "red, green, or christmas (both)". I prefer red but sometimes i slip and almost ask for Christmas... in California. Also, relentlessly making fun of Colorado for trying to cash in on chili is a thing. 

The vietnsmese language also has slang and funky regional things! My family is southern vietnamese and we speak waaaaay differently from northerners and central vietnamese. Think of south like American dialect, with north being more formal like in England or whatever, and central is like Australian- funky. 

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