Sit down, grab a cup of coffee and learn some Pittsburghese, courtesy of author T.M. Souders!
So it’s an obvious expectation that if you’re from the North, when you visit the South, you will be greeted with a warm Southern accent. If you head to Texas, maybe you’ll get a little Southern twang. And if you go up to Jur-zee, yew might tawk like this, but wudever. Until I moved out of the Pittsburgh (PA) area to Virginia, I didn’t realize that I spoke any different than others. Sure, I had heard of the phenomenon of Pittsburghese, but didn’t really believe it was a noticeable thing. Lo and behold though, there were several times that my peculiar language was picked up on. So today, I am going to give yinz a lesson on the language of a Pittsburgher. Oh, and by the way, “Pittsburgh English,” also known as Pittsburghese, is even defined in Wikipedia.
We tend to combine some words and we drop letters:
Didya haveta do that today? Ja Wanna skip class and go to a movie instead?
Don’t put that there! Putemen the closet!
When will dinner be ready? About a halfahr (half an hour)
Still Mills (Steel Mills), Tahl (towel), windas (windows), Sposda (supposed to), Sappenin (what’s happening), Punkin (pumpkin)
We have slang too: Nuh-uh!! (as in, no way), jaggers or jagger bush (as in a thorns or a thorn bush), Gumband (rubberband), gutcheez (underwear), Jimmies (the kind of chocolate or multi-colored sprinkles you put on ice cream), Sketti (Spaghetti), Spicket (faucet)
We sometimes to add an “i” or “y” to things: Garbidge (Garbage), the days of the week are, Mundy, Tuesdy, Wensdy, Thursdy, Frydy, Sadurdy, Sundy
Or we just flat-out pronounce things weird: Raadiator. Instead of Radiator it’s said with a long “a” sound.
I have to admit, at one time or another I have used all of these. Thankfully though, I have never succumbed to some of the worst offenses—Pisgetti (spaghetti), Sammitch (sandwich), Sumpin (something), worsh rag (wash cloth), dahn (down), Baffroom (bathroom), Birffday (birthday), Ya ‘gotsa (you have to), These unz (these ones)
So if you’re ever out and you hear someon say they’re hungry and want a sammitch, or maybe that they have a hankerin’ for some Permani Brothers, tell them Tia from Pittsburgh says “hi.”
T.M. Souders was born in Johnstown, PA and grew up in the suburbs outside of Pittsburgh. She graduated in 2004, from Youngstown State University, with a degree in Psychology and minor in Women's Studies. She is the author of bestselling women's fiction novel, Waiting on Hope, as well as the novelette Dashing Through The Snow, and the newly released YA/crossover, Freedom Road . She is the founder of The Cheap Kindle Daily, a site dedicated to introducing readers to new, affordable, ebooks. She currently lives in rural Ohio with her husband and children. When she is not writing or spending time with her family, T.M. volunteers for the World Literary Cafe, a site dedicated to helping authors and uniting authors and readers.