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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Y'all, Yinz, Youse, You All (A Linguistic Look at Language Across the US)

Earlier today, my friend Charlie posted on his blog:

I dunno. I feel like I'm pretty open in my blog and there isn't much that's off limits. But there was something cool I wanted to share. It's super old, but if you haven't seen it, it'll be new to you. InCinnamon Fringe 's entry "Word Choice: Lacking about different words she uses. She mentioned a lot from our home state, Maine, and it reminded me of these maps depicting different slang  in different parts of the US.

I've lived in pretty much every part of the country except the west, and even then, I've spent a lot of time there. It's interesting to see how different people talk in one country. I think there are more cultural differences than I noticed before I started moving around.

One of my favorite maps is the one for "your word for a sweetened, carbonated beverage?" We always called it soda, but when I lived in the South, everything was called coke. It made ordering drinks in restaurants confusing for me. I just wanted a normal coke, but I didn't know what to say. "I want a coke coke"? I dunno, maybe Mitchopolis: Knows Nothing  can clarify this for me for the next time I'm down south. Where I live now, people typically call it pop, but I hear them call it soda sometimes, too.

Also, "the devil is beating his wife" *Laugh* *Laugh* What?!

What prompted this was our friend Cinnamon Fringe's entry from yesterday about her Maine accent.

There are a number of colloquial words and sayings that are unique to different regions
and some people also have a habit of repeating certain words and phrases.
What words or phrases do you find yourself saying too often?

I'm from Maine, and there are a number of sayings from that area that I still use fairly often, despite having lived there for only a matter of months in the past 14 years. Admittedly, many of the colloquialisms that I once said "too often" were drug related. Thus, it isn't really an issue anymore. There are some other random phrases and words that pop out of my mouth a little too often though. Here's a rundown of a few of those overused (current and past) words and phrases:

Love / Lady - I'm sure that most people on here would agree that I use this too much. It can't be helped. In real life, there is only the slightest difference: guys, children, and people far older than me are "love", and women about my age are "lady". Truly sorry if it gets annoying, loves. Guess you'll have to live with it though. *Wink*

Wicked - Like I said, I'm from Maine. It's to be expected that this will slip in now and then. When I was younger, it was ridiculously common for me, and now it is a very once-in-a-while word. Still, it deserves to be on the list.

Stellar - Yeah. What can I even say about this? I don't type it out very often on here, but I it is a go-to word in real life.

Ridiculous - I would guess that I just use this word far, far too often.

Ludicrous - See above. I don't use it as often as ridiculous... but still way too often.

Fuck - Despite a relatively solid vocabulary, this is also a go-to word for me. Sometimes, nothing sums up a situation as well as a simple "Fuck!" I also use it in adjective form now and then-- particularly when drinking.

Common derivatives for me: Fucktastic, Fuck me, Fuck my life. Holy fuckstix. I use them all on a weekly basis at the very least. And yes... I am totally one of those annoying people who combine random words. It's a quirk.

Kife - Slang for stealing in Maine. I still use it in certain situations. Usually, if someone tries to steal my lighter, I'll use this term. 

Fish Bowl - This is one of those drug terms that people just don't use here. People always look at me like I'm crazy. It's the same as "hot boxing" or a "clam bake". If you're driving in a car filled with smoke, it's a fish bowl. 

Canoeing - Another drug term. If a joint smokes down one side and the other isn't burning, they say the joint is "canoeing" in Maine. Think about it... the shape is like a canoe. Again, people think I'm crazy if I say it here. "Oh, you mean because it's running?" Pffft. Stockings run. Joints canoe.

Tripp Names - Sort of have to make a little category for this. We never call our son by his name (Tripp) unless we want to get his attention. So, these are all frequent words and phrases in our house: Trippster, Little Sir / Sir, Sneaky Pete, Sleepy Pete, Foolish Beast / Beast, and Bratty Bunny. Long stories for some of those-- but he answers to all of them. And before anyone says anything about it, I call him "Foolish Beast" with love. *Laugh*

So these are a few of my overused words and phrases now with a few from the past thrown into the mix. Rather than sum up this blog post with a real "conclusion", I thought that I might close with one of my husband's most common phrases. He says it to me all the time because, as one might easily surmise, I talk far too much. Nik's overused phrase (and always aimed at me): "What are you on about?" *Wink*


Thought of another one that really should be on this list:

Holy Hell - Ironic, as I am an atheist. Still, I say it all the time in real life and occasionally on here as well.

I commented on Charlie's blog that growing up people always thought I was either from New York or the South because the way I pronounced things sounded like they were either New York or Southern (I love saying y'all and I call crawfish or crayfish "crawdad" like the areas around Texas and Louisiana). I decided to take the linguistic test to see what three places my accent came from:

Well, I'll be. I sound like a Michigander. :D YAY for me! And of course, New York is thrown in there. It seems like my accent is actually Midwestern. Maybe that's why I like the Midwest so much, eh?

I changed my laptop settings last week after my screen changed. Now I get a double screen (like if I have two different monitors hooked up) and I have no idea how to change it. Anyone know?


  1. Heh, Charlie should come to the UK for a bit; the accents and dialects change every few miles. :P This is something that really surprised me when I came here!

    Still, his observations about language in the United States are interesting and shouldn't be dismissed.

    1. Haha, I bet! I think dad mentioned Ireland was the same way. Switzerland was too, but I guess when there are four different languages spoken there, it makes sense! I love traveling. :)

      I remember when I first went to Wisconsin. I loved how the bus announced Ashwaubenon. I wish I recorded it... it brought a smile to my face. It stupid, but I thought it was cool. Let's see if it's on YouTube:
      They don't say "Ashwaubenon" but this video makes me smile. :) Apparently I sorta sound like that according my test. Haha.

    2. Huh, now I see why they said I sound like someone from Grand Rapids... I think it's pretty much a match to what I sound like: