I cannot explain Pittsburghese, except to say that my theory is that people were just too damn tired from working all day and had no energy left to ennunciate words properly. Some words are jammed together (i.e. Giant Eagle became Gianeagle), while other words are just pronouced incorrectly (i.e. warshed instead of washed).
Somehow, I escaped without ever picking up too many of these bad habits, except for how I pronounce the days of the week (just change Day to Dee and you have Mondee, Tuesdee, etc.).
The more popular sayings you are likely to hear while in Pittsburgh include:
Stillers = Steelers
Pop = soft drink or soda
Yunz- = variation of y'all or you all
Gianeagle = Giant Eagle (local supermarket chain)
Windas = Windows
Redd up = Tidy up
Sweeper = Vacuum
Punkin = Pumpkin
Owl- = Aisle
Oleo = Margarine
Come mere = Come here
Didja = Did you
Haaja = How did you
Doohickey = Object you can't name at the present time
Gumband = rubber bands
Light Bill = Electric Bill
Jumbo = Bologna
Crick = Creek
Yabbut = Yes, but
Priddy = Pretty
For more details on how you too can speak Pittsburghese, I highly recommend visiting:
Since most people comment on this peculiar trait of Pittsburgers, I could not do a page on this area without commenting, as well.
There are some individuals from this area who sometimes speak a slangy dialect referred to as Pittsburghese.
First, you have to understand that Pittsburgh is made up of various nationalities, such as Scotch-Irish, Central and Eastern Europeans and German for the most part. My family originated from Poland. Some think it's this combination that contributes to our quirky language.
Pittsburghese contains such slang as "yunz" or "yinz" which can be compared to the Texan "you-all". Other common slang: dahntann (downtown); red up (clear the table). A booklet has even been published containing typical words used in the area, which leaves Pittsburghers in stitches!
Iron City Beer was first brewed in Pittsburgh in 1861 and the Pittsburgh Brewing Company was formed in 1899 through a merger of 21 local breweries. This company was one of just 725 US breweries to survive the prohibition period, and by 1977, it was one of only 40 breweries remaining in America. IC Light was introduced in 1977 and is known as the first light beer brewed from scratch as a light beer. The Pittsburgh Brewing Company has made several innovations in the industry including the first snap top can, the first resealable twist off cap, first beer to use sports scenes on the label, and the nations first light beer. Their latest ploy is the aluminum bottle, long a staple overseas in places like Okinawa, Japan, but new on the scene in America.
After years of tough sales due to increasing competition from major brewers and craft beers, the Pittsburgh Brewing Company declared bankruptcy in 2007. In 2009 the company shuttered the historic brewery in Pittsburgh and moved to the old Rolling Rock Brewery in Latrobe, PA. This is a good fit for the Pittsburgh beer, as Latrobe is also home to Steelers Training camp.
But how does it taste? Well, I may be a bit biased...my first beer EVER was an Iron City, way out in Colorado Springs with some friends from Pittsburgh. Later, I lived on IC Light anytime I was home, partly because the local bar had it on tap for 85 cents a glass. In my personal opinion Iron City isn't all that great of a beer, but IC Light is damn good.
Others may disagree...here's a good quote from Otto on Pubcrawler.com: "Tired of the usual crap and looking for something a little less crappy? Here you go. What the hell, you'll be supporting the little guy. Plus a trip to the brewery is really worth it . A big leftover of some past industrial age. Very cool."
I believe this is the cloak room at the History Museum, although I am not certain, as there are cloak rooms everywhere - people just hang their things - fur coats, parkas, kids' jackets, whatever - no attendant - and you don't even think that perhaps your coat might be stolen. Nice way to live!
A Christmas Tree at Point State Park, decorations throughout downtown, and lights at Mellon Square. PPG place seems to be the center of Pittsburgh's Christmas displays as they have an ice skating rink, a huge gingerbread house competition, toy trains, and a display of Santas from around the world.
Buying beer and alcohol can be a little tricky in PA. Outside of bars and restaurants, you have limited options where you purchase your drink of choice. For the strong stuff that puts hair on your palms, or was it somewhere else?, you need to buy it at State Stores. This is also where you procure your wine.
For your beer, you have to buy it at distributors, and only in cases. Luckily, it is usually set up like a drive through; dive up, pop the trunk, pay and leave. You can buy six packs from bars, but at very inflated prices.
You can’t buy any alcohol in grocery stores or 7/11’s (and maybe not on Sundays either)
From the residents we ran into and the commentators on Just Ducky Tours, we gathered that people are diehard Steelers fans.
Pittsburgh Steelers were a dominant franchise in 1970s and has won twice since 2004 despite, as my husband says, Patriots and Colts are better on paper. My son is a Patriot fan and resents that Steelers have won twice already. The two of them were mourning Steelers win over Cardinals in Superbowl 2009.
People are also Pirates fans in a light-hearted manner. There are more stories of their failure than successes that are told in a fun loving manner. The two men in the picture cheered for Pirates and cussed Toronto, but then immediately added that as long as Toronto keeps sending tourists to them, it is great.
We did not run into Penguins fans for of course it was not the season.
The H.J. Heinz Company sells 650 million bottles of ketchup each year around the world plus 11 billion individual ketchup packets! Heinz manufactures Ore-Ida, Boston Market frozen meals, Hot Bites, Jack Daniels steak sauces, and many others. Heinz began right here in Pittsburgh in 1869 with horseradish sales and began making its flagship ketchup in 1875.
Heinz also loaned their famous name to Heinz Hall and Heinz Field in the Burgh.
Question: Djeatyet? Yinz go-en dahntahn for a chippedham sammich ora hoggie?
answer: Prolly afta tha Stillers.
Pittsburgh is a fairly, (how can I say this?)... isolated. And with anything else on this world, once something is isolated, it tends to evolve independently of the rest of the world. Evolution, if you will. Language is no different. It took me several years for me to loose my accent, (it sounds pretty bad), now I just get mistaken for mumbling too much. - I can't win.
This is an actual dialect that has had many studies on it. When you hear someone speak it, it is very... umm... unmistakable.
To do it properly, you need to talk without moving your mouth and put a "whine" sound to your voice, and talk fast. Here are examples of words found or pronounced in "Da Burgh"
Gum-band = rubber band
chipped ham = paper thin sliced ham
Dahntahn = downtown
Stillers = Steelers, the football team
Picksburgg = Pittsburgh (you know it's bad when you pronounce your own city wrong)
crick = creek
prolly = probably
pýtoot = your arse
Redd-up = clean up
y-aint = you are not
cuttendt = could not
The Post Gazette is Pittsburgh's main daily newspaper. Their main offices are located downtown just a block from Point State Park, where you can watch tomorrow's headlines printing before your eyes as the printing presses are at street level behind large plate-glass windows.
A plaque on this building commemorates John Scull, who in 1786, became the first person to establish a newspaper west of the Allegheny Range of the Appalachians. His paper was called the Gazette, which is a forerunner to today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Located in nearby New Castle, Pennsylvania, Zambelli Fireworks Internationale has a world-wide reputation for quality fireworks shows. The company was founded in 1893 and led the industry with innovations such as electronically controlled choreographed fireworks displays. Zambelli's is the US's largest fireworks manufacturer and they put on 3,500 fireworks shows around the world every year. They have also displayed their fireworks for each president since JFK. Zambelli's Millennium Pittsburgh on Jan. 1, 2000, was the largest live New Years Day fireworks display in the nation.
Although there doesn't seem to be a law against conducting business on Sunday, most businesses and attractions in Pittsburgh remain closed on Sundays. Some stores were open during the day, especially in The Strip. The Andy Warhol Museum was open, but by the time evening rolled around, we found it very difficult to find someplace open where we could have dinner. Even the restaurants in our hotel were closed. The upshot is that if your itinerary includes a Sunday, plan on it being a low key day. We had planned on Sunday as our main sightseeing day and we ended up being a somewhat disappointed.
Longtime residents of Pittsburgh speak English with a unique accent called Pittsburghese. As a result, a Pittsburgh native can usually tell if someone else is from Pittsburgh within the first few sentences of a conversation.
In Pittsburghese, ee is pronounced i (creek becomes crick, steel becomes still, and the two professional football teams in Pennsylvania are the "Stillers" and the "Iggles"). Ow and ou are prounounced like ah (flower becomes flar, downtown becomes donton, shower becomes shar, hour becomes ar, etc.).
Another highlight of Pittsburghese is the word "yins", which is substituted for "you" ("Yins goin' dawn the crick ta go fishin'?", "Yins gonna watch the Stillers game?"). An exception to this rule is when the word "you is used after the words "would" or "could" - one then would say "woodja or coudja" instead of using the word "yins".
A key part of Pittsburghese grammar is that the phrase "needs to be" is always shortened to just "needs". Examples are "The hoss needs painted," instead of "The house needs to be painted", and "The grass needs cut", instead of "The grass needs to be cut".
And, for some reason, Pittsburghers pronounce the capitol city of the USA as "Warshington". They also warsh their hands.
My visit to Pittsburgh had two purposes - Carnegie Library and the glass school. I was not disappointed, and I suggest that, if you never saw working in glass, try to visit the school. It is well equipped, they do a nice work, and working in glass is really a tremendous performance.
Ahhhh, the good ol' "Pittsburgh Left". So let me paint the scenario for you:
You are waiting at a red light which you will be turning left at when it switches to green. Your green arrow does not appear, but green lights on both sides turn on. But...nobody moves? The guy in opposing traffic lanes is wondering why you are just sitting there...and you are wondering the same about him too.
Here is the simple trick about the Pittsburgh left. Even if you do not have a green arrow, and the opposing traffic has a green light, you keep an eye out for the green light, and use your keen driving skills as well as years of honed instincts to predict the EXACT moment the lights will turn green. When it turns green...QUICK!! TURN LEFT!! That way you don't have to wait for allll that opposing traffic to pass through the intersection before you turn.
All joking aside, this really is a phenomenon of driving in Pittsburgh and you do need to be aware of it. Many times drivers on opposing sides will wait another second or two for the first car in the opposing traffic lane to turn and do the "Pittsburgh Left". For the most part it is a common understanding amongst drivers. Keep it in mind when you are driving. People might be expecting the same treatment from you.