Posts Tagged ‘photodriving’

A recent journey through the Steel City. And yes I am a menace to public safety. This is downtown, which people from the ‘Burgh pronounce [dɑ:ntɑ:n] instead of the Standard American English [daʊn’taʊn]. If you’re not familiar with IPA, it’s more like donton. But not quite. It’s amusing.

Downtown Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh English is also sometimes called Pittsburghese, a term that I’m not especially fond of. But there is definitely a difference here. Two of the biggest things that people will notice are the use of a the word redd up, meaning to straighten up. That word is actually of Scots-Irish descent. My original suspicion was from the German aufraeumen, but that’s wrong. Pennsylvania Dutch has a strong influence in other parts of Pennsylvania, so it was the obvious starting point. Also, the verb need is used as the passive auxiliary so whereas in Standard American English (and most other dialects of English), you might say

The room needs to be vacuumed.
or
The room needs vacuuming.

Pittsburghers will say

The room needs vacuumed.

Most speakers reject this as ungrammatical. Interestingly, this Pittsburgh dialect also crops up all over Pennsylvania, but not so much in Philadelphia. My wife, who is from the York area (sort of East-South-Central PA), says these things also. They all sound perfectly grammatical to me now as I’ve grown accustomed to hearing them, but I don’t actually say them. (Yet?)

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