Talking Pennsylvanian

Got this in an e-mail from my mom. I had posted a version of this before, but with several new readers, and new posts from me on some of these topics, I thought I’d share this version too.

Talking Pennsylvanian (Joan’s notes in parentheses)

You refer to Pennsylvania as “P-A” (pronounced Pee-Ay). How many other states do that? (Also, my mom calls it “Pennsy,” pronounced Penn-See. Anyone else hear that one?)

“You guys” (or even “youse guys,” in some places) is a perfectly acceptable reference to a group of men and women.

You know how to respond to the question “Djeetyet?”

You learned to pronounce Bryn Mawr, Wilkes-Barre, Schuylkill, the Poconos, Tamaqua, Kutztown,Tunkahannock, Bala Cynwyd, Duquesne and Monongahela. Also Conshohocken.

And we know Lancaster is pronounced Lank-ister, not Lan-kaster.

You know what “Punxsutawney Phil” is, and what it means if he sees his shadow. (Bonus points if you either love or hate “Gus, the second-most-famous groundhog in Pennsylvania.”)

The first day of buck season and the first day of doe season are school holidays.

At least five people on your block have electric “candles” in all or most of their windows all year long. (Window candles! I love window candles!)

You know what a “State Store” is.

Words like “hoagie,” “crick,” “chipped ham,” “dippy eggs,” “sticky buns,” “shoo-fly pie,” “lemon sponge pie,” “pierogies” and “pocketbook” actually mean something to you.

You live for summer, when street and county fairs signal the beginning of funnel cake season.

You know what a township, borough, and commonwealth are. (OK, I will differ on this one. Most people I talk to say they live in York, even though they live in any one of 71 other county townships/boroughs.)

You know several people who have hit deer more than once.

Driving is always better in winter because the potholes are filled with snow.

As a kid you built snow forts and leaf piles that were taller than you were.

OK, so that was their list. What should we add?

About Joan

My name is Joan and I'm a lifelong Yorker. Throughout high school and college, I swore I was getting out of here as soon as possible. Now, a few years later, I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be. I love my town, and I hear every day from readers who love their towns, too. So please, connect with me and let's share what makes life in York County great. I'm here to help you enjoy this place as much as I do!
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7 Responses to Talking Pennsylvanian

  1. Angie says:

    I’m from Western Maryland, specifically the part where you can be in either West Virginia or Pennsylvania in about 20 minutes. So, some of these are Western Maryland-isms to me. My friends who lived close to the state line always referred to Pennsylvania as P-A, and I couldn’t figure out why. And nothing drives me crazier than “crick,” though I have had friends argue there is a difference between that and a “creek.”

  2. Beth says:

    We natives know that the “y” is silent in Gettysburg. It’s “Gettsburg.”

  3. Mark Grubic says:

    Of Course you know I would chime in on this! Check out this story on MSN about the Dictionary of American Regional English:
    I think this could be good fodder for this discussion.
    And don’t forget, no matter where you are going,North, South East or West, you are always going ‘down to’ somewhere…I’m going down to Lancaster…etc…
    Chime in later,
    Bis später,
    Von Österreich

  4. Nickie Dobo says:

    I lived in rural Clearfield County in middle and high school. It was long enough for me to pick up some habits that were broken in college.
    1. Forget to be. “The car needs cleaned.” “The take-out order needs picked up.” “The phone needs answered.”
    2. Ice is slipp-ee. Not slip-per-ee.
    3. We “red up” the house before company comes over.
    4. To make “you” plural say “yin-z.”
    5. Your aunt’s children are cousin-ts. I have no idea why the “t” sound is added.

    • Mark P. Kessinger says:

      I grew up in Clinton County (a small portion of which borders Clearfield Co.). Actually, it’s not “red up,” but rather, “redd up.” And believe it or not, it’s a perfectly valid English verb originating in Scotland, and is used in central PA in precisely the correct way (as in, “to set in order” or “to make tidy”).


  5. kris says:

    Some of my favorites that always make out-of-towners scratch their head…..
    Chicken pot pie is best from a fire company and contains no crust. I can’t tell you how many people expect an actual pie-looking item to appear because of the title.
    I have been outside many, many days in shorts and a winter coat.
    We pump our own gas. People from NJ have sworn to me our state gov’t doesn’t give a whit about us, letting us all inhale gasoline fumes.
    Those are the biggies for me!

  6. mikaila neil says:

    I live in path valley pa and we say didja for did you we say horse and bugy

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