(I am LOVING Wayno’s illustrations of me. Cannot wait for April’s.)
As you know if you follow me on Twitter, I’ve been recently obsessed with the correct pronunciation of certain words and also how we identify certain items here in Pittsburgh.
“Root” or “rout” when pronouncing route?
Spigot or spicket?
Crick or creek?
Sub or hoagie?
Buggy or shopping cart?
CAR-a-mel or CARE-a-mel, or even car-mll?
I lucked out when my friend Goob directed me to a study done by a former Burgher, Dr. Bert Vaux who taught at Harvard and who now teaches at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. He ran a dialect study while at Harvard and was good enough to send me all of the anonymized data for all 100+ questions on the survey. I got to work and learned how Pittsburgh compares to the rest of the country in various phrases, words, and pronunciations.
The results are fun and eye-opening and I’m going to share more of them on my Pittsburgh Magazine blog this week, since I couldn’t fit them all into one column. In the meantime, go have a read! Here’s a snippet:
Coupon: Fifty-seven percent of us say “coop-on,” and 42 percent of us use “cyoo-pons.” Contrast that with the whole country, where the clear winner is “coopon” (67 percent). Then there were eight ’Burghers (1 percent) who indicated they have “another” way of saying it. I’m guessing “discounted goods vouchers.” UNFOLLOW.
Crayon: Most Pittsburghers favor the “cray-awn” pronunciation (56 percent), followed by “cray-ahn” (32 percent), which is actually how the majority of U.S. citizens say it (49 percent). I am one of the 10 percent of ’Burghers who was raised using “crans” because that’s how Mister Rogers said it!
Go read about spigots versus spickets and PLEASE go read what the rest of the country calls a traffic jam caused by rubbernecking and how they refer to it when the sun is shining while it’s raining.
You’ll never guess in a million years.