The other night Arlene and I had dinner at my sisters house. It was a pleasant evening. There's always a lot of laughter but it really got rolling with my brother-in-law who had poured us all a glass of red wine. He then raised his glass to make a toast. He went to say nostrovia, if that's how it's spelled, a Russian toast meaning something like, "to your health." That's not what we heard. We heard, "nice driveway". That one is gonna stick!
Soon after that we started telling old stories. My sister talked about her childhood friend Charlene. She was a nice kid, a bit of a klutz, and at times would appear to be bit of a space cadet. I was there for this episode. Charlene had knocked something over and my sister said, "Charlene! You are such a S-L-O-B!"
Charlene put the letters together and said, "Slobe?"
That brought up the story of another one of my sisters friends. I know I've told it before. This was years ago. They were in the next city over. It had bars. There weren't any bars in our hometown then, though there are now restaurants with bars. Any way this young lady asked the assembled group if they would like to go to a place close by for a drink? She said it thusly, "Joowanna guhdown to the connabah."
Actually everybody understood the joowanna guhdown part, its the last part that raised the question, "What's a connabah?"
In Boston English, "Joowanna guhdown" is translated as "Do you want to go down...", a "connahbah" is a corner bar.
This led to all of us making fun of the way we talk around here. Not just the accent but different words for things than the rest of the country. Like around here we call those long sandwiches, submarine sandwiches. They may be called hoagies someplace else, those sandwich rolls used to be called spuckies. I remember hearing this while growing up. Go to another city and ask for a spuckie and who knows what you'll get. It comes from the Italian word for a sandwich roll "spucadella" Here soda is tonic, a water fountain is a bubbler, and a rubber band is an elastic. Do you know where you're going if you're going to "Make a packy run." ? You're going to the liquor store. I guess liquor stores, in Massachusetts and some other states, are technically called package stores because all liquor purchased for private consumption, must be in a package or a sealed bottle.
We laughed at how sometimes we can't understand each other around here. Years ago a friend of mine was giving me directions to a certain location finishing up with, "It's right near the cahbahns."
"What the hell are cahbahns?" I asked. That's Bostonese for an old timey name for a place where the area bus service kept their busses, the "car barns".
People around here don't say "Baston" as people from other parts of the country who want to make fun of our accent say. We say Boston or more than likely "Bostin. I personally think at times it's a really ugly accent. Very harsh sounding. I try to control my accent but sometimes it just slips in. "May I have a glass of watah? Of course I mean water."
In our cars (cahs) we don't use our directional signals, we use our blinkers or "blinkahs". A shopping cart is a carriage.
What everybody else calls a milk shake we call a frappe, pronounced frap. To us a milk shake is milk with flavored syrup whipped into a froth. A frappe adds ice cream. Why the mixed terminology? I don't know. One thing I can say for sure, it's quite recognizable. In different parts (pahts) of the country, say a few words and they instantly know where your from.
If you are not very tall then you are "shawt". In the summer when it's hot, you put on your "shawts". After you turn thirty nine you will turn "fawty".
Here's a two minute plus video with this nice young lady explaining how to speak with a Boston accent.
It was a fun night. Laughter makes you feel better.
Alrighty then it's time to move off into the sunset. Hi Oh Silver! (silvah) Away!
I'm outta here.