Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wordy Wednesday

Our son has lived in New York (mostly Brooklyn) for nearly ten years, since leaving home (snurf) as a college freshman in 1999. One of the things I've noticed is that his vocabulary has shifted east a bit. For example, here in Seattle, a carbonated beverage in a can or bottle is called "pop;" now he calls it "soda," because that's what folks in the Big Apple say. I remember another friend from the east coast who called her tiny apartment an "efficiency," rather than a "studio." "Pocketbook" seems to be a more east coast term; "purse" is west coast. And when I've been in the south, I've had librarians ask if they can "make" a picture with me; we Yankees would say "take" a picture.

I recall a huge and lively discussion with a group of writers not too long ago about whether it's "neener-neener boo-boo," or "nanner-nanner boo-boo." And let's not get started on "kitty-corner," vs. "catty-corner."

I love these regional differences and am curious about others you may have noticed. Don't be shy -- share!


  1. I love this subject. We laugh about the word differences between the mid-west and the west all the time. My husband is from Wisconsin. I didn't think we would have such different words for the same thing.
    MW=Midwest, W=West(specifically Idaho), WC=west coast (Seattle area):

    MW-glove compartment,W-jockey box

    MW-bubbler, W and WC-water fountain

    MW-roadside ditch, W-borrow pit (cuz you 'borrow the dirt from the side of the road to fill pot-holes)

    MW and W-Ambulance, WC-Aid car

    I have to admit I was baffled when someone said they sent for an 'aid car', it took me months to figure out what they meant. And I had no idea what a 'bubbler' was.
    I feel sorry for anyone immigrating to this county and trying to learn the mish-mash we call English. Try looking up the definition of 'stock' sometime to see what I mean.

  2. I moved from Kentucky to New York City in 1985 and for the first time heard someone refer to "a scissor" instead of "scissors." (Now I've picked up that habit.)
    Also my NY-born husband says "open" and "close" the light instead of "turn on" and "turn off."