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  1. African American Vernacular English
  2. American and British English differences
  3. American and British English pronunciation differences
  4. American English
  5. Americanism
  6. American National Corpus
  7. Appalachian English
  8. Baby mama
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  11. Boston Brahmin accent
  12. Boston slang
  13. British and American keyboards
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  15. California English
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  17. Century Dictionary
  18. Chinook Jargon use by English Language speakers
  19. Dictionary of American Regional English
  20. English-language vowel changes before historic l
  21. General American
  22. Harkers Island%2C North Carolina
  23. Inland Northern American English
  24. Intervocalic alveolar flapping
  25. List of British idioms
  26. List of British words not widely used in the United States
  27. L-vocalization
  28. Maine-New Hampshire English
  29. Names of numbers in English
  30. New Jersey English
  31. New York dialect
  32. New York Latino English
  33. Nigga
  34. North American English
  35. North American regional phonology
  36. North Central American English
  37. Northeast Pennsylvania English
  38. Northern cities vowel shift
  39. Ozark Southern English
  40. Pacific Northwest English
  41. Pennsylvania Dutch English
  42. Philadelphia accent
  43. Phonological history of English low back vowels
  44. Phonological history of English short A
  45. Pittsburgh English
  46. Pronunciation respelling for English
  47. Regional vocabularies of American English
  48. Rhotic and non-rhotic accents
  49. Southern American English
  50. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language
  51. The American Language
  52. Tidewater accent
  53. Utah English
  54. Vermont English
  55. Whilst
  56. Y'all
  57. Yat
  58. Yooper dialect

 

 
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AMERICAN ENGLISH
This article is from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regional_vocabularies_of_American_English

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Text_of_the_GNU_Free_Documentation_License 

Regional vocabularies of American English

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

This article deals with lexical differences within American English; see American English regional differences for differences in phonology and grammar.

Historically, a number of everyday words and expression used to be characteristic of different dialect areas of the United States, especially the North, the Midland, and the South; many of these terms spread from their area of origin and came to be used throughout the nation, and often two (or more) different words for the same thing can be used interchangeably. Such traditional lexical variables include:

  • faucet (North) and spigot (South);
  • frying pan and spider, both of New England origin (the former brought over by the English), and skillet (Midland);
  • clapboard (North) and weatherboard (Midland and South);
  • gutter (South), now the mainstream term, as opposed to eaves trough (North) and spouting (parts of Mid-Atlantic);
  • pit (North, from Dutch) and seed (Midland);
  • teeter-totter (originally Northern, now also Western) and seesaw (Midland);
  • firefly (North) and lightning bug (Midland);
  • swill (North; garbage for hogs) and slops (Midland and South);
  • pail (North) and bucket (Midland and South).

Many differences however still hold and mark boundaries between different dialect areas, as shown below. Newer lexical variables that have been studied in recent years are, for example, the different terms in use to denote

  • a sofa, couch, or (now old-fashioned) davenport;
  • carbonated beverages or soft drinks (soda, pop, coke, etc.);
  • a long sandwich with meat, lettuce, etc. (submarine sandwich, hero, hoagie, grinder, po' boy etc.);
  • a rubber-soled sports shoe (mainly sneaker and tennis shoe).

Below are lists outlining regional vocabularies in the main dialect areas of the United States. A term featured on a list may or may not be found throughout the region concerned, and may or may be not recognized by speakers outside of said region. Some terms appear on more than one list.

The Northeast

  • brook: creek. Mainly New England, northern New Jersey, and parts of New York, term creek is thought of as a smaller brook.
  • (shopping) carriage: (esp. Southern New England & Northern New Jersey) shopping cart.
  • cellar: alternate term for basement. [1]
  • sneaker: although found throughout the U.S., appears to be concentrated in the Northeast. Elsewhere (except for parts of Florida) tennis shoes is more common. [2]
  • soda: usual term for soft drink.
  • stoop: from Dutch, traditionally associated with New York City, now found throughout the Northeast.
  • whiffletree: piece of wagon gear elsewhere known as whippletree, swingletree, etc.

New England

  • basement: (local) a lavatory (as in a school).
  • bubbler (Boston): a water fountain.
  • bulkhead: cellar hatchway.
  • clicker: television remote control.
  • grinder: submarine sandwich (except usu. ME)
  • hosey: (esp. parts of MA & ME) to stake a claim or choose sides, to claim ownership of something (sometimes, the front seat of a car)
  • intervale: (also spelled interval) bottomland; mostly historical
  • johnnycake: (also journey cake, esp. RI jonnycake, also called Shawnee cake) a type of cornmeal bread
  • leaf peeper: a tourist who has come to see the area's vibrant autumn foliage (also colloquially leafer)
  • masshole: derogatory term applied to someone from the state of Massachusetts; sometimes used with pride by Bay Staters
  • necessary: outhouse, privy.
  • packie: (chiefly MA and CT) Short for package store, a regional variation of liquor store, derived from the use of brown bags or shallow boxes to package and conceal the purchased bottles.
  • quahog (Rhode Island): Pronounced "koe-hog," it properly refers to a specific species of clam, but due to its abundance in RI, most Rhode Islanders refer to any clam as a "quahog"; it is also used to refer to stuffed clams.
  • rotary: traffic circle.
  • spa: (mainly Eastern NE) soda fountain.
  • tilt, tilting board, totter, dandle, teedle board: seesaw, teeter-totter
  • tonic (Boston): soft drink. One of the few variations from the general split in the United States between "soda" and "pop".
  • wicked:(adv.) very, extremely (this has gained popularity throughout the U.S. in popular culture[citation needed], especially among younger people) also, cool
  • kitty corner: to place something on an angle to a corner

Northern New England

  • ayuh, or ayup: "yes" or affirmative.
  • bulkie: a kaiser roll. Common throughout Maine and as far south as Boston.
  • "The County": Aroostook County, Maine, so called due to its large size.
  • camp: usually waterfront vacation cabin or cottage.
  • dinner: sometimes used to describe the practice of going out for dessert after the evening meal.
  • dooryard: area around the door of a house, typically including the driveway.
  • flatlander, flattie: describes a person "from away" (q.v.). In NH occasionally used for a person from the extreme southern part of New Hampshire (which lacks mountains).
  • from away: phrase describing a person from another state or country (or as is sometimes the case in Northern Maine, a person from Southern Maine).
  • Italian sandwich: (ME) submarine sandwich.
  • Kaybecker: a lumberjack who is a native of French-speaking Quebec (alteration of Quebecer).
  • logan, pokelogan: a shallow, swampy lake or pond (from Algonquian).
  • shmunk: forshortened term for a Chipmunk.
  • outfit: a group of people (e.g. "What are you doing hanging around with that outfit?" meaning "Why are you associating with those people?")
  • rooked: to be swindled, "i got rooked on that deal"

Mid-Atlantic

New York City Area

  • boce: a derogatory term for special education children. Derives from the acronym for the Board of Cooperative Educational Services.
  • bodega: a convenience store in a Spanish-language, usually Puerto-Rican or Dominican, neighborhood.
  • "The City": Manhattan.
  • hero: submarine sandwich.
  • "The Island": Long Island (not including Brooklyn and Queens).
  • light and sweet: a method of serving coffee, with lots of milk and sugar. Also common in New England.
  • have a catch: To throw a ball back and forth. "Play catch" elsewhere.
  • to wait/stand on line: to wait/stand in line (e.g. "I stood on line for 5 hours to get these tickets.")
  • on accident: Not used by all New Yorkers, but is not uncommon, contrasting "on purpose". For example, "I didn't mean to; I did it on accident." While all Americans use the term "on purpose," non-New Yorkers use "by accident."
  • pie: an entire pizza; a cheese pie or a plain pie has no toppings other than cheese and sauce
  • regular coffee: 10 oz. coffee with whole milk and two sugars; by contrast, plain coffee is black, no sugar
  • slice: one piece of a cheese pizza.
  • take the train: Ride the subway (in New York City). In New York City, other local commuter rail lines are often referred to by name – i.e., in New Jersey, one might say, "I'm on the PATH" – However, on Long Island, riders of the Long Island Rail Road say the same. Ditto Metro North.
  • to stay: in the question "to stay or to go?" Many New York eateries use the term "takeaway" in place of "to go". Other regions use the phrase "for here or to go?"
  • upstate: the part of New York state that excludes New York City, Long Island and the northern suburbs of Westchester, Putnam, and to a lesser extent, Rockland and Orange counties.
  • wedge (mostly in Westchester and Putnam suburbs): submarine sandwich.
  • youse: you (plural).
  • caddy corner: to place something on an angle to a corner
  • "The Rock": Staten Island

Delaware Valley (Greater Philadelphia, Pa., southern New Jersey and northern Delaware)

  • fireplug: fire hydrant.
  • pavement: sidewalk.
  • hoagie: submarine sandwich.
  • driveway: back alley-way.
  • rowhomes: attached houses.
  • shore: beach; often associated with South Jersey speech, esp. in the phrase "down the shore" (at the beach).

The North

  • Cheesehead: a native of Wisconsin; considered derogatory in Illinois and Minnesota, but a term of pride in Wisconsin (well known across the U.S. through sports media).
  • pop: generic term for any brand of soft drink, except in parts of Wisconsin; more at Soft drink

Iowa

  • sack: (Grocery) bag

North Dakota

  • slush burgers: sloppy joe's
  • uffda: Norwegian slang for crap. {e.g. "Uffda that stinks!")

Michigan

  • Davenport (sofa): Used to refer to a sofa, or couch. Used in southern regions of the state.
  • Devil's Night: The night of October 30. Used especially in Detroit.
  • Downstate: The lower half of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, used by people in the northern half of Michigan's Lower Peninsula.
  • Outstate: Name used by people in the Metro Detroit area to describe the rest of the state.
  • Yooper: People who reside in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Wisconsin

  • blinker: a turn signal.
  • bubbler: drinking fountain (most common in Eastern Wisconsin).
  • to budge: to cut in line.
  • over home: at home (e.g. "I stopped over home to pick up the tickets." or "He looked for me at the store, but I was over home.")
  • on top of: distance to the north (e.g. "The lake is about a mile on top of the highway.")
  • till: a cash register.
  • flatlander: a person from Illinois (most common in Southern Wisconsin).
  • soda: soft drink (most common in Eastern Wisconsin)
  • mud duck: a person from Minnesota (most common in Western Wisconsin).

Minnesota

  • to budge: to cut in line
  • hot dish: a simple entree cooked in a single dish, related to but not the same as a casserole.
  • Duck duck gray duck: a children's game, more commonly called Duck duck goose.
  • The Lakes: (general) The region of Northern Minnesota most heavily affected by the most recent ice age, known for its great number of large, shallow lakes and widely used as a summer playground for Twin Citians.
  • The Lakes: (Minneapolis) The city's famous system of lakes, especially the lakes of Chain of Lakes Park.
  • Minnewegian: The common accent of rural Minnesota, a variation of North Central American English. A portmanteau of Minnesota and Norwegian.
  • Timberpuppies, Twinkies, Viqueens: derogatory terms for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings, respectively.
  • The Cities: the seven-county Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. Specifically, the central cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
  • Pop: the common name used for carbonated beverages.
  • Sucker: lollipop

The Midland

  • dinner: the mid-day meal (esp. on farms); generally applied to the largest meal of the day whether at mid-day or in the evening.
  • for here: in the question "for here or to go?" Other regions use the phrase "to stay or to go?"
  • hoosier: someone from Indiana; also a hick or a redneck, low class (esp. in St. Louis and surrounding areas).
  • husker: someone from Nebraska.
  • pop: soft drink.
  • to: used in place of the word "at"; especially in the phrase "I have to be to work by 6:00".
  • tower: (esp. in OK) job or work, as in "I'm off to work my tower"; originally related to the oil industry.
  • where all, who all, and what all: the plural form of these words (i.e., "Who all went out for your birthday, and what all did you do?"); one step away from y'all.
  • suckers: lollypop.

Northern and Eastern Missouri (Saint Louis, Columbia, Missouri, and Surrounding Areas)

  • to love on someone: to show love to someone or love someone.
  • soda: a soft drink

Kansas and Western Missouri (including Kansas City)

  • Arkansas River: pronounced "Ar Kansas," not "Arkansaw" [The pronunciation changes officially at the Kansas borders as it enters from Colorado and leaves into Oklahoma.]
  • Arkansas City: a city in south central Kansas. pronounced "Ar Kansas," not "Arkansaw" [Most folks avoid the conflict and simply call it Ark City.]
  • pert near: from "pretty near" – very close (to); almost.
  • rack: a unit of measure of food in Barbeque; usually refers to one dozen.
  • reckon: to guess, bet, or gamble on; speculate; or reason.
  • rub: a mix of herbs, spices and seasonings used in Barbeque; to apply a mix of seasonings to food in preparation of Barbequing. The term is not unique to Kansas and Missouri but is commonly used in any barbecue culture (e.g. the Southeast and Texas.) A dry rub refers to the use of a coarse and dry spice mix; a wet rub consists of spices mixed with a fluid.
  • slab: a unit of measure for food in Barbeque, usually refers to one pound (16 ounces). A paved area of concrete.
  • taters: cooked or prepared potatoes.

The South

  • hose pipe: Not the actual hose itself but the point at which the hose attaches to the water supply (usually on a house/side of a building). Does not apply to fire hydrants.
  • billfold: a man or woman's wallet
  • buggy: shopping cart
  • crocus sack (Atlantic), croker sack (Gulf): burlap bag
  • directly: in a minute; soon; momentarily
  • fair: (verb, of the weather, used with off or up) to clear up
  • fix: To get ready, to be on the verge of ("I'm fixing to leave"). Also used to describe preparing a meal ("Should I fix you some breakfast?") The terms "fitntuh" or "finna" are short for "fitting to," a similar phrase.
  • mash: Used to describe virtually any action that involves applying any sort of pressure. Including, but not limited to, pushing, smashing, stomping, pressing.
  • poke: a paper bag, a sack. Used primarily among older Southerners.
  • put up: put away, put back in its place
  • snowbird: a person from a Northern state who vacations in a Southern state during the winter season, and has thus "flown" down to the South only to get away from the snow of their native state. Generally refers to a tourist, or someone who is clearly not a full-time resident ("In December I rent out a room in my apartment to some snowbirds from New York"; "I had to explain to some snowbird where the nearest gas station is"; "This whole town is flooded with snowbirds right around January")
  • sorry: of poor quality
  • straight drive, straight shift: Manual transmission in an automobile; referred to as stick shift in most other regions..
  • tump over: To capsize, tip, or fall over. Probably alteration of thump or tumble, or from British dialect tumpoke.
  • tote: to carry ("Tote that bag in the house for me.")
  • ugly: discourteous, rude ("You're actin' ugly.")
  • yonder: "over there"
  • yon: referring to an item that is over yonder. For example, "Can you go and fetch me yon lawnmower?"
  • y'all: Contraction for "you all"; the plural form of the pronoun "you".
  • coke: Generic term for any brand of soft drink (also less frequently cocola) See soft drink.
  • wide open: hyperactive, full of energy

South Louisiana

  • alligator pear: avocado
  • banquette: (old-fashioned) sidewalk
  • bobos: Any kind of wound, especially a bruise.
  • by location: to be at or in someplace (e.g. "by your mama's [house]"); to pass by (location): to stop and visit someplace
  • Cap: sir (from "captain")
  • cold drink: soft drink
  • (to make) dodo: (To go to) sleep.
  • gout ("goh"): (old-fashioned) a little taste
  • hickey: a bump on one's head
  • lagniappe: a little bit of something extra
  • locker: closet
  • to make groceries: to go shopping for groceries
  • neutral ground: median strip
  • passion mark: a love bite/hickey
  • po' boy: a sandwich in which French bread (baguette) is hollowed out and typically stuffed with fried oysters, clams, or shimp.
  • Where y'at?: "How are you doing?" Hence yat.
  • Fais Dodo (Fay Doh Doh): a party
  • Make (age): Have a birthday ("He's making 16 tomorrow.")
  • Flying Horses: carousel, merry-go-round
  • How's your mama an 'em: "How is your family (mother and them)?"
  • Dirty Rice: A Cajun rice dish consisting of rice, spices, herbs and either ground beef, chicken giblets, or both.
  • Pass a good time: Have fun, as in "Come pass a good time at da Fais dodo, y'all".
  • Boo or Booboo: affectionate name for a baby or small child, sometimes used with adults
  • T'rows: "throws", or the beads, trinkets, toys and stuffed animals thrown during a Mardi Gras parade
  • Throw me something, Mister!: The plea for beads, trinkets, etc. during a parade
  • Parish: county (There are no counties in LA, only parishes)

The West

Pacific Northwest (Oregon, Washington, and Alaska)

  • Beauty Bark (Washington), Bark Dust (Oregon): landscape or garden mulch consisting of chipped bark.
  • crummy: a vehicle used to transport forest workers.
  • grip: an abundant amount.
  • gyppo: contract work (or worker).
  • Jefferson: a mostly rural area of Southern Oregon and Northern California known for its secessionist movements.
  • Packing a card: to be a member of a union, such as the Wobblies.
  • Pecker pole or Peckerwood: a small tree, often found in the understory of old growth.
  • Second-growth: timber that has grown back on a previously harvested unit, either by natural reseeding or replanting.
  • Skid road: the path over which oxen pulled logs; it came to mean the part of a city where loggers congregate.
  • Snoose: damp snuff or dipping tobacco.
  • Weak Sauce: slang term for something that is disappointing (used by youth).
  • Timber Tiger: Chipmunk (lumberjack jargon).
  • Till: a cash register.

Chinook Jargon was a trade language (or pidgin) of the Pacific Northwest, which spread quickly up the West Coast from Oregon State, through Washington State, British Columbia, and as far as Alaska.

  • Chechaco: Derogatory term for new comers to the Northwest. A Chinook Jargon word.
  • Potlatch: a social gathering (a Chinook Jargon term).
  • Skookum: A Chinook Jargon word meaning good, strong, best, powerful, ultimate and first rate.
  • Tyee: Chinook Jargon for Chief, boss, etc.

Alaska

  • preacher: fallen tree in river (as the Yukon River) hindering navigation; snag.

Montana

  • crick: creek

Wyoming

  • barrow pit: ditch
  • goats: antelope
  • outfit: vehicle

See also

Regional American English

  • New York-New Jersey English
  • Baltimorese
  • Pittsburgh English
  • Southern American English
  • General American
  • Northeastern American English
  • California English
  • Boston slang
  • Inland Northern American English

English around the world

  • List of dialects of the English language
  • Differences in American and British English

Language studies

  • Sociolinguistics

External links

  • Dictionary of American Regional English
  • What Kind of American English Do You Speak? (quiz)
  • Cascadian English: http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2005/05/317962.shtml
  • Contrary to belief, local linguists say Northwest has distinctive dialect: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/225139_nwspeak20.html?source=rss
  • Pacific Northwest Vowels: A Seattle Neighborhood Dialect Study: http://www.aip.org/149th/ingle.html
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regional_vocabularies_of_American_English"