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Folklore: Regional expressions

Stringsinger 01 Apr 07 - 12:43 PM
Jim Lad 01 Apr 07 - 12:51 PM
Bill D 01 Apr 07 - 12:54 PM
Leadfingers 01 Apr 07 - 01:02 PM
Bat Goddess 01 Apr 07 - 01:12 PM
GUEST,meself 01 Apr 07 - 01:19 PM
mack/misophist 01 Apr 07 - 01:46 PM
Bat Goddess 01 Apr 07 - 01:51 PM
GUEST,meself 01 Apr 07 - 02:00 PM
GUEST,catlin 01 Apr 07 - 02:01 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 01 Apr 07 - 04:56 PM
Padre 01 Apr 07 - 09:51 PM
Stringsinger 01 Apr 07 - 10:40 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 01 Apr 07 - 11:17 PM
GUEST,meself 02 Apr 07 - 12:16 AM
Azizi 02 Apr 07 - 09:24 PM
mack/misophist 02 Apr 07 - 09:34 PM
Azizi 02 Apr 07 - 09:44 PM
GUEST,meself 02 Apr 07 - 09:58 PM
GUEST,meself 02 Apr 07 - 10:02 PM
Azizi 02 Apr 07 - 10:35 PM
katlaughing 02 Apr 07 - 11:11 PM
Azizi 02 Apr 07 - 11:18 PM
Azizi 02 Apr 07 - 11:31 PM
Azizi 02 Apr 07 - 11:35 PM
GUEST,meself 02 Apr 07 - 11:38 PM
Azizi 03 Apr 07 - 12:06 AM
Stringsinger 03 Apr 07 - 05:39 PM
Lonesome EJ 03 Apr 07 - 05:56 PM
Lonesome EJ 03 Apr 07 - 05:58 PM
gnu 03 Apr 07 - 06:03 PM
GUEST,meself 03 Apr 07 - 06:04 PM
Goose Gander 03 Apr 07 - 06:10 PM
Big Jim from Jackson 03 Apr 07 - 06:33 PM
Mr Happy 03 Apr 07 - 09:42 PM
Donuel 03 Apr 07 - 10:55 PM
Azizi 04 Apr 07 - 07:53 AM
GUEST,Observer 04 Apr 07 - 03:48 PM
SouthernCelt 04 Apr 07 - 07:23 PM
Azizi 04 Apr 07 - 07:46 PM
Azizi 04 Apr 07 - 07:51 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 04 Apr 07 - 08:02 PM
Stringsinger 04 Apr 07 - 08:09 PM
Graham and Jo 04 Apr 07 - 10:18 PM
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BanjoRay 05 Apr 07 - 09:01 AM
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Subject: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Stringsinger
Date: 01 Apr 07 - 12:43 PM

Hi Mudcatters,

I'm looking for regional expressions from around the US and other countries. Can you help?

For instance:    If you travel from Gloucester Mass to Maine, you are headed "down Maine".

If you are a tough kid in the Bronx, you are a "shtarker" and a sissy is a "pisher".

If you are from Boston, things can be "wicked good".

In the Bronx, there are the "coops" (not co-ops)

Los Angeles, "Orale Esse, as they say in LA have a nice day"
(Answer: "okie dokie artichokie"

Most everybody knows Yiddishisms (which I love). If you have "shpilkus" and you are of Italian descent, it's "agida".

A good day in New England is "right luscious" unless it gets "a mite lowery".

In New York and LA, mexicano and PR for talking bullshit is "menudo" (a tripe-soup)

In the forties in LA, "pachucos" (tough Chicanos) wore "huaraches" (sandals) and
dressed in "zoot suits with a reet pleat" and carried a blade.

Cowboy stuff is great like in the Gail Gardner (Prescott Ariz) song Tying A Knot in the Devil's Tail, Rusty Jiggs and Sandy Bob "hit 'em up a lope", "build a hole in their old seago" "Ile up their dry insides" and catch the "dallies" of the Devil.

Nowadays it's "whassup" but earlier it was "what's the haps?"

In the Forties everything was "copacetic".

Where I grew up in Santa Barbara, the Chicano kids would exclaim "Uta!" or "Uta-eh?"

"Chill, go with the flow"...now common usage.

It's interesting to figure out how these expressions came to be such as "gimme a break".

"Hold your horses" in the South is now "Back up the truck".

Among jazz musicians it used to be "hip" to say if you wanted something, you "had eyes" for it (coming from the standard jazz song "I Only Have Eyes For You"). In the thirties, the "cats" would say (if they wanted some pot) "Lay a tray on me, gate". "Gate" from "swinging". Clothes were "threads" and a car was a "short".

Anyway, there are thousands of these and it would be useful to hear from folks "Across the Pond".

A "pita" is inflight hostess talk for "a pain in the ass".

Hope this gets the ball rolling. "Hey", it's folklore or as they used to say in the thirties,
"Say", it's folklore.

So from Jersey, "you got it sussed".

Does anyone have a copy of Dictionary of American Regional English"

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Jim Lad
Date: 01 Apr 07 - 12:51 PM

American Regional English ..... A contradiction in terms. Don't you think?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Bill D
Date: 01 Apr 07 - 12:54 PM

Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay still speak with a dialect and use many expressions not heard other places. One I remember from a TV documentary was a little girl explaining that is you wanted to say some one is pretty or handsome, you'd say "He ain't ugly none!"


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Leadfingers
Date: 01 Apr 07 - 01:02 PM

In and around Birmingham , Warwickshire , UK , Our Kid was ANY male relation but usually a brother , wether older OR younger !


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 01 Apr 07 - 01:12 PM

John Gould (a fine writer!) wrote "Maine Lingo" back in the 1970s -- wondrful book and pretty comprehensive.

Leo Rosten's "Joy of Yiddish" of course, for New York City and other urban areas.

I'm from Milwaukee originally (been in New England since 1970) but I, of course, keep up on Milwaukee-isms --

bubbler for drinking fountain
soda crackers for saltines
"go by the store" instead of "go to the store" (ancient history -- "Let's go by Schuster's" and Gimbel's did -- buy Schusters department store.)
"aina" tossed in at the end of most sentences -- ie "Nice day, aina?"
stand in line not on line (which is NY)

Linn


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 01 Apr 07 - 01:19 PM

I think it would be more useful if you limited this a little bit - say, to one particular region, or subject ... After all, there are shelves of dictionaries of this stuff.

Or - go ahead and do what you're doing!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: mack/misophist
Date: 01 Apr 07 - 01:46 PM

I first heard 'wicked good' 20 years ago and the user swore it was from Albany, NY.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 01 Apr 07 - 01:51 PM

"Wicked" as in "wicked good" was already in use in eastern Massachusetts when I moved there from Milwaukee in January of 1970.

The other New England adjective is "pissah". (translates to "pisser" for those without an upper New England accent.)

Linn


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 01 Apr 07 - 02:00 PM

By the way, I was surprised by this one: 'In the Forties everything was "copacetic".'

I don't think that appeared in my generation of Candians till the late '70's; I assumed it was new then. It was well-used for about ten years or so then. I see from an on-line dictionary, several sources trace it to the 1910s-20s.

Can anyone tell me why everyone starting using the expression "back in the day" about five or ten years ago?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: GUEST,catlin
Date: 01 Apr 07 - 02:01 PM

If there's ice outside in Pennsylvania-especially central/pa dutch areas-it's "slippy" out there. I caught a German speaking cab customer use the word while speaking to her husband. I started to laugh, explaing why I was doing so. She said that she never used that word but her husband agreed with me, saying that she did. They only moved to Penn State/State College 2 years before and our colloquialsms were growing on them.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 Apr 07 - 04:56 PM

Some expressions travel, and die out where they started. Others, like 'pisser,' become almost universal before people get tired of them.
Pisser appeared in New York (1945)- a wag, a corker, (referring to a person) or a prank. Later, an amusing person, or thing. Can anyone find an earlier quote?
"I could have gone a real pisser" - had a bad accident. 1974.

These are among the quotations on 'pisser' in the Oxford English Dictionary- in addition to acting as names for the penis and the pudendum, which are quoted from 1901, but probably date well back.

The Italian proverb- 'He who pisseth against the wind wetteth his shirt.' 1642, Torriano.

Piss on, off, or about have been used in so many ways as to defy cataloging.
------------------------------------------
Slippy, meaning slippery, in in print from 1548 in England.
Charles Dickens complained about 'slippy' chairs in 1837.

Then there are slippy people- slim, crooked, spry, etc., etc.- used in many senses.
-----------------------------------------------------------
soda cracker- Calling this 'regional,' since soda biscuit or soda cracker are the original names for biscuits made with sodium bicarbonate, is incorrect. Common from the 19th c. as these were marketed widely.
'Saltine,' on the other hand, appeared in "Grocery World" in 1907, applied to a commercial type of cracker sprinkled with salt. It has remained chiefly U. S. and Canada; usage in the UK later and still not used much.
-------------------------

Demonstrating that a term or saying is regional requires careful research.

Got to quit now, I'm fixin' to go ta home.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Padre
Date: 01 Apr 07 - 09:51 PM

When you go North along route 11 in Virginia through the Shenandoah Valley (e.g. from Lexington to Winchester), you are said to go 'down the valley' Contrarywise, going South from Winchester to Lexington is to 'go up the valley' - it has to do with the flow of the river.

Padre


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Stringsinger
Date: 01 Apr 07 - 10:40 PM

I realize that there are a lot of documented phrases in books but it's interesting to hear people's personal remembrances of regional expressions. There may be some that haven't been documented yet like my example of Santa Barbara Chicano's "Uta!"

Yes there are definite regional examples of American Regional English. In fact there is a Dictionary of American Regional English (four volumes).

The ones that you've come up with are great. Love to hear more.

I remember "pissah" and right, Copacetic may go back to the 1920's although I really think it occurred more in the Thirties with the jazz musicians perhaps in Harlem.

Are there any from Wisconsin, Minnesota or the Mid-west? Of course there is "yumpin yiminee".

Have you heard the expression, "Stay out of trees?" Is this Canadian? It means something like watch out or take care.

Anyone know where the expression "Don't take any wooden nickels" comes from?

"Down the valley" and "go up the valley" is great. That's one you don't hear every day.

I like "slippy" too.   

"Back in the day" goes along with "Time was".

In New Orleans I heard a tough black guy approach another and say "Sumpin?" That meant do you want to make something of it?

"Hooverized" was used during the Depression as a rationing.

"Slum gullion" was a stew served aboard ship in the Merchant Marines.

"Magooslum" was "spit" in Indiana. Then there was also "gism". (don't need to describe)

Does anyone remember "Mumbledy peg"? It was played with marbles and a pocket knife kind of like "jacks". Regional to Indiana and the South.

Sure you can find all kinds of expressions in books but it's more interesting to hear what people remember in their own lives.

For example, "hip checking" comes from hockey I've been told but it was used on the schoolyard by large girls banging their hips against other girls and knocking them across the schoolyard.

Is "round the bend" an English expression for being crazy?



Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 01 Apr 07 - 11:17 PM

Played mumblypeg (var. sp) every noon hour in grade school. This was in New Mexico and Colorado. My grandfather taught me and he had learned it in Chicago. It was the kind where one threw a pocket knife from various set positions, sticking it into the grass. One of the easy moves was to hold the left ear with the left hand and throw the knife through the gap that made. Each of us had put a penny in a pot and the one to complete all the moves without a mistake took the pot. In those days every grade school boy carried a pocket knife.
There must be many variations; never saw it with marbles- maybe that one is regional.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 02 Apr 07 - 12:16 AM

'"Back in the day" goes along with "Time was".'

But I never heard "back in the day" in my life until five or ten years ago. Then suddenly the kids were saying it all the time, then the adults took to saying it, and now I catch myself about to say it from time to time (it's so nonsensical it drives me up the wall). So back to my question: why did it suddenly become fashionable? Surely someone can cobble together a far-fetched theory ...

On to other news. Never heard "stay out of the trees" in Canada. "Round the bend" for crazy, especially in the sense of having gone mad with some obsession, is well-known in Canada.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Apr 07 - 09:24 PM

"... I never heard "back in the day" in my life until five or ten years ago"

Same here.

I can't tell you who first said "back in the day" or why he or she said it.

But I believe that the "back in the day" saying came after "way back when" {or "way back then"}. And the equivalant phrase which preceded "way back when" was "the olden days".

So maybe someone took the "back" from "way back when" and the "day" from "the olden days" to coin the saying "back in the day".

Of course, there is also the saying "the good ole days".

Needless to say, the good ole days weren't always good.

But reminiscing makes them so.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: mack/misophist
Date: 02 Apr 07 - 09:34 PM

My Mother used to say 'back in the day'. She was born around 1920.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Apr 07 - 09:44 PM

Yes, Mack/Misophist, but when did she say it?

It could be that "way back when" is an older saying than I thought it was. And perhaps it became more widely used about 5-10 years ago.

??


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 02 Apr 07 - 09:58 PM

Finally some response to my question!

Back in MY day, the expression "back in my day" was commonly used among the older generation, when they were comparing their younger days with the present. And then my mother had a laugh not too long ago when she heard me say "back in the old days" in reference to my own childhood. I guess the idea of the 1960's being "the old days" struck her as funny. Or the thought that such a young whippersnapper as me knew anything about "the old days" ...

Here's my own suspicion about "back in the day". It sounds like it could well be an old expression from some specific region of the States, and that it stayed comfortably and happily in that region until some local boy went off to L.A. and made good as a script-writer, and put the expression in the mouth of some character in a TV serial or movie popular with the younger set (jeesh, I feel like an old fuddy-duddy!). But that's just a theory. Mack: where is/was your mother from? (She would be about the same age as my mother, by the way).


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 02 Apr 07 - 10:02 PM

As far as I know, "'way back when" goes 'way back when. It was another I often heard growing up - 'way back when.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Apr 07 - 10:35 PM

I see that I confused "back in the day" with "way back when" when I commented in response to Mack/Misophist's post about his mother saying one or the other of these sayings.

They all sound alike to me.

;o)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: katlaughing
Date: 02 Apr 07 - 11:11 PM

Linn, we grew up calling them soda crackers, too, in Colorado and Wyoming. Biscuits were/are "baking powder biscuits."

Frank, I can't remember if you were around when we had a long thread called Colloquialisms. There are some good ones in there and the subsequent follow-up threads.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Apr 07 - 11:18 PM

On to copacetic:

"co·pa·cet·ic or co·pa·set·ic (kp-stk)

adj. Excellent; first-rate; completely satisfactory"

I really like how the word 'copacetic' looks and sounds. Its too bad that that word appears to be rarely used by African Americans nowadays. Among African Americans and other 'hip' [if not hip-hop] folks, copacetic has been replaced-many times over-with words and phrases such as
"bad", "mean", "awesome", "hot", "smokin", "burnin up", "the bomb", "blew up"; "phat", "righteous", "tight"; all that", "all that and a bag of chips", "off the chart", "off the hook", "off the chain", big" {as in "got big"} ,"large" {as in "livin large", and "the shit".

I posted that list of words in the Mudcat thread thread.cfm?threadid=100282#2008953 "RE: Definition of 'square'!"

One equivalent phrase that I forgot to include in that list is "cookin". That word is a "bona fried" :o} member of the 'hot', 'burning', 'smokin' family of positive terms that I listed in that post.

An example of 'cookin' is "That band was really "cookin"- meaning they were really "getting down"; They were really playing well.

**

But back to 'copacetic'. Another word that replaced 'copacetic' is 'cool'. Of course 'cool' has a number of colloquial meanings. Nut I'm speaking here of 'cool'='hip'='with it'='hot'='dynamite'='the bomb'.

Among Black Americans that meaning for cool has largely played out-meaning it got too much play since it was picked up by 'mainstream' society. [Have you noticed that often when Black slang is picked up by White folks, Black folks retire it and move on to some other terms?]

But sometime you can still hear Black people say "That's cool" {meaning "That's alright"} and not "That's great!".

And some people may also say "That's cool and the gang" {which is a takeoff of the 1970s? R&B group, Kool & The Gang.

**
Here's an interesting online essay about the theories about the origin of the word 'copacetic':

http://www.pointlessart.com/education/copacetic.html


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Apr 07 - 11:31 PM

There's a difference between slang and regional expressions, isn't there?

What about words like y'all and younz? I think those words can be considered regional. But there are racial and ethnic differences even there. For instance, I've heard that 'younz' is a Pittsburghese way of saying y'all {that contraction of you all that I don't really know how to spell}.

But I have never heard a Black Pittsburgher say 'younz'. I wonder why that term is considered 'white talk'.

**

Also, what about 'sidditty' or 'high siddity'{meaning "stuck up"-meaning a person who has "too high an opinion of her or himself"}. Imo, 'siddity' comes from the word 'society'. Another word for siddity' is 'snooty".

I don't recall hearing "siddity" when I was growing up in Atlantic City, New Jersey. I believe we said that a person was "snooty" instead. But I left New Jersey in the mid 1960s so I might be mistaken about that.

I'm interested in knowing if "siddity", "high siddity", "stuck up", and/or "snooty" cross racial lines in the USA and also if they are known & used elsewhere.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Apr 07 - 11:35 PM

Typo correction from my 02 Apr 07 - 11:18 PM
post


"Note I'm speaking here of 'cool'='hip'='with it'='hot'='dynamite'='the bomb'."


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 02 Apr 07 - 11:38 PM

Azizi: I wonder if you've got 'copacetic' quite right ... I wasn't sure from your post whether you actually heard and possibly used the word itself, or whether your experience with it is more from reading. If you know it from direct experience, then maybe the meaning is slightly different in different places.

I have not known 'copacetic' to mean "bad, mean ... ", etc. It was much more 'cool' in the last sense you were talking about: all right, okay, all set up and ready to go, in order .... Usually in reference to some situation that had the potential to be problematic but, according to the speaker of the word, was at present and for the foreseeable future all right. Everything's cool; everything's copacetic ...

"[Have you noticed that often when Black slang is picked up by White folks, Black folks retire it and move on to some other terms?]"

You don't think, do you, that Black folks have the fallacious apprehension that White folks are not extremely hip, cool, groovy and/or all that? If so, they have not seen me all gussied-up heading off to the square-dance on a Saturday night. Well, Saturday afternoon, really ...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Azizi
Date: 03 Apr 07 - 12:06 AM

Meself,

me use 'copacetic?' Naw. That wouldn't be cool at all. That would mean that I was an old head -which I am, but I try to stay current with the lingo yaknowhatimean?

But seriously though, I can't recall ever using the word 'copacetic' in spoken conversation. My ex-husband was a jazz musician. I also don't recall hearing him or his musician friends use that word either unless they were purposely using a 'back in the day' word for one reason or another. My point is that I don't think that copacietic was regularly used as were words like 'hip' and 'cool' and 'dig it' and 'right on!' and 'siddity' and a host of other slang terms.

I thought that copacetic meant that things were okay, alright, in order. But that website whose link I provide 'said' it meant excellent, which I interprete to be more than cool.

Maybe it did {does?} mean that sometimes somewhere.

And, meself, with regard to your last comment, you mean you got it goin on? You mean you're hip to the jive, mellow, cool, groovy, bad, fly, mean, dynamite, the bomb?

Good on you!

Right on with your bad self!

But a square dance, uhn?

Well, I hear tell square dances can be lots of fun. But truth be told, I've had no experience what so ever square dancing, either on a Saturday night or Saturday afternoons.

But it's all good. I mean it's cool. Really it is, square business.

:o)

**

Meself, I've enjoyed this exchange.

Catch you later!

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Stringsinger
Date: 03 Apr 07 - 05:39 PM

Kat, thanks so much!

Missed the thread but it sure is a good one! Got lots of wonderful ones. The best, though is where people said they heard them.

Adding to the list: from those who grew up in Los Angeles area, San Bernadino is prounounced "San Berdoo".

People in "Frisco" used to correct you, "That's the City of San Francisco".

For those from across the Pond, can you please tell me regionally where and when the term "Argy-bargy" started?

Have you heard the term "runnin' on empty"? (self-explanatory from the car culture.

A crazy motor cyclist in LA was known as a "squirrel".

A great Black expression I heard in the Watts area was "Easy, greasy, you got a long way to slide". (Relax)

If you're "Blowin' smoke" in Texas, you're "All hat and no cattle".

Kat, we probably go on for years but I loved the stuff from the colloquial thread and I'd like to hear more.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 03 Apr 07 - 05:56 PM

An expression I've heard only in Utah is "my hell!", as a way of expressing astonishment or disgruntlement. Some Utahns will even say "my heck" as a means of softening the blow.

When I was a kid, my Mom got a good laugh when I asked her about what life was like when she was a kid "back in the olden days."

Copacetic I have used a number of times, meaning(for me) in agreement, or being on the same page, not necessarily to describe something good or excellent. "She and I disagreed on most Mexican food, but when it came to rellenos we were copacetic".


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 03 Apr 07 - 05:58 PM

and, by the by, Frank...is it true you taught McGuinn his 12-string finger style?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: gnu
Date: 03 Apr 07 - 06:03 PM

That there is some shockin' good, b'y. NF.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 03 Apr 07 - 06:04 PM

Proper t'ing, gnu.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Goose Gander
Date: 03 Apr 07 - 06:10 PM

From the Anderson Valley in Mendocino County, California comes boontling dialect.

Courtesy of Anderson Valley Brewing Company which makes some pretty good ales, stouts and porters.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Big Jim from Jackson
Date: 03 Apr 07 - 06:33 PM

One expression that moved from construction into common usage in some areas of mid-America is "half a bubble off". The meaning is that something is just not quite right. It appears to have refference to a bubble level. When something is not quite level, the bubble does not fall inside the marks on the level's window. "I believe that fella is about a half a bubble off."


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Mr Happy
Date: 03 Apr 07 - 09:42 PM

Here down home in de good 'ole U of K, there's an almost universal tendency to add superfluous words to most sentences.

E.g

'that was a great meal, that was'

'he's a brilliant player, he is'


& other add ons, such as

'I saw him in the gym the other day, know what I mean, y'know what i'm saying'


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Donuel
Date: 03 Apr 07 - 10:55 PM

agita is heart burn but the shpillkies is more of a nervous jumpy stomach.


Pennsylvania Dutch
"Throw father down the stairs his hat."

Endicott NY
"How many speedies you want?"

NE Italian
"I'm just saying..." (immediately erases whatever insult or percieved put down that was just uttered)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Azizi
Date: 04 Apr 07 - 07:53 AM

Re: "NE Italian
I'm just saying..."

This sentence seems to have a different meaning among the African Americans who I've heard saying it.

In my opinion, when "I'm just saying" follows right after another sentence, it means that "You may not like what I said, but I said it anyway". Though it might be a mild apology, {among African Americans imo} this sentence definitely does not erase "whatever insult or percieved put down that was just uttered). Instead, I think it serves to emphasize what was just said.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 04 Apr 07 - 03:48 PM

Another Pennsylvania Dutch expression; heard a father tell his son who was talking with his mouth full of food, "Eat your mouth empty once!"


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: SouthernCelt
Date: 04 Apr 07 - 07:23 PM

I grew up around an old black fellow that had a number of sayings that I heard only from him. The only one that comes to mind right now is one he used often when talking about anyone that wasn't bright, honest or sincere. He's say something like, "That boy ain't twissed (meaning 'twisted') tight." He seemed to use the term for more meanings than what I presumed it came from which was the expression saying someone "had a screw loose" meaning crazy or odd-acting. We used to get really amused at his way of talking, especially since he would occasionally carry on conversations with himself, so I guess he was "twissed tight" himself.

He was a nice, friendly old fellow though, always willing to help in a pinch, so I guess we just considered him to be a little eccentric.

SC


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Azizi
Date: 04 Apr 07 - 07:46 PM

SouthernCelt, the old man's saying "___ ain't twissed tight" is a variant form of what I believe to be a very common African American saying that [someone] isn't {aint} wrapped too tight".

Another way of saying this is that "_____ isn't playing with a full deck" or "____ doesn't have all his wits about him."

The implication of a person not being "twisted tight" or not "being wrapped too tight" is that he or she has probably more than one brain "screw[s] loose".


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Azizi
Date: 04 Apr 07 - 07:51 PM

Also SouthernCelt, you wrote that "... he would occasionally carry on conversations with himself, so I guess he was "twissed tight" himself."

It may have been a typo*, but if you meant to say that the old man was eccentric, and/or he had a screw loose, your sentence would read "so I guess he wasn't twissed tight himself."


I know a lot about typos.

:o)

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 04 Apr 07 - 08:02 PM

I just heard a good one today that made me laugh. It came from Dan Williams, Director of the Men's Chorus that I sing in. My group, The Gospel Messengers, will be singing in concert next Friday night with the Swanee Quintet. The Swannee Quintet is a revered, classic black gospel group that has been around for over 50 years, so it is an honor for us to be singing on the same program with them.

Dan, who grew up in Mississippi, said when he heard we'd be on the same program with the group, "You're picking high cotton, now." Never having picked cotton, or even been to Mississippi, that's a regional expression I never heard. But, it's easy to understand. If you were picking cotton out in the blazing sun in Mississippi during the summer, dragging a ten foot sack down the rows, it would be a lot easier on your back if you were "picking high cotton."

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Stringsinger
Date: 04 Apr 07 - 08:09 PM

Lonesome EJ, yes and no. I taught him 12-string guitar. What he did with that is his.
He is an original.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Graham and Jo
Date: 04 Apr 07 - 10:18 PM

In Yorkshire people often use 'while' to mean up until. This can lead to sentances like 'you wait while the shower's free'.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 05 Apr 07 - 12:08 AM

That's confusing. Tell them to stop.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Snuffy
Date: 05 Apr 07 - 08:40 AM

They had to change the signs at all the automatic level crossings in Yorkshire. They originally read Do not cross while red light is flashing


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: BanjoRay
Date: 05 Apr 07 - 09:01 AM

Frank in your first message you talk about Gate coming from "Swinging gate" - I always though that came from one of Louis Armstrong's old nicknames Gatemouth, shortened to Gate. He was also called Dippermouth and Satchelmouth (hence Satchmo), and when you saw his grin you could see why. Mezz Mezzrow explained all this in his book "Really The Blues" back in the forties, which includes superb accounts of slang in the Jazz scene of the twenties and thirties
Ray


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Scoville
Date: 05 Apr 07 - 10:02 AM

There's a difference between slang and regional expressions, isn't there?

Yes, but slang can also be regional.

* * * * *

My mother's New Jerseyite family go "down the shore" instead of "to the beach". I'm sure they have other peculiar expressions, too, but I don't see them enough to recall.

A lot of people here [Texas] will tell you "leave it set" there awhile instead of "let it sit" if they want you not to disturb something.

And "copacetic" started in the 1920's (but may not have been in wide use until later) and is supposed to mean roughly the same as "it's all good" does today: If things are going well, it's "copacetic". I could see it being used to imply "in agreement" since, if you both agree on something, it's "all good" between the two of you.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Mr Happy
Date: 10 Apr 07 - 11:26 AM

more "Yorkshireisms' here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yorkshire_colloquialisms


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 10 Apr 07 - 04:30 PM

Snuffy - I think that's a myth (which has been posted before, though...)

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: SouthernCelt
Date: 10 Apr 07 - 07:59 PM

Yeah, Azizi, 'was' should have been 'wasn't' which is what happens when I get to trying to move too fast through all the newer posts. Oh, well, I guess everybody got it, anyway...Hey, do you think I might not be 'twissed tight' too???
SC


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions--Siddity
From: GUEST,School Marm
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 07:03 PM

I was researching "siddity" because one of my students used it in a paper. I have never heard this term before (I am a child of the 60s). My student is black and about 18.

Her cousin accused her of living in an area full of "siddity" and that she was "acting white." He ended up in jail, while she is in college. :) She said she did not know what "siddity" meant.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Rowan
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 12:46 AM

Southern Celt and Azizi,
We have quite a collection of phrases with similar meaning to the "half a bubble off" and "not twisted right" ones.

Two sandwiches short of a lunch
Two bricks short of a wall
Not the brightest crayon in the box
Not the sharpest knife in the drawer

are some that are probably well known outside OZ and may have originated almost anywhere, but
He's got kangaroos loose in the top paddock
is almost certainly of Oz origin.

Frank, the original poster, made reference to New England. Where I live, many older people refer to the area as "the New England"; the definite article specifying the definite article, so to speak. And there's a collection of Australianisms, of the sort Frank seemed to be interested in, linked to Mudcat's home page

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Muttley
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 02:47 AM

Hey, Rowan - you forgot:
"Two snags (sausages) short of a barbie (barbecue)";
"Two sangers (sandwiches) short of a picnic"
"two stubbies short of a six-pack".

All mean someone isn't as clever as they could be (A 'stubbie' by the way is a small [about 375ml] bottle of beer)

"Thick as a brick" or "Thick as two short planks" - again - not clever

And one of my favourites - as it is all over the world one can buy beer here in six-packs of cans which are all held together with a plastic thing (apparently seals, dolphins and 'greenies' hate them) - I call it a plastic 'thing' because it's part of the colloquy:

We often refer to someone as "He's got the six-pack - he just lacks the plastic thingy to hold them all together"

Muttley


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Rowan
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 03:24 AM

Ah, Muttley, you got me. I must be two sentences short of a book.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: JennyO
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 03:43 AM

Just thought I'd refresh this thread to accommodate all the "dumb as", "not the.....in the......", "two.....short of.....", and ".....as a ....." expressions coming up in the Cabbage Looking thread.

Put them here!



































See, I found it. I'm not as dim as I sim!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Cats at Work
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 06:30 AM

In Cornwall tourists are 'emmets' and in Devon they are 'grockles'. The use of 'to' at the end of a sentence is considered to be a Plymouthian expression.
As a child in the South East twittens were pathways or alleyways though a set of lanes which were enclosed as opposed to being wide open. An interesting book you might like to look at is The Language and Lore of Children by the Opies. It has regional singing games etc in it.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 08:44 AM

SUFFOLK England,Coodeheck bor,was a common exclamation in Bury st Edmunds,as was Suffin Cold ,,
CatsATwork those pathways,in Nottingham had another name TWITCHELL


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: JennyO
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 11:58 AM

A couple more we hear in the world of Oz:

Ugly as a box of blowflies

Couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 02:22 PM

It pains me that while I think of Wisconsin as my beloved home, I wasn't born there. I picked up a lot of the language because I thought it was colorful and interesting, but I knew that the correct way to speak was what I learned in Detroit in my first nine years of life.

I learned the hard way that Southeast Wisconsin drinking fountains are "bubblers," because I went to the drinking fountain for a drink when the nun told us to stay away from the bubbler.

And yes, people would go "by" Shuster's Department Store, usually in the company of their many "cousants" (cousins), since there were lots of large Catholic families there.

And on the Souside (Southside) of Muhwahky (Milwaukee), they say people would go "down by Mitchell Street, where the streetcar turns the corner round."

And then there was the universal confirming interrogative, which sounds something like "Ay-na-hey?" It means "ain't that right?" or something like that. The answer, of course, is "You betcha."

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Regional expressions
From: Rowan
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 09:35 PM

On ABC's Radio National this morning there was a linguist describing the disppearance from Ozspeak of various prhases and sayings, some of which appear in the thread above.

"Cheerio" and "Hoo roo", as depature terms are no longer current, accoding to the linguist; I've heard both used in the last fortnight.

"Smart as paint", to describe something or someone as "really well turned out" is one I grew up with but haven't heard for a while.

The linguist put it all down to the rapidity of language change due to technological 'advances' like emails and SMSs.

Looks like I'm just another geriatric traditionalist with Luddite tendencies, then.

I'll get out of your way.

Cheers, Rowan


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