Thursday Things

1. Any other language nerds out there? I’ve been super duper interested in language since high school, so when these maps started floating around Facebook (and now BuzzFeed) last week, I accepted right then and there that I was going to lose a solid half day of work to studying them. If you’re in any way interested in dialect and how people use language around the United States, I highly recommend checking out the maps for yourself, but some personal highlights for me:

Screen shot 2013-06-11 at 2.26.50 PM

In unsurprising news, most people in Chicago call that kind of public transportation the El/L. To be honest, I don’t think I’d call it the L anywhere but Chicago, though. If I were in DC or New York, for example, I’d probably call it the subway, or maybe the train, which is actually how I generally refer to the El in Chicago anyway.

Screen shot 2013-06-11 at 2.27.40 PM

I’ve been pronouncing “been” like the name “Ben” all my life, and I wasn’t aware that that wasn’t standard?

Screen shot 2013-06-11 at 2.30.41 PM

Hell. You call those traffic situations hell.

Although, interestingly, I’ve always called them a roundabout, even though regionally I apparently should be calling them traffic circles. I’m wondering if this is because my dad, who was raised in Seattle, was the person in my family most likely to talk about these traffic situations, and if that influenced how I talk about them.

Screen shot 2013-06-11 at 2.31.39 PMThis one fascinated me. I’m sure I’ve been saying, “Are you coming with?” since high school or middle school, but according to the map that’s not convention in Michigan, where I spent my middle and high school years.

Screen shot 2013-06-11 at 2.40.02 PM

And then this one was really cool to me because just two or three weeks ago, my roommate, a native of New Orleans currently working in a bakery, asked me what I would call a pie made with nuts, and I said, “PEE-kahn pie” (because I apparently am secretly from northern Wisconsin?). She found this fascinating, because as far as she was concerned, it was a “pick-AHN pie,” and this must have caused some confusion at the bakery.

2. You know what life lesson I learned over the past week? There is no greater skill to have as a working adult than the ability to write a finely crafted professionally angry e-mail. Those things get stuff done, man. It’s got to be just right, though. Too angry? You make people mad. Too professional? Depending on the situation, you either turn people off or don’t get your point across. But once you find that balance between professional and angry, holy SMOKES do things start happening! It’s incredible!

3. Am I the only one who feels like there are about 234,523,385,523,324 must-do summer bucket lists this year? I feel like every website I encounter has a list of 25/30/60 (?! Come on, BuzzFeed! Who do you think I am?!) things I HAVE TO DO this summer to make the most of the season. I didn’t realize how much this was getting to me until Tuesday when I found myself thinking, “Crap, I didn’t go to Downtown Sound last night, and I haven’t really made it to any street fests yet, and I definitely haven’t been to the beach once this season. I’ve wasted my entire summer!”

For one thing, no. There’s still plenty of summer to be had, so I really don’t think I’ve wasted my entire summer, or even most of my summer. For another thing, why do people seem to so strongly believe life is only worth living in the summer? Yeah, it’s cold during the not-summer, so you might not be as likely to do things outside/there might not be as many outside activities to do, but all of this, “Chicago summers make up for Chicago winters!” business irks me. Personally, I think Chicago is awesome during the whole year. But then again, I also enjoy cold weather.

Any regionalisms particular to your area that you did or did not know about?
Do you have a summer bucket list?

18 thoughts on “Thursday Things

  1. This is so funny! I love hearing how other people say things. I feel like as a new englander I have a very different dialect than the rest of the country. Like I say “room” like “rum” and “roof” like “ruff”. Oh, and lets not forget my overzealous use of the word wicked. So yea. Summer bucket lists- I always say I’m going to do a million things and never do any of them. Oh well…

    • I feel like summer bucket lists (or, a lot of the time, bucket lists in general) are just like New Year’s Resolutions, just made halfway through the year instead of at the beginning of the year. So many high expectations, so many unfulfilled ideas. Sigh.

      Sometimes I wish I were from New England so I could say wicked. We don’t have any cool regionalisms in the Midwest, at least not cool like wicked.

  2. Those maps are so interesting…I will not let myself look at more until after work. I’ve always said roundabout too by the way but I think I’ve probably see two roundabouts in my entire time in Michigan and both were in Ann Arbor. Ian has always made fun of me for saying “ruff” for “roof” and “root” for “route” but I think it must be a family thing for me because we’re both from the same-ish area.

    • Yeah, I’m pretty sure there was like one roundabout in my hometown, and it was in a totally out-of-the-way area that you’d pretty much never be driving through on your way from Point A to Point B, so fortunately I didn’t have to put up with them too much. Although I think they restructured one of the ramps onto I-94 so that the intersection with the road is now a roundabout…so weird. Why would anyone do that? So much confusion.

  3. I love those maps! I’m from NJ so I call them “traffic circles” – that’s mainly because I never encountered one growing up. My town had “jug handles” instead. Anyway, my college friends had to use a GPS to come visit me at home one time and it kept telling them to “enter the roundabout” and it was killing them because they had never heard that before.

    Also, when I was in high school, I went to this thing where I ended up rooming with a girl from Minnesota and another from Texas. We were all so fascinated by the different ways we already referred to what I call “soda.” One called it “pop,” another called it “coke.”

    • I always feel so conscious of the fact that I call it pop, especially when I’m around soda-ers. Haha. Although I guess actually I’m most likely to call the soft drink by it’s official name than anything…like, “I want a Sprite,” rather than “I want a pop.” This might be due to the fact that I rarely actually want pop haha.

  4. Jason and I killed half an evening looking at those maps! There were a few things that I say that were so very much a southern Illinois thing (and I mean, like the very tip of Illinois, not just south of I-80) which I’m pretty sure I got from my grandmother. Otherwise I tended to fit right into Illinois/Chicago. And some thing I use interchangeably! But, yes, very fascinating.

    And I hear you about the whole DO ALL THE THINGS in the summer. Sometimes I feel like I’ve wasted the entire summer but I know I’m busy all year round so why try to cram it all in during a few months?

    • Yeah, true that. Life exists outside of June to August! We can still have fun from September to May!

      It’s interesting to think how our families influence how we talk. I think we tend to think that region has the most influence, but I’d imagine that where our families originate has more influence than where we actually live.

  5. I poured over these maps when I first saw them! I’m in Western New York, and there’s a massive divide between people who say “soda” versus “pop.” My city is actually right along the border between the two, so everyone here is ridiculous about it. I always say soda, but my boyfriend says pop. It’s probably the biggest divide in our relationship.

  6. Those were some terrific charts, girl! I love stuff like that too…Pittsburgh has it’s own little language, which I discovered when I moved here in 9th grade…people who were born here would say things to me and I had no idea what they were talking about. I’ve picked up on most of it by now, but it irks me when people say “yinz” for “you all” and “aht” for “out”…Joe knows this and does it just to annoy me…he gets flicked for such things 😛

    • Bahahahahaha that last line…”he gets flicked for such things”…gold. I’ve heard that about Pittsburgh before! I’ve never actually spent any time there, so I haven’t experienced it myself, but I believe it was mentioned in my History of the English Language class in college.

  7. Oh summer bucket lists. I always come up with things I want to do but then I am so busy all summer I hardly get to do any of them. Last year I spent so much time traveling back and forth to Iowa for weddings that I didn’t get to spend many weekends in Chicago. When you are in school you have the whole summer off to do things but this whole work regular hours is really cramping my style.
    There is one thing I must do this year and that is go to the beach!

    • YES. EXACTLY. I actually wanted to put in there, “I want to see someone come up with a summer bucket list for those of us who work in an office all day,” but then I didn’t. But seriously. It’s like all these bucket lists are geared towards those in their 20s and 30s, and I’m like hello?? Don’t most of us have, you know, JOBS?

      I only went to the beach once last year, and it was in Michigan. Unacceptable! I’m for sure going to the beach at some point this summer.

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