Pittsburgh English


Pittsburgh English

Pittsburgh English, popularly known as Pittsburghese, is the dialect of American English spoken by many residents of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA and surrounding Western Pennsylvania.

Overview

Many of the features found in the speech of Pittsburghers are popularly thought to be unique to the city. This is reflected in the term "Pittsburghese", the putative sum of these features in the form of a dialect. However, few of these features are restricted solely to Pittsburgh or the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. Instead, many of them are found throughout southwestern Pennsylvania, the Midland dialect region, or even large parts of the United States (Johnstone, Bhasin, and Wittkofski, 2002; Wisnosky 2003; Johnstone and Baumgardt, 2004). Perhaps the only feature whose distribution is restricted almost exclusively to the Pittsburgh metropolitan area is /aw/ monophthongization. This means that words such as "house", "down", "found", or "sauerkraut" are sometimes pronounced with an "ah" sound instead of the more standard pronunciation of "ow."

The language of the early Scots-Irish settlers had the greatest influence on the speech of southwestern and western Pennsylvania. This influence is reflected mainly in the retention of certain lexical items ("cruds" or "cruddled milk", "hap", "jag", "jagger", "nebby", "neb", "neb-nose", "nebshit", "redd up", "slippy", "yinz/yunz/you’uns", "punctual" "whenever" and possibly "positive" "anymore" and reversed usage of "leave" and "let"), but also in the "like", "need", or "want" + past participle grammatical constructions and the discourse marker "‘n’at". According to a study based only on pronunciation, the dialect region of western Pennsylvania ranges north to Erie, Pennsylvania, west to Youngstown, Ohio, south to Clarksburg, West Virginia, and east to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (Labov, Ash and Boberg 2005), but different features may be differently distributed.

Documented contributions from other languages are "pierogi" (Hall 2002) and "kolbassi" (Cassidy and Hall 1996) from Polish, "babushka" from Russian (Cassidy 1985), and, from German, falling intonation at the end of questions with a definite yes or no answer (Fasold 1980). Possible contributions from other languages are reversed "leave~let" from German (Adams 2002) and monophthongal /aw/ from contact between English and one or more Slavic languages (Johnstone 2002; Labov, Ash, and Boberg 2005), though these influences are openly posited as speculative.

Speakers of Pittsburgh English are sometimes called "Yinzers" in reference to their use of the 2nd-person plural pronoun Yinz, a feature that is likely more salient than many others because it has no equivalent in Standard American English. The feature has been interpreted as pejorative [ [http://pittsblog.blogspot.com/2006/02/what-do-you-call-steeler-fan.html] Discussion on the use of the term "Yinzer." Retrieved 04 April 2008.] , indicating a lack of sophistication.

The features described below have been documented in the speech of white Pittsburghers. With the exception of Eberhardt 2008, there is no published research to date on African American Pittsburghers’ speech. For each feature, examples and further explanation are provided when necessary, while approximate geographic distribution and origins are provided when possible.

Phonology

* IPA|/ɑ/~/ɔ/--> IPA|/ɔ/ merger (Kurath 1961; Gagnon 1999; Layton 1999; Johnstone, Bhasin, and Wittkofski 2002; Wisnosky 2003; Johnstone and Baumgardt 2004; Labov, Ash, and Boberg 2005; Johnstone, Andrus and Danielson 2006). :"Examples": "cot" and "caught" are pronounced IPA| [kɔt] ; "Don" and "dawn" are pronounced IPA| [dɔn] .

:"Further explanation": Speakers who use the IPA|/ɔ/ instead of the IPA|/ɑ/ sound round their lips and/or produce the vowel further towards the back of their mouths.

:"Geographic distribution": While the merger of these low back vowels is widespread in the United States, the phoneme that results from this merger is typically the more fronted and unrounded IPA|/ɑ/. In southwestern Pennysylvania, speakers display the less common realization of IPA|/ɔ/ (Johnstone, Bhasin and Wittkofski 2002; Johnstone and Baumgardt 2004; Labov, Ash, and Boberg 2005; Johnstone, Andrus and Danielson 2006).

*IPA|/aʊ/ monophthongization (Kurath 1961; Gagnon 1999; Layton 1999; McElhinny 1999; Johnstone, Bhasin, and Wittkofski 2002; Wisnosky 2003; Johnstone and Baumgardt 2004; Labov, Ash, and Boberg 2005; Johnstone, Andrus, and Danielson 2006).

:"Examples": "house" is pronounced IPA| [haːs] ; "out" is pronounced IPA| [aːt] ; "found" is pronounced IPA| [faːnd] ; "downtown" is pronounced IPA| [daːntaːn] .

:"Further explanation": The diphthong IPA|/aʊ/ becomes the monophthong IPA|/a/. The IPA|/a/ sound is often depicted orthographically as “ah.” The colon after the IPA|/a/ indicates that the vowel is long.

:"Geographic distribution": One of the few features, if not the only one, restricted near-exclusively to southwestern Pennsylvania (Johnstone, Bhasin and Wittkofski 2002; Johnstone and Baumgardt 2004; Labov, Ash, and Boberg 2005; Johnstone, Andrus, and Danielson 2006).

:"Origins": May be the result of contact from Slavic languages during the early twentieth century (Johnstone, Bhasin, and Wittkofski 2002; Labov, Ash and Boberg 2005).

* IPA|/ɑj/ monophthongization (Kurath 1961; Gagnon 1999; Layton 1999; McElhinny 1999; Johnstone, Bhasin, and Wittkofski 2002; Wisnosky 2003; Johnstone and Baumgardt 2004; Johnstone, Andrus and Danielson 2006).

:"Examples": "tile" is pronounced IPA| [tɑ:l] ; "pile" is pronounced IPA| [pɑ:l] ; "tire" is pronounced IPA| [tɑ:ɹ] ; "iron" is pronounced IPA| [ɑ:ɹn] .

:"Further explanation": Before IPA|/l/ and IPA|/ɹ/, the diphthong IPA|/ɑy/ (also transcribed as IPA|/ɑi/ or IPA|/ɑɪ/) is monophthongized to IPA|/ɑː/. The IPA|/ɑː/ is often depicted orthographically as “ah.” The colon after the IPA|/ɑ/ indicates that the vowel is long.

:"Geographic distribution": Southwestern Pennsylvania and elsewhere, including the southern states (see above citations).

* Epenthetic IPA|/ɹ/ (Layton 1999; McElhinny 1999; Johnstone, Bhasin, and Wittkofski 2002; Wisnosky 2003; Johnstone and Baumgardt 2004; Johnstone, Andrus, and Danielson 2006).

:"Example": "wash" is pronounced as IPA| [wɔɹʃ] .

:"Further explanation": Occurs after vowels in a small number of words. Sometimes also called “intrusive R.”

:"Geographic distribution": Southwestern Pennsylvania and elsewhere (see above citations).

*IPA|/i/~/ɪ/ and IPA|/u/~/ʊ/ tense-lax mergers (Brown 1982; Gagnon 1999; Layton 1999; McElhinny 1999; Johnstone, Bhasin and Wittkofski 2002; Wisnosky 2003; Johnstone and Baumgardt 2004; Labov, Ash, and Boberg 2005; Johnstone, Andrus, and Danielson 2006).

:"Examples": "steel" and "still" are pronounced IPA| [stɪl] ; "pool" and "pull" are pronounced IPA| [pʊl] .

:"Further explanation": Before the liquids IPA|/l/ and IPA|/ɹ/, the tense vowels IPA|/i/ and IPA|/u/ are laxed to IPA|/ɪ/ and IPA|/ʊ/, respectively. In standard American English, IPA|/i/ is the sound in "beet", IPA|/ɪ/ the sound in "bit", IPA|/u/ the sound in "food", and IPA|/ʊ/ the sound in "good". Finally, in contrast to the IPA|/i/~/ɪ/ merger, the IPA|/u/~/ʊ/ merger appears to be more advanced. On the IPA|/i/~/ɪ/ merger, Labov, Ash and Boberg (2005) note, "the stereotype of this merger is based only on a close approximation of some forms, and does not represent the underlying norms of the dialect."

:"Geographic distribution": The IPA|/i/~/ɪ/ merger is found in southwestern Pennsylvania (Brown 1982; Gagnon 1999; Layton 1999; Johnstone, Bhasin, and Wittkofski 2002; Wisnosky 2003; Johnstone and Baumgardt 2004; Johnstone, Andrus, and Danielson 2006) as well as parts of the southern United States, including Alabama, Texas and the west (McElhinny 1999; Labov, Ash, and Boberg 2005). On the other hand, the IPA|/u/~/ʊ/ is consistently found only in southwestern Pennsylvania (Labov, Ash, and Boberg 2005).

*IPA|/i/~/ɪ/ merger in "eagle" (Gagnon 1999; Johnstone, Bhasin and Wittkofski 2002; Wisnosky 2003; Johnstone and Baumgardt 2004).

:"Geographic distribution": Southwestern Pennsylvania (see above citations).

*IPA|/l/ vocalization (Hankey 1972; Layton 1999; McElhinny 1999; Johnstone, Bhasin, and Wittkofski 2002; Wisnosky 2003; Johnstone and Baumgardt 2004; Johnstone, Andrus, and Danielson 2006).

:"Examples": "well" is pronounced something like IPA| [wɛw] ; "milk" something like IPA| [mɪwk] or IPA| [mɛwk] ; "role" something like IPA| [ɹow] ; and "color" something like IPA| [kʌwɚ] .

:"Further explanation": When it occurs after vowels, IPA|/l/ is vocalized, or "labialized,” sometimes sounding like a IPA|/w/, or a cross between a vowel and a velarized (or “dark”) IPA|/l/.

:"Geographic distribution": Southwestern Pennsylvania (Hankey 1972; Layton 1999; McElhinny 1999; Johnstone, Bhasin, and Wittkofski 2002; Wisnosky 2003; Johnstone and Baumgardt 2004; Johnstone, Andrus, and Danielson 2006) and elsewhere, including many African American varieties (McElhinny 1999).

*IPA|/o/~/u/ and IPA|/ʊ/ merger (Labov, Ash, and Boberg 2005).

:"Examples": "Polish" is pronounced IPA| [pʊlish] [or IPA| [pʊwish] ; "cold" is pronounced IPA| [kʊld] or IPA| [kʊwd] .

:Further explanation: As the examples suggest, this merger only occurs when IPA|/o/ precedes IPA|/l/ (and possibly IPA|/r/) (McElhinney 1999).

*IPA|/ʌ/ lowering into IPA|/ɑ/~/ɔ/--> IPA|/ɔ/ merger (Thomas 2001).

:"Example": The words "mall" and "maul" are both pronounced as IPA|/mɔːl/ due to the IPA|/ɑ/~/ɔ/--> IPA|/ɔ/ merger, and the word "mull" is almost homophonous with these two, rather than sounding like the usual IPA|/mʌl/.

:"Further explanation": While the IPA|/ʌ/ sound may sometimes sound approximately like an IPA|/ɑ/ or IPA|/ɔ/, a listener could easily distinguish between the two words by noting the length of the vowel. Labov, Ash, and Boberg (2005) explain that the longest lowered IPA|/ʌ/ they encountered was shorter than the shortest monophthongized IPA|/ɑ/ they encountered. So, to speakers and listeners, the sounds are distinct.

:"Geographic distribution": Southwestern Pennsylvania (Labov, Ash, and Boberg 2005).

Vocabulary

*babushka "n." headscarf (Cassidy 1985). :"Further explanation": In Russian, the word can mean “grandmother.” It is also used to describe a type of headscarf.

:"Geographic distribution": Predominantly used in northeast U.S., Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan (see above citation). :"Origins": Russian (see above citation).

*(baby) buggy "n." baby carriage, or shopping cart.

:"Geographic distribution": Kurath (1949) mentions that speakers in a large portion of Pennsylvania use the term, but that it is “very common in the Pittsburgh area [,] … [in] the adjoining counties of Ohio and on the lower Kanawha.”

*the 'Burgh "n." Pittsburgh (Johnstone, Wittkofski and Bhasin 2002; Johnstone, Andrus and Danielson 2006).

:"Geographic distribution": Pittsburgh and surrounding areas (see above citations).

*carbon oil "n." kerosene (Kurath 1949).

:"Geographic distribution": From the western edge of the Alleghenies to beyond the Ohio line (see above citation).

*chipped ham "n." very thinly sliced chopped ham loaf for use on sandwiches (Johnstone, Bhasin and Wittkofski 2002; Johnstone and Baumgardt 2004; Johnstone, Andrus and Danielson 2006) (see Chip-Chopped Ham).

:"Example": “I'd like to have a chipped-ham sandwich.”

:"Geographic distribution": A trade-name specific to Pittsburgh and surrounding areas (see above citations).

*city chicken "n." cubes of pork loin and/or veal on a short wooden skewer which are breaded, then fried and/or baked.

:"Example": “We're having city chicken for dinner.”

:"Geographic distribution": Southwestern Pennsylvania and Northern West Virginia (see above citations).

:"Origins": Not entirely known, but rumored to have begun during the Depression Era, when people took meat scraps and fashioned a make-shift drumstick out of them.

*cruds, crudded milk, or cruddled milk "n." cottage cheese (Kurath 1949; Crozier 1984).

:"Geographic distribution": Kurath(1949) claims these forms are used from the western edge of the Alleghenies to beyond the Ohio line; and Crozier (1984) claims that they are restricted to southwestern Pennsylvania. :"Origins": Scots-Irish (Crozier 1984).

*dippy "adj." "anything you can dip something in—gravy, coffee, etc." (Cassidy and Hall 1991). A way of cooking something ~ "Make my eggs dippy" (overlight) or a person who is not intelligent "she is dippy" or "she is a real dip"

:"Example": “I like my eggs dippy.”

:"Geographic distribution": Pennsylvania (see above citation).

*grinnie "n." chipmunk (Kurath 1949).

:"Geographic distribution": From the western edge of the Alleghenies to beyond the Ohio line (see above author).

*gumband "n." rubber band (Cassidy and Hall 1991; Johnstone, Bhasin and Wittkofski 2002; Wisnosky 2003; Johnstone and Baumgadt 2004; Johnstone, Andrus and Danielson 2006).

:"Geographic distribution": Southwestern Pennsylvania (see above citations).

*hap "n." comfort (Maxfield 1931); comforter, quilt (Crozier 1984).

:"Examples": to mean "comfort," “He’s been in poor hap since his wife died” (Maxfield 1931); to mean "comforter, quilt," “It was cold last night but that hap kept me warm.”

:"Geographic distribution": "hap" is used for "comfort" in western Pennsylvania (Maxfield 1931); and a "quilt" is known as a "hap" only in western Pennsylvania (Crozier 1984).

*hoagie "n." a submarine sandwich (Cassidy and Hall 1991).

:"Geographic distribution": Used “chiefly in PA and NJ” but is “becoming more widely recognized” (see above citation or hoagie article).

*jag "v." prick, stab, jab (Cassidy and Hall 1996); tease (Johnstone, Andrus and Danielson 2006).

:"Further explanation": The form is often followed by "off" to mean "to annoy, irritate, play tricks on; to disparage; to reject," as well as "around" to mean "annoy, or tease." These phrases are probably influenced by "jack off" and "jack around", respectively (Cassidy and Hall 1986).

:"Geographic distribution": Chiefly Pennsylvania, especially southwestern Pennsylvania, but also portions of Appalachia (see above citations).

:"Origins": Scots-Irish (see above citations).

*jagger "n." any small, sharp-pointed object or implement (Cassidy and Hall 1996).

:"Further explanation": The word applies mainly to thorns and briars, and is used as an adjective to describe bushes with thorns or briars, as in a "jagger bush" (see above citation). or "I got a jagger in my finger"

:"Geographic distribution": Chiefly Pennsylvania (see above citation).

:"Origins": Scots-Irish (see above citation).

*kolbusy or kolbassi "n." sausage (Cassidy and Hall 1996).

:"Further explanation": Pronounced IPA| [kolbɑsi] or IPA| [kowbasi] ; is a variant of the more common pronunciation of "kielbasa", which is pronounced IPA| [kiəlbɑsə] or IPA| [kɪlbɑsə] .

:"Geographic distribution": Chiefly Pennsylvania (see above citation).

:"Origins": The OED (1991) lists "kolbasa" as a variable pronunciation of "kielbasa", and notes that the former pronunciation is Polish and the latter Russian.

*jumbo "n." bologna lunchmeat (Cassidy and Hall 1996; Johnstone, Bhasin and Wittkofski 2002; Wisnosky 2003; Johnstone and Baumgadt 2004, Johnstone, Andrus and Danielson 2006).

:"Geographic distribution": Southwestern Pennsylvania (see above citations).

*neb "v." "to put one's 'neb' [nose] into a discourse or argument intrusively or impertinently; to pry, to nose around; hence v. phr "neb out" to mind one's own business"; "n." busybody (Cassidy and Hall 1996).

:"Geographic distribution": Pennsylvania (see above citation).

*neb-nose or nebby-nose (also nebshit) "n." the kind of person who is always poking into peoples’ affairs (Cassidy and Hall 1996).

:"Geographic distribution": Chiefly Pennsylvania (see above citation).

*nebby "adj." given to prying into the affairs of others; nosy (McElhinny 1999; Johnstone, Bhasin and Wittkofski 2002; Wisnosky 2003; Johnstone and Baumgardt 2004, Johnstone, Andrus and Danielson 2006).

:"Geographic distribution": Pennsylvania, especially the southwest portion of the state (see above citations).

:"Origins": Scots-Irish (see above citations).

*pierogie (also pirogi, padogie, pirohi, or pirotti) "n." "a filled dumpling, usually boiled" (Hall 2002). Usually filled with mashed potatoes and cheese, boiled, and then fried in a pan with butter and onions.

:"Geographic distribution": Chiefly in Polish settlement areas such as Maine, New York, Connecticut; but especially Pennsylvania (see above citation).

*redd up (also ret, rid(d)) "v." "also with "out"; to tidy up, clean up, or out (a room, house, cupboard, etc.); to clean house, tidy up; hence v bl. "redding up" housecleaning; tidying up" (Hall 2002). Also see Dressman (1979); McElhinny (1999); Johnstone, Andrus and Danielson (2006).

:"Example": "Yinz better redd up this room."

:"Geographic distribution": Dressman (1979) notes that it is common to the Pittsburgh area and throughout Pennsylvania, but less so in Philadelphia. It is also scattered about New England States and in New Brunswick, though its occurrence is heaviest in Pennsylvania. Hall (2002) states that its distribution is “scattered, but chiefly N. Midland, esp PA.”

:"Origins": Scots-Irish (Dressman 1979).

*slippy "adj." slippery (McElhinny 1999; Johnstone, Bhasin and Wittkofski 2002; Wisnosky 2003; Johnstone and Baumgardt 2004; Johnstone, Andrus and Danielson 2006).

:"Example": "Be careful going down those steps because they’re real slippy."

:"Geographic distribution": Southwestern Pennsylvania (see above citations).

:"Origins": Scots-Irish (Johnstone, Bhasin and Wittkofski 2002; Johnstone and Baumgardt 2004; Johnstone, Andrus and Danielson 2006).

*"punctual" "whenever" "sub. conj." "at the time that" (Montgomery 2001).

:"Example": "My mother, whenever she passed away, she had pneumonia."

:"Further explanation": "punctual" descriptor refers to the use of the word for "a onetime momentary event rather than in its two common uses for a recurrent event or a conditional one" (see above citation).

:"Geographic distribution": In the Midlands and the South (see above citation).

:"Origins": Scots-Irish (see above citation).

Grammar

*"positive" "anymore" adv. these days; nowadays (Montgomery 1989; McElhinny 1999; Montgomery 1999)

:"Example": "It seems I always wear these shoes anymore."

:"Further explanation": While in Standard English "anymore" must be used as a negative polarity item (NPI), some speakers in Pittsburgh and throughout the Midland area do not have this restriction. When not used as an NPI, "anymore" means something like "these days."

:"Geographic Distribution": Midlands (Montgomery 1989).

:"Origins": Likely Scots-Irish (Montgomery 1999).

*Reversed "leave~let" usage (Maxfield 1931; Adams 2000; Johnstone, Bhasin and Wittkofski 2002; Wisnosky 2003; Johnstone and Baumgardt 2004; Johnstone, Andrus and Danielson 2006).

:"Examples": "Leave him go outside”; “Let the book on the table.”

:"Further explanation": "Leave" is used in some contexts in which, in standard English, "let" would be used; and vice versa.

:"Geographical distribution": Southwestern Pennsylvania and elsewhere (see above citations).

:"Origins": Either Pennsylvania German or Scots-Irish (Adams 2000).

*"like", "need", or "want" + past participle (Murray, Frazer and Simon 1996; Tenny 1998; McElhinny 1999; Murray and Simon 1999; Montgomery 2001; Johnstone, Bhasin and Wittkofski 2002; Murray and Simon 2002; Wisnosky 2003; Johnstone and Baumgardt 2004; Johnstone, Andrus and Danielson 2006).

:"Examples": “Babies like cuddled”; “The car needs washed”; “The cat wants petted.”

:"Further explanation": More common constructions are “Babies like cuddling” or “Babies like to be cuddled”; “”The car needs washing” or “The car needs to be washed”; and “The cat wants petting” or “The cat wants to be petted.”

:"Geographic distribution": Found predominantly in the North Midland region, but especially in southwestern Pennsylvania (Murray, Frazer and Simon 1996; Murray and Simon 1999; Murray and Simon 2002). "Need" + past participle is the most common construction, followed by "want" + past participle, and then "like" + past participle. The forms are "implicationally related" to one another (Murray and Simon 2002). This means the existence of one construction in a given location entails the existence (or not) of another in that location. Here’s the implicational breakdown: where we find "like" + past participle, we will also necessarily find "want" and "need" + past participle; where we find "want" + past participle, we will also find "need" + past participle, but we may or may not find "like" + past participle; where we find "need" + past participle, we may or may not find "want" + past participle and "like" + past participle. Put another way, the existence of the least common construction implies the necessary existence of the two more common constructions, but the existence of the most common construction does not necessarily entail existence of the two less common constructions.

:"Origins": "like" + past participle is Scots-Irish (Murray and Simon 2002). "need" + past participle is Scots-Irish (Murray, Frazer, and Simon 1996; Murray and Simon 1999; Montgomery 2001; Murray and Simon 2002). While Adams (2002) argues that "want" + past participle could be from Scots-Irish or German, it seems likely that this construction is Scots-Irish, as Murray and Simon (1999 and 2002) claim. "like" and "need" + past participle are Scots-Irish, the distributions of all three constructions are implicationally related, the area where they are predominantly found is most heavily influenced by Scots-Irish, and a related construction, "want" + directional adverb, as in “The cat wants out,” is Scots-Irish (Crozier 1984).

*yins, yinz, yunz, you'uns, or youns "pr." Second person plural (Crozier 1984; McElhinny 1999; Johnstone, Bhasin and Wittkofski 2002; Wisnosky 2003; Johnstone and Baumgardt 2004; Johnstone, Andrus and Danielson 2006).

:"Geographic distribution": Southwestern Pennsylvania and elsewhere in Appalachia (see above citations).

:"Further explanation": See yinz article.

:"Origins": Along with the "yous" of New Jersey and the "y'all" of the South, "yinz" is Scots-Irish (Crozier 1984; Montgomery 2001).

Discourse and intonation

*n'at a "general extender" (McElhinny 1999; Johnstone, Bhasin and Wittkofski 2002; Wisnosky 2003; Johnstone and Baumgardt 2004; Johnstone, Andrus and Danielson 2006).

:"Example": "We bought a notebook and some pencils n’at."

:"Further explanation": Reduction of "and that", which can mean "along with some other stuff," "the previous was just an example of more general case," or (at least in Glasgow, Scotland) something like "I know this isn’t stated as clearly as it might be, but you know what I mean."

:"Geographic distribution": Southwestern Pennsylvania (see above citations).

:"Origins": Possibly Scots-Irish. Macaulay (1995) finds it in the regular speech and narratives of Scottish coal miners in Glasgow, a principal area from which Scottish settlers emigrated to Northern Ireland, and from there, to the American colonies.

*Falling intonation at the end of questions (Maxfield 1931; Fasold 1980; Layton 1999; Johnstone, Bhasin and Wittkofski 2002; Wisnosky 2003; Johnstone and Baumgardt 2004; Johnstone, Andrus, and Danielson 2006).

:"Example": "Are you painting your garage?" (with pitch rising in intonation up to just before the last syllable and then falling precipitously).

:"Further explanation": Speakers who use this intonation pattern do not do so categorically, but instead also end many questions with a rising pitch (Fasold 1980). Such speakers typically use falling pitch for yes/no questions for which they already are quite sure of the answer. So, a speaker uttering the above example is simply confirming what they think they already know, that yes, the person they’re talking to is painting his/her garage.

:"Geographical distribution": Most common in areas of heavy German settlement, especially southeastern Pennsylvania (Fasold 1980) —hence its nickname, the "Pennsylvania Dutch question"—but also found elsewhere in Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh (Maxfield 1931; Fasold 1980; Layton 1999; Johnstone, Bhasin and Wittkofski 2002; Wisnosky 2003; Johnstone and Baumgardt 2004; Johnstone, Andrus and Danielson 2006).

:"Origins": German (Fasold 1980).

See also

* Pennsylvania Dutch English

References


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#Simpson, J.A. and E.S.C. Weiner, Eds. (1991). Compact Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd Ed. Cambridge: Oxford UP.
#Tenny, C. (1998). Psych verbs and verbal passives in Pittsburghese. Linguistics 36: 591-597.
#Thomas, E. (2001). An acoustic analysis of vowel variation in New World English. Durham, Duke UP.
#Wisnosky, M. (2003). ‘Pittsburghese’ in Pittsburgh humor. Master’s thesis in Linguistics. Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh.

External links

* [http://english.cmu.edu/pittsburghspeech/ Pittsburgh Speech and Society] A site for non-linguists, created by Carnegie Mellon University linguist Barbara Johnstone.
* [http://www.pittsburghese.com Pittsburghese] A site made for laughs, mostly
* [http://ltc.clarion.edu/surveys/dialect/WestPennDial_2001.asp Western Pennsylvania Dialect Survey] , Clarion University of Pennsylvania
* [http://travel2.nytimes.com/2006/03/17/travel/escapes/17accent.html Pittsburgh is the Galapagos Islands of American dialect] , New York Times article, March 17, 2006
* [http://www.pbs.org/speak/seatosea/americanvarieties/pittsburghese/ American Varieties: Steel Town Speak] , part of PBS's "Do You Speak American?"


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