“Yinz gotta be loose to rilly speak Pittsburghese.” reads a funny little tid bit from Pittsburghese.com. While trying to come up with an idea for a blog post this week, I realized that I never truly wrote about the bizarre form of English we have here in the city of Pittsburgh. Now, many of you who visit this blog live all across America (side note: I can’t believe this blog became that popular. WHOA!) and have stated that you are curious about this whole Pittsburghese thing. Ladies and gentlemen, this blog post may not have much to do with your training or your diet, but it WILL have everything to do with Pittsburgh. Welcome to your crash course in Pittsburghese. And seriously, yinz ain’t seen nothing yet!
AH! Fabulous! Let’s talk about the most common word used in Pittsburgh. “Yinz”. The word “yinz”is used to refer to a a set number of two or more people gathered together. You can use the term “yinz” like this: “Where are yinz going later?” or “Yinz guys want to do out to dinner?” or the ever famous “Yinz ain’t seen nothing yet!” used frequently on this blog. A variation of the wrod “yinz” is the word “yunz”. It is used exactly the same way as “yinz”. You can use “yunz” or “yinz” depending on your personal preference. The other day I heard a fellow Burgher use the term “yunz” like this: “Yunz people are blocking this here escalator and I’m already late to work!” (this phrase came from an incredibly irritated man who was rushed to get to his job on time at 8:30 a.m. Pittsburgher’s are short tempered, especially when they are pressed for time. Do yourself a favor if you ever visit this city. MOVE OUT OF THE WAY if someone is hurrying to work! I mean it!)
Now, there is another variation of the noun “yinz” that is used to identity a single person. That word is the word”yinzer”. Now, I have used this term very loosely on this blog. What you all need to understand about the term “yinzer” is that it is an INCREDIBLY DERRAGATORY WORD. I repeat. The word “yinzer” is an INCREDIBLY DERRAGATORY WORD! Got it? GOOD! This term is used to describe a stereotypical resident of Pittsburgh. A die hard yinzer is someone who has grown up in or slightly around the City of Pittsburgh who is dedicated to every Pittsburgh Sport imaginable, most notably the Pittsburgh Steelers (pronounced “Stillers” in the city) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (referred to as “Da Pens” in Pittsburghese). A yinzer is also someone who speaks with a HEAVY Pittsburghese accent and is often referred to someone who is ill-educated because they speak with a HEAVY Pittsburghese accent (which really, you’d have to experience for yourself. The accents we have are truly odd here in the city. Come visit and you’ll understand what I’m talking about). In all honesty, if you speak a lot of Pittsburghese, you sound pretty …well…dumb. I can’t sugar-coat it. Finally, yinzers are often known for their consumption of Primanti’s sandwiches (by the way, “sandwich” is pronounced “sammitch” in Pittsburgh) as well as their consumption of Iron City Beer. If you were to travel to Pittsburgh as a foreigner and refer to someone as a yinzer, I can guarantee you that you will A) get a TON of dirty looks and B) get your butt kicked in public. DO NOT CALL ANYONE A YINZER EVER if you are not from Pittsburgh. It is a term only to be used by those of us who live in this city. On that note, some of you online have referred to me as a yinzer, and I DO take offense to that reference. I may have my moments where Pittsburghese slips out, but I consider myself to be someone who is quite intelligent and someone who takes her health seriously. I am not a yinzer. I am a burgher. And that’s real talk, ya heard?
OH! Here we go again! “Real Talk” is a common phrase used in Pittsburgh. Now, the phrase”real talk” is actually more along the lines of what I like to call “Pittsburgh inner city slang”, but it’s a fun phrase to throw in your sentences. “Real Talk” translates to “that’s the truth” or “I agree”. Here’s a few sentences I came up with in Pittsburghese using the phrase “real talk” with their proper English translation below them.
Pittsburghese: “Yinz best be swingin’ kettlebells to increase yer endurance. And that’s real talk, ya heard?”
Proper English Translation: You should swing kettlebells to increase your endurance. That’s the truth!
Pittsburghese (conversation style):”Burpees are da best for de-stressin.'” “Real talk!”
Proper English Translation (conversation style): “Doing burpees can be a great way to burn off excess stress.” “I agree!”
You get the picture.
Finally, I want to give you a handful of six words/phrases you will hear frequently if you ever come up to visit this city. I will list them below.
1. “Downtown” is pronounced “Dahn Tahn”.
2. My neighborhood of the South Side is pronounced “Sah Side”.
3. The word “iron” is pronounced “ahrn”.
4. The phrase “n’at” is used to abbreviate “and that”, though no one in this city really knows why “and that” is a phrase in the first place nor why it needs abbreviated. Here’s an example of how to use this phrase with it’s translation.
Pittsburghese: “Are yunz bored? Why don’t ya swing som ahrn n’at?”
Translation: “Are you all bored? Why don’t you swing some iron kettlebells and that.” (side note: I understand that this is a terrible way to speak english, but if you ever visit Pittsburgh, you WILL hear people speak in this manner).
5. People do not “wash” their car. People “worsh” their car.
Throwing what we’ve all learned together, here’s a paragraph in Pittsburghese with it’s proper (or somewhat proper) English translation.
Pittsburghese: “I gotta head Dahn Tahn today to git ma car worshed since these Jagoffs here is Sah Side decided to shut down the shops. Hate to say it, but these guys are yinzers and I’m sure they kicked back too much ahrn City last night at Primanti’s. Now I’m not one to drink much anymore, but I must say I’ll be swingin’ some ahrn n’at once I git back and finish up a blog for yunz. And that’s real talk, ya heard?”
Translation: I have to travel Down Town today so I can have my car washed since these jerks/*explicit deleted* in the South Side decided not to open up their autobody shops. I don’t want to admit this, but I know that these people are sterotypical yinzers who probably consumed too much Iron City Beer last night at Primanti Brothers. I don’t really drink anymore, but I do know that I will be in the mood to swing some kettlebells once I return home and finish writing a blog post for you all to read. That’s the truth!
By the way “Swing Some Ahrn N’At” is now a new Primalburgher.com t-shirt. Get yours here!
For more on Pittsburghese, please visit http://www.pittsburghese.com/ That’s it for me today! Remember to eat smart, train hard, and enjoy your life!
This blog post is dedicated to my friend and co-worker Lyn, who understands my love-hate relationship with this crazy langauge we speak in Pittsburgh. Lyn, thank you for always making me smile and for encouraging me to live life to the fullest!