Thursday, September 9, 2010

Random Acts of Thursday - To Be or Not To Be

Wait, what was the question?

Growing up in Milwaukee as I did, there were certain 'regionalisms' that I knew early on would have people looking sideways at me, should I say them outside of the metro area.  'Bubbler', for example, instead of 'drinking fountain'.  I knew that anyone outside of my geographic circle was probably going to use the term 'pop' instead of 'soda', and when I went to school in Texas, the correct term was 'coke' (much like 'kleenex' instead of 'facial tissue', I'm sure.)  My family lived on the city's northwest side, so we didn't pick up any of the Ya dere hey's, y'know's and ain'a's more prevalent in the sout' sider's vocabulary.

When we moved to Florida, I didn't catch too much of this. Since so many of my co-workers were from other places as well (including other countries, not just other states), it was hard to pick up any patterns.

However, now that we're Clevelanders, I've noticed a recurring theme that I can only assume is regional: dropping 'to be' from sentences.  Instead of 'That tree needs to be chopped down', I hear 'That tree needs chopped down.'  I've noticed it very specifically following (or not following) the word 'needs', and don't know if they're actually missing 'to be' or just having tense issues with their subsequent verb. 

This bothers me grammatically more than people who use 'seen' instead of 'saw' (though the day someone says 'I SEED [insert what they saw here]' my head will explode), more than people who say 'fixin ta', and despite my personal mastery of the profane arts in the privacy of my own car, this almost bothers me more than people who work profanity into sentences where it has no right to be.

It even bothers me more than ending a sentence in a preposition.

What colloquialisms, slang terms, or mannerisms are part and parcel of your little slice of geography?


Bev said...

Oh yeah, that would irk me too. "Needs cut down?" WTF?

Though I have to say that I delight in working a good swear word into a perfectly good fucking sentence now and then.

Around here, it's more about the accent than the grammar. You've all heard the old "Pahk the cah in Hahvahd yahd" thing, I'm sure, and it's alive & well even in southern NH, not just Mass. One pronunciation that bothers me a lot is instead of "drawer" they say, "draw."

Rich Girl Red said...

Bev, drawers as in a chester? You know, a chester drawers? Drives me nuts! When I visited NH and MA I loved hearing "wicked pissah." Cracked me the hell up.

I could write a book on the speech and diction issues around here. "We went and seen the movie" is one of my favorites. Went and seen. Nice.

Elliott, I've always used the word "coke" like it's generic. There's orange coke, grape coke, etc. I grew up calling it "co-cola" and still do at times.

MJenks said...

I think that's a south-side of the Great Lakes thing. My parents talk that all the time.

There is nothing wrong with a ending a sentence with a preposition. It was some asshole's drive to push English grammar into Latin syntax. It's also perfectly fine to profanely split infinitives...another rule forced on English for all the wrong fucking reasons.

Nej said...

I work with a chick from Ohio. Not sure this is an Ohio thing....but that's what I'll blame it on for now. (giggle)

"Can I speak to you concerning with the report I sent yesterday?"

"I sent an email concerning with the problem in production."

(beating my head against the wall just thinking about it)

Be nice and share!

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