Friday, September 23, 2005


After doing the place meme the other day, I remembered that I've been meaning to do "a unique things about Pittsburgh" blog entry for a while now. Hopefully I can clarify some of the confusion. (Not likely... heh.)


The "Pittsburgh left" – If you are the first driver making a left turn at an intersection which has no turning arrow, the oncoming traffic will wait for you to go through before they do. Only the first car, mind you. Second driver has to wait until the end. But it's standard operating procedure in my hometown. It wasn't until I went away to college that I discovered that not everyone thinks it's normal.


Steak salad – an Eat'N'Park staple – kind of like a chef's salad, but with thin sliced steak, French fries, and melted cheese.

"O" fries are from the Original, a greasy corner joint in Oakland (the hospital and college district) that serves huge orders of french fries... the best you've ever had. They also serve other kinds of food, but I've only ever seen people get the fries.

Primanti Brothers is another Pittsburgh classic. Of course, don't be fooled by the spelling. It's pronounced "Permanni Bruhers" or simply, "Permanni's". At Primanti's the sandwiches are served with cole slaw and French fries... between the bread, not on the side.

Most people have at least one Polish and/or German grandparent, so kolbasi (kolbassa) and sauerkraut are common and tasty. So are the pierogies. Yum.

Hoagies... subs... grinders... all the same thing.

Jumbo = bologna

And yes, we always had chipped ham in the fridge when I was growing up. Is this really not a common food item? It's just very, very thinly sliced ham.

Arn = Iron , as in the ever-present Iron City beer. To my knowledge, I have never consumed one.

And food shoppin... also known as grocery shopping, is done at Jine Iggle, also known as Giant Eagle – the local chain of food stores.


Jay can't stand it because he says it makes people sound so stupid. But I like to think of it more like a secret code that only the members can understand and recreate.

Here we see:

'N'at – short for "and that" or "and that sort of thing" This can be added to almost any statement. Try it.

Yins – a truly horrid expression which is a contraction of the equally bad "you... ones?". Alternate pronunciation is "yunz" and can be heard in such phrases as "Yins guyz goen dahntahn t'night?

Turbl Tahl – the true pronunciation of "Terrible Towel".

Gumband – a rubber band, or a hairband as used for a ponytail.

Slippy – slippery

Crick – creek

Red up – to "Ready up" or to clean up.

Jaggerbush – umm... it's a jaggerbush. A bush with prickers on it. Thorns. Whathaveyou.

Jaggoff – a jerk – someone who is jacking off instead of doing what they should.

Ahia – Ohio

You guyses – your. Example: Can I borrow you guyses truck?

still mill – steel mill

Zillionopal – Zelienople, PA

'Sliberty, E-sliberty, or Wesliberty. – East Liberty and West Liberty, neighborhoods of Pittsburgh. Pronunciation depends on how lazy the speaker really is.

'Hilinpark' – Highland Park

The Point – the land at the confluence where the Allegheny and Monongahela join to become the Ohio.

You think I'm joking?

There are millions more. The general accent is just super lazy speech – no dipthongs, no hard consonants in the middle of words, the less one has to open one's mouth or move one's lips, the better. (color --> keller. Sewer --> sore. House --> haas.)

And we Pittsburgh natives take an odd pride in our linguistic quirks. There's many websites dedicated (or not so dedicated) to the exploration of the phenomenon.

Maybe I'll set my first non-fantasy novel there... certainly wouldn't lack for "keller".

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