Yvette Seifert Hirth
"Dis, dat, and de uddah"


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How To Talk Like A Chicagoan

okay I know all of youse - my buds in other states - will vouch for me on some of these.

have your laughs now hahahahaha
  • Grachki (grach'-key) is Chicagoese for "Garage Key" as in, "Yo, Theresa, waja do wit da grachki? Howmy supposta cut da grass if don't git intada grach?'
  • Uptahdahendahdah (up-ta-da-en'-dada) as in, "Joey, you kin ride yer bike uptahdahendahdah alley but not acrost or I'll bust yur butt..."
  • Dis here and Dat dere are how many Chicagoans say, "this" or "that".  ya needs a "here" (and of course change the "th" to "d") or it ain't Chicagoan.
  • Sammich.  Chicagoese for sandwich. When made with sausage, it's a SAHssage sammich; with shredded beef, it's an Italian beef sammich, a local delicacy consisting of piles of spicy meat in a perilously soggy bun.
  • Da.  The definite article is a key part of Chicago speech, as in "da tree bears" or "da Mare" -- the latter denoting, for as long as he wants it to, Richard M. Daley, or Richie, as he's often known. (My note: King Richard was the nickname assigned to Richie's father, the first Mayor Daley)
  • Jewels.  Not family heirlooms or a tender body region, but a popular appellation for one of the region's dominant grocery chains, to wit, "I'm goin' to da Jewels to pick up some SAHssage." As in most Chicago pluralizations, the "S" is pronounced with a hissing sound, rather than the usual "Z" sound of American pluralization.
  • Field's:  Marshall Field, a prominent Chicago department store.  Also Carson Pirie Scott, a major department store chain, is called "Carson's," etc., Boston Store, Hudson's...
  • Tree.  The number between two and four. "We were lucky dat we only got tree inches of snow da udder night."
  • Prairie.  A vacant lot, especially one on which weeds are growing.
  • Over by dere. i.e. "over by there," a local way of emphasizing a site presumed familiar to the listener. As in, "I got the SAHssage at da Jewels down on Kedzie, over by dere."
  • KaminskiPark.  Perhaps the high concentration of ethnic Poles makes people want the White Sox to be playing in this mythical ballpark, rather than in their true home, Comiskey Park.
  • Frunchroom as in, "Getottada frunchroom wit dose muddy shoes."  It's not the "parlor." It's not the "living room." In the land of the bungalow, it's the "frunchroom," a named derived, linguists believe, from "front room."
  • youse.  Not the verb but the plural pronoun "you". "Wherer youse goin'?"
  • Downtown.  Anywhere south of the zoo and north of Soldier Field near the lake.
  • BoysTown:  A section on Halsted Ave., between Belmont and Addison, which is lined with gay bars on the west and east sides of the street.  "Didn't I see uze in Boystown in front of da Manhole?"
  • Braht:  Short for Bratwurst. "gimme a braht wit kraut."
  • Cashbox:  Traffic reporter slang for tollbooths.  "Dere's a delay at da cashbox on da Skyway."
  • Goes:  Past or present tense of the verb "say."  For example, "Den he goes, 'I like this place'!"
  • Guys:  Used when addressing two or more people, regardless of each individual's gender.
  • Pop:  A soft drink.  Don't say "soda" in this town.  "What kinda pop you got?"
  • Sliders:  Nickname for hamburgers from White Castle, a popular Midwestern burger chain "Dose sliders I had last night gave me da runs."
  • The Taste:  The annual Taste of Chicago Festival, a huge extravaganza in Grant Park featuring samples of Chicagoland's fine cuisine.  Takes place around and before the Fourth of July holiday.
  • "Jieetyet":  this is used to ask "did you eat yet"?
  • Winter and Construction:  Punch-line to the joke, "What are the two seasons in Chicago?"



Copyright / Marque Déposée  2014/11/01@08:31:00 PDT, Yvette Seifert Hirth
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