Pittsburghese

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The 77th Major League Baseball All-Star Game is quickly approaching. This year's July 11th battle of the bats is taking place in Pittsburgh, PA -- home of the recently crowned Super Bowl champion Steelers. And while the game might be overshadowed this year by the World Cup, some of us hard-core baseball fans are excited to make the trip out to Pittsburgh, if only to see the 446 bridges the city boasts (more than Venice, Italy), the most of any city in the world.

But that's not all Pittsburgh has. They've also got their own dialect called "Pittsburghese." Born out of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when large amounts of Slavic and Scotch-Irish immigrants went to work in the booming steel industry, the English language went through a funny makeover.

For instance, here's an example of what JFK would have sounded like, were he raised in "the 'Burgh":

"Ask not wah yinzes country can do fer you n'at. Ask wah yinz can do fer yinzes country."

According to Pittsburghese.com:

Pittsburghese is the unofficial language of the Steel City. From da Sahside to Sliberty, you can find Picksburghers speaking just like this. Every tahn has its own flavor, and this is just one of ours. So if you are planning to visit Dahntahn or just catch a Stillers game we suggest you learn the language of the 'Burgh.

They're quite serious, as it turns out. Don't believe me? Check out their nifty little translator page, where you can type in any phrase you'd like and have it spit back atchya in the local dialect.

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June 21, 2006 - 11:33am
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