Monday, September 19, 2005

You can take the filly outta Philly...

I was born just outside (of) Philadelphia, moved to Virginia when I was 9, then went back to the Philadelphia area for college before moving to Baltimore at 23. I never knew how much the City of Brotherly Love had infested my speech until a few days ago.

I wrote a line of dialogue in my manuscript where one character asked another
Are you done your chores yet?
Two readers marked it as a typo ("you forgot the word with"), but a third pegged it as a Philadephia-ism. She mentioned that her students would say, "I'm done my homework" instead of "I'm done with my homework," or "I've done my homework."

While I knew that it wasn't grammatically correct, I never thought of "done my chores" as a regional idiom. I thought everyone said it. "I'm done with my chores" sounds awkward and pretentious. Why waste all that time with an extra word?
"Jeet yet?"
"Naw, I'm still hungry."


I wouldn't have seen it as a typo either; I had to blink once or twice here to see what you meant. Lived in the Philly metro area all my life, I have. And I'm sure I've asked my daughter, "Are you done your homework yet?"

Posted by: Blogger Sharon GR at 9/19/2005 10:53 AM

Do you like scrapple, too?

Jim Young

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 9/19/2005 12:10 PM

Before I was a vegetarian, scrapple was a neutral food for me. I could take it or leave it. Hey, Morningstar Famrs should make a veggie scrapple to go with their bacon and sausage! I would totally eat that.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 9/19/2005 1:12 PM

I've noticed these things hitting me a little here and there now tht I've been living in Mercer County (borderline Philly metro) and being married to a Philly metro girl.

Being from more the NY area I never, ever could understand "water ice" though. Italian ice makes sense - it's descriptive of the type of ice it is, but WATER ice? I'm baffled. It'll always be Italian ice for me...


Posted by: Blogger Rob at 9/19/2005 1:19 PM

Here in B'more they're called "snowballs," which now unfortunately makes me think of Clerks. They have a softer texture than Italian ices (more like snow, hey!).

But yeah, "water ice," that's just goofy. As oppposed to the popular refreshing dessert, "nitrogen ice"?

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 9/19/2005 1:34 PM

Yo, it's wodder and it's ice. You wanna make somthin' of that?

Sout Filly Cecilia

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 9/19/2005 1:43 PM

wudder ice it is.

Posted by: Blogger Rob S. at 9/19/2005 1:58 PM

Well, since we're getting into it, why not open the old sub/hoagie debate.

Well, at least we can all agree that carbonated beverages are called soda, not pop.

Posted by: Blogger Andrew at 9/19/2005 2:23 PM

Whenever this kind of thing comes up, I always throw up a link to the Dialect Survey. It is a neat, intriguing study of both dialect and slang around the US. See it here: Dialect Survey.


Posted by: Blogger Rob at 9/19/2005 3:45 PM

It's a hoagie. Anyone who says otherwise is delusional. (Clearly, my wife is delusional.. she married me, didn't she?)

Posted by: Blogger Rob S. at 9/19/2005 4:38 PM

I vote hoagie, with a question. Is it only a hoagie when it's a traditional Italian hoagie (pastrami, salami, provolone, etc) or is there such a thing as a turkey hoagie or veggie hoagie? What makes it a hoagie, the roll or what goes on the roll?

Personally, I'm willing to allow the "turkey sub." But "grinder" is way out of the question.

Whoever said blogs couldn't engender deep philosophical discussions?

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 9/19/2005 5:30 PM

PASTRAMI in an Italian hoagie! I think not. Try cappacola and proscuitto. And drop the end vowels when you say the words.

South Filly Cecilia

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 9/19/2005 9:41 PM

Sorry, it's all pig to me.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 9/20/2005 7:34 AM

Italian hoagie = Ham, salami (or capicola), provolone, lettuce, tomato, onion, oil and vinegar.

Pastrami on any hoagie? Never. I always thought pastrami was beef - a cousin to corned beef. At least, in my Jewish family I'm sure it was.

Now I'm craving a kosher deli tongue sandwich. Damn.


Posted by: Blogger Rob at 9/20/2005 9:16 AM

Thanks for enlightening this vegetarian on what the hell pastrami is and whether it belongs on a hoagie. It's good to know for research purposes, if nothing else.

I still haven't heard the answer on what makes a hoagie a hoagie--the roll or the contents. Turkey hoagie or turkey sub, people?

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 9/20/2005 9:57 AM

Well, northeastern Jerseyites would say, "Have ya done your chores yet?"

And nope I wouldn't peg a single thing as a Philly-ism, since I grew up a stone's throw from NYC. Well, two stones throw. Basically, north Jersey looks at south Jersey as a different animal. Philly is a different country.

Water ice? That is just plain bizarre.

And we refer to the sandwiches as "subs."


Don't eat scrapple or drink Snapple.

Terri (who does not pronounce the last vowel in provolone, or capicola as is done in the southern Italian dialect aka south of Roma.)

Posted by: Blogger moonhart at 9/20/2005 10:21 AM

Let's settle this once and for all. A real hoagie (named derived from Hog Island in Sout Filly) is made with Italian lunch maets as defined above, on a good, crisp Italian (not French) roll, garnishes with a dressing of olove oil, a sprinkle of oregano (the only time I use it), perhaps parsley. Sweet or hot peppers on or on the side are optional.

Sount Filly Cecilia

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 9/20/2005 11:46 AM

So then anything else is a sub. What's the controversy?

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 9/20/2005 12:28 PM

Oh and Moonhart - there's another debate - the North/Central/South Jersey thing. For North Jerseyans - South is anything south of like Monmouth County - aka Pt. Pleasant. But for Central Jerseyans like myself - in the Princeton Trenton area- South is like Cherry Hill. For Cherry Hill folks - it's AC and Vineland.

Posted by: Blogger Rob at 9/20/2005 2:56 PM

I live halfway between AC and Philly and work in Bridgeton. I'm looking up at all of ya. It's been a hard transition, calling them subs for the first 29.5 years of my life before moving to Hoagieville. Where in the US do they call them heroes? Also, I can't get used to this "Downa shore" thing. To me, we still go "Downy ocean."

Posted by: Blogger PapaGoose at 9/21/2005 3:52 PM

Rob, as a Bergen County girl, once you cross the Raritan are in south Jersey.


So says Terri alum of Rutgers Newark (though we pornounce it NORK)


And Cecelia is right. It's gotta have oregano. Tomato salad needs oregano, too.

Oh, and Jerseyites don't go to the beach. New Yorkers do that. We go to the "shore."



Posted by: Blogger moonhart at 9/21/2005 4:28 PM

Forget the hoagie, gimme a genuine Philly Cheese Steak, dammit!

Posted by: Blogger Mark at 9/23/2005 6:05 AM

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