How to talk Like a Fishtowner

dan's picture

[This is my first draft of something I want to make a permanent part of the website. Please help add to it!]

-------------------------------------------------

We Fishtowners speak standard English with a Philadelphia attitude.
However, there's a few things you should know to communicate around here...

STREET NAME PRONUNCIATIONS
Girard = Gee-rod or Gee-rahd
Almond = Al-mand or sometimes Ammind (rhymes with "wind", meaning "blowing air")
Salmond = Saaal-min (where the a is pronounced as in "hat")

NAMES OF VARIOUS THINGS
dirtball = an insulting name for someone. a strong negative, although not necessarily implying actual dirtiness
shed = a back porch closed in to make a room or rooms
pavement (often pronounced "payment") = sidewalk
culvert (often pronounce "colbert") = sewer entrance
cellar = basement
radio ball = water ice with ice cream in the center (sometimes called "gelati" in other parts of Philadelphia - not to be confused with actual gelati)
The Swimmo = the public swimming pool at the Fishtown Rec Center
The Cemo = the cemetary = Palmer Cemetary
Kenzo = a person from Kensington (or to say that someone was like a person from Kensington, and meant as an insult)
Dingus Day = a Polish holiday celebrated on Easter Monday in which the goal is for boys to flirtatiously soak girls with water, and in which girls got their revenge the next day by throwing dishes and pottery at the boys. Locally, the tradition has evolved that anyone soaks anyone on Monday.

SOMETIMES THE OLD NAME JUST STICKS
Newt's = Shissler's (the rec center)
The IGA = the grocery store at the corner of Dauphin & Frankford, no matter what its current name is

COLLOQUIALISMS
"basket of cheer" = a basket of alcohol, usually being raffled off as a fundraiser
"half hit in the a**" = drunk (apparently "hit in the a**" means passed out drunk)
"knock for" = to knock on someone's door and ask for them to come out

USAGE

'take' often is used instead of 'have', as in:
"take a stroke" = "have a stroke"
"take a seizure" = "have a seizure"

AM's picture

How to talk Like a Fishtowner

Palmer Cemetary - "The Cemo" (pronounced semo)

GuessWho's picture

How to talk Like a Fishtowner

radio ball = water ice ("wodder-ice") w/ ice cream in the center.

commonly referred to by the rest of philadelphia - particularly south phila - as "gelato" or "gelati".

in reality, gelati / gelato, is Italian ice cream and is now more commonly recognized for what it is: better than normal ice cream kept at a less frigid temp. to maintain it's creamy texture.

GuessWho's picture

How to talk Like a Fishtowner

Dingus / Dinghus / Dyngus Day. I thought it was the day b4 memorial or labor day but the link below says the day after easter.
in my 'hood, kids had water balloon fights in the street and hoses were not uncommon.
This is a take-off on a polish tradition & was probably more common in port richmond...Polish Cowboy - whaddaya say???

http://www.holidayinsights.com/other/dyngusday.htm

GuessWho's picture

How to talk Like a Fishtowner

Pocketbook = handbag or purse.

Hannibal's picture

This one is classic

Instead of Sir or Mr. you use.... b1tch @ss white Boy.
At least that's what the seven year olds in my neighbor hood refer to me as when they are admiring my dog.

plaidpony's picture

How to talk Like a Fishtowner

[quote="GuessWho"]Pocketbook = handbag or purse.[/quote]
I've heard it more as Paka-book - I don't think there is a T sound involved.

polishcowboi's picture

How to talk Like a Fishtowner

ahhh yes...dingus day
we always had water (pronounced "wooder") balloon fights when i was a kid in richmond...they dont seem to do that here in f-town though...maybe i should start it...

anyways...here is my list...theyre all from when i was a little kid..and now i'm at the old age of 26 so i doubt many of these are still in use:

(obvious starter) KENZO: i'll probably be lynched for this but...theres no denying that the word exists...it started out as a way to describe a person from kensington...but grew to be used to describe someone in a negative context...no matter where theyre from...

knock for: To go to a friends house, and knock on the door to see if they can come out and play
"Yo...let's go around the corner and knock for jimmy taylor"

be wit: To kiss or date
"Yo, I heard you think Siobhann is cute...you wanna be wit her?", "I heard Regina is bein wit Anthony"
past tense is often pronounced "Beed wit"
"Yeah...i beed wit her in the alley"

Dirtball: A scumbag, a dirty person, someone undesirable
"EW! you're bein wit him? he's such a dirtball!!"

Dirt: A shortened form of dirtball
"Pick up your shoes ya dirt"

Youse: used as an alternative to "you", "you all", or "y'all"
"Are youse guys gonna get a case of milwaukees best"

Beat: i dont feel like coming up with a definition...i'll just use it in a sentence
"you got thrown out of Norf (north catholic)...man...thats so beat"

Telly Pole: the telephone pole

Homo (not pronounced like Homo-sexual...pronounced "Haaaah-mo"):
Short for "homicide". A game where you throw a tennis ball, or if you're hard core, a pinky, against a wall (typically an old factory or a school) and the other person has to catch it after it bounces off the wall...if they miss or drop the ball...they have to run and touch the wall and yell "HOMO!" before the other person can get the ball and peg it at them...often times called "suey" (as in suicide...ours is homicide) but...everyone knows that if its called something in fishtown...it has to be right...

Apparently, not many other places in the country refer to going to the beach as "going down the shore"...go figure

edited to add that a) pavement (sidewalk) is oft times pronounced "payment" and b) salmon street is oft times pronounced "s-aaaal-min" street....the "L" is rarely silent

charlie's picture

talk

i bet all of you have would have a good time down south :icon_razz
charlie

ShackyGirl's picture

How to talk Like a Fishtowner

"I like ta died." (Expression of disbelief or embarassment)

"Smack upside the head" (Expression of minor physical violence)

"An Irish cop found a dead horse in the middle of Shackamaxon Street. He drug it over to Day Street before he wrote up his report." (Cozy Morely stand-up routine bit)

jmminarik's picture

How to talk Like a Fishtowner

[quote="ShackyGirl"]

"Smack upside the head" [/quote]

Corollary: Smack upside the head with a 2x4.

panderson's picture

How to talk Like a Fishtowner

One of my favorites is:
Nasty
Sort of the PA version of New England's Wick-ed.
I even heard grandma's say "awe, that's nasty!"

Magus667's picture

Re: How to talk Like a Fishtowner

[quote="dan"][This is my first draft of something I want to make a permanent part of the website. Please help add to it!]

-------------------------------------------------

We Fishtowners speak standard English with a Philadelphia attitude.
However, there's a few things you should know to communicate around here...

STREET NAME PRONUNCIATIONS
Girard = Gee-rod or Gee-rahd
Almond = Al-mand or sometimes Ammind (rhymes with "wind", meaning "blowing air")
Salmond = Saaal-min (where the a is pronounced as in "hat")
[/quote]

I always did wonder how the life-long residents around here managed to say Girard that way. I've tried it for the hell of it because it sounds so illiterate, for lack of a better word, and my tounge simply can't form the sounds for some reason... ;)

AM's picture

Re: How to talk Like a Fishtowner

[quote="Magus667"]I always did wonder how the life-long residents around here managed to say Girard that way. I've tried it for the [Port Fishington] of it because it sounds so illiterate, for lack of a better word, and my tounge simply can't form the sounds for some reason... ;)[/quote]

It's a genetic mutation! :icon_lol

FYI - The smacking upside the head deal is actually a very specific act - often dished out by parents and involves an upward, brisk smack to the base of the head/top of the neck. The phrase is often used in these sentences: Get away from the curb before I smack you upside your head. Hit your brother/sister again and I'm gonna smack you upside your head.

GuessWho's picture

How to talk Like a Fishtowner

playin' half-sies: playing stick ball w/ 1/2 of a "pimple ball" or tennis ball. u can buy pimple balls (those grey, rubber, bouncing balls w/ a star on the top) @ mandi's.

Hannibal's picture

How about dice games

We like to play c-lo, threes or five alive in Kensington. Dice games are fun even for adults.

jmminarik's picture

How to talk Like a Fishtowner

Ignoring thermodynamics and going with the popular misconception:

Rad-ee-a-tors ray-dee-ate heat.

I suppose conventionators is just 1 syllable too many.

-Joe

polishcowboi's picture

How to talk Like a Fishtowner

OH OH OH I THOUGHT OF ANOTHER ONE!!!
BITER
or Bite
or Bit
used to describe someone copying you

"Oh my god...you got the same chalk line jacket as me!! you biter!!"
"you didnt come up with that idea yourself...you bit that off of me"

AM's picture

How to talk Like a Fishtowner

[quote="polishcowboi"]OH OH OH I THOUGHT OF ANOTHER ONE!!!
BITER[/quote]

OMG - I haven't heard that since the 7th grade! :icon_lol

Dawn's picture

How to talk Like a Fishtowner

Beautiful = Beauty Full

GuessWho's picture

How to talk Like a Fishtowner

offered out: to be invited to partake in a fistfight.

"yeah...i saw you talkin' to my boyfriend. i offer you out. meet me @ the rec center after school. you better be there!"

AM's picture

How to talk Like a Fishtowner

useta - having done in the past, e.g. - I usesta hang there but I don't no more.

rtsaidred's picture

How to talk Like a Fishtowner

How about "I ain't got none." Can't tell you how many times I hear that and it makes me cringe. (This probably isn't really a Fishtownism though. It just drives me crazy."

Also, I hear alot of people that pronounce Valentine's Day as "Valemtime's Day."

tudor's picture

How to talk Like a Fishtowner

I heard my fave today several times: "ax," as in to ax a question. First time was in K-Mart; second was on a recorded message from PGW.

ShackyGirl's picture

How to talk Like a Fishtowner

Happy Birfday! I jes' took yer pixture!

PoissonvilleSteve's picture

Yo, Shacky (duh, do youse

Yo, Shacky (duh, do youse live on Shackamaxon, Hon?) you just beat me to one of my favorites, 'pixture.' I cried all the way to the Ack-a-me store ...

Actually, chaps, I'm from London, England, although my residence in Fishtown just about goes back to the days when the orange L&I sticker in the rowhome window still meant Cross to the other side pronto, Buddy, the before the freakin' front wall collapses on you.

Thinking of street names, can anyone explain how anything spelled Sepviva can possibly be 'Survivor Street'?

And while I applaud Fishtonian verbal thrift in reducing 'East Susqehanna Avenue' to 'Sussky,' my mind boggles on hearing the occasional 'Swussky.' Are those phantom W's something the natives pick up in Public Skwool, I wonder?

Then there are those long I sounds, as in Junior taking his pedal cycle outside in order to "roide moi boike." Are they a general Philly thing which I notice more here, or a genuine 'Fishtown special'?

And every time I open my incurably Limey mouth, someone says, "Are youse from somewhere?" Um, if only elsewhere counts as somewhere, doesn't that make Fishtown nowhere?

And on while we're on public conversation: "Does your dog boite, Mister?" No, my dear little one, this 75 pound German shepherd liquidizes her bones in a Moulinex and sucks them through a freakin' soda straw. Du-uh ;-)

ken215's picture

Susque = (sus-kee)for

Susque = (sus-kee)for Susquehanna
Acme = Ac-a-me
Avenue = emphasis on the 1st e

And 2 of father's personal favorites...
Roast beef, or as he said, "roas-a-beef"
and "ice-a-box"

I do not know if these are common to other parts of the city but here are a few more...

Parlor = (Poller) living room

Stairsteps = instead of just stairs or steps

And when speaking of a group of people, only one person's name is identified as in "Jim an' em"

cindy40's picture

I remember the IGA at

I remember the IGA at Frankford and Dauphin was once Silversteins in the 70's.

Magus667's picture

how about 'beep-beep!'

how about 'beep-beep!'

ken215's picture

what is 'beep-beep!'?

what is 'beep-beep!'?

Magus667's picture

the sound one of those

the sound one of those nextel's makes.