Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How To Speak Chicago-ese


For those of you coming to Chicago for our wedding in October, here are a few tips on how to speak the local language of Chicago:
  1. Grachki (grach'-key) is Chicago for "Garage Key" as in, "Yo, Theresa, waja do wit da grachki? Howmy supposta cut da grass if don't git intada grach?''
  2. Uptadaendada (up-ta-da-en'-dada) as in, "Joey, you kin ride yur bike uptadaendada alley but not acrost or I'll bust yur butt..."
  3. Sammich. Chicagoese for sandwich. When made with sausage, it's a sassage sammich; with shredded beef, it's an Italian beef sammich, a local delicacy consisting of piles of spicy meat in a perilously soggy bun.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 sassage." As in most Chicago pluralizations, the "S" is pronounced with a hissing sound, rather than the usual "Z" sound of American pluralization.
  6. Field's: Marshall Field, a prominent Chicago department store. Also Carson Pirie Scott, a major department store chain, is called "Carson's," etc.
  7. Tree. The number between two and four. "We were lucky dat we only got tree inches of snow da udder night"
  8. Prairie. A vacant lot, especially one on which weeds are growing.
  9. Over by dere. i.e. "over by there," a prolix way of emphasizing a site presumed familiar to the listener. As in, "I got the sassage at da Jewels down on Kedzie, over by dere.'
  10. Kaminski Park. 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, Cellular Field formerly known as Comiskey Park.
  11. 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."
  12. Use. Not the verb but the plural pronoun "you". "Where's use goin'?"
  13. Downtown. Anywhere south of the zoo and north of Soldiers Field near the lake.
  14. 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?"
  15. Braht: Short for Bratwurst. "gimme a braht wit kraut"
  16. Cashbox: Traffic reporter slang for tollbooths. "Dere's a delay at da cashbox on da Skyway"
  17. Goes: Past or present tense of the verb "say." For example, "Then he goes, 'I like this place'!"
  18. Guys: Used when addressing two or more people, regardless of each individual's gender.
  19. Pop: A soft drink. Don't say "soda" in this town. "what kinda pop you got?"
  20. Sliders: Nickname for hamburgers from White Castle, a popular Midwestern burger chain "Dose sliders I had last night gave me da runs"
  21. 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.
  22. "Jieetyet": this is used to ask "did you eat yet"?
  23. Winter and Construction: Punch-line to the joke, "what are the two seasons in Chicago?"
G'bless dis here town! An a course...Mike Di'ka.