Monday January 18, 2010: Yinz goin’ to jynt igl?

I just took one of those Facebook quizzes.   I rarely do that because, well, most of them (including this one) are kinda stupid.  But I couldn’t resist the one on how well you speak “Pittsburgheese.”  And anyone who’s lived within a 200-mile radius of Pittsburgh for any length of time should do quite well with it.  If you aren’t a west central Pennsylvanian (whether by birth or choice) you’re not likely to understand the question,  “Are yinz goin’ ta da jynt igl?” But for those of us in the know, it’s simply a query as to whether or not you’re planning  a trip to the grocery store.

First, “yinz” is the Pittsburgh equivalent of “y’all.”   As in “How’re yinz doin’ today?” And it’s not necessarily plural — it can apply to one person.  The term “jynt igl” is a little more esoteric.  It’s simply the Pittsburgh pronunciation of the name of a major grocery store chain, Giant Eagle.

I’ve always assumed that the name Giant Eagle must be the result of a corporate merger, and actually it is. But according to Wikipedia it’s a little more complicated than the joining of a company called Giant with one called Eagle. In fact, in Pennsylvania and Maryland there’s still a grocery chain called, simply, Giant. I just couldn’t imagine the original founders of a grocery store calling the place Giant Eagle right out of the box:

“Well what do yinz think we should call the place?  Something that’s punchy… something that says value and good food?”   “How ’bout ‘Acme?'”  “Naw… I think that’s a company that makes rocket skates for coyotes when they’re chasing roadrunners.”   “Okay, then how ’bout ‘Giant Eagle’?  Only, of course, we’d pronounce it ‘jynt igl?'”   “That’s it!  Perfect!” 

Update: H/T to Jay Hauser for bringing up another Pittsburgheese question:  “J’eet yet?” A simple inquiry as to whether or not has heretofore dined.

If you live in Pennsylvania, of course, you know all this.  But I thought maybe for my friends in Florida and other places, you might be interested in learning that the Keystone State is a world unto itself.  As, I guess, most states are.  But it’s especially true there.  For example, kids in west central Pennsylvania (notice by the way that unlike in Central Florida the word central is not capitalized) were taught to red up their rooms.  As in yinz better red up your room before yinz go ta da jynt igl. It just means “clean up your room.”

In Pennsylvania, if you order pot pie, you will not receive what you expected.  Up there, “pot pie” is a stew with big, wide, flat noodles floating on top.  And the most popular (and absolutely delicious) is Ham Pot Pie.  Church suppers are frequently ham pot pie suppers.

Okay, enough.  Do I sound a little homesick for Pennsylvania?  I guess I am.  It’s odd: I grew up (if I ever grew up at all) in Orlando, but lived in Pennsylvania for more than 20 years.  Now, I’m back in Orlando, and since it’s changed so much, I  realize that central Pennsylvania really is home.   In fact, I’m planning to return there by mid-March.  I don’t know how that will be accomplished, but if it’s meant to happen, it will, and the path will become clear.  If  I am able to return to Pennsylvania, there are only a few things about Orlando that I will miss.  And the primary thing I will miss is the Unity Church of Christianity.    But more on that another day.

Today’s Fun Stuff

  • If you’re looking for a gift for that person who has everything, how about buying a real space shuttle ?  No, really!  But you’d better hurry… there are only a few left!
  • How about another classic TV commercial?  I wasn’t exactly thrilled to discover that I could actually sing along with this one.  I can’t remember where I left my glasses, but I still know the words to the Country Corn Flakes commercial from the ’60s:   It was also my first exposure to the American Gothic image.  As a kid, I thought these two characters were just made up for the commercial.

And now, I’m afraid, it’s time to go get something accomplished.  Have a great day!   –Steve

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