I didn’t. I do now. But there’s no reason for me to call them the Igs. Because I’m not from Philadelphia.
I had no idea that there was so much colorful slang just a little to the south and west of Boston. I knew that they call a long bread sandwich filled with meat, cheese, and vegetables a “hoagie” (and if it’s toasted, a “grinder”) while we call it a sub, toasted or untoasted.
But a new one on me was “yiz.” It’s apparently Philly’s answer to the collective plural pronoun “you.” So “You want anything at the store?” becomes “Yiz want anything at the store?” (In Pittsburgh, it’s “yinz.”)
Then there’s “worsh” (wash), and “jawn,” the etymology of which is unclear, but it certainly is useful. It can be used to describe a thing (“Hand me that jawn”), a female person (“That girl’s my young jawn”), or a place (“I was over at my boy’s jawn last night”) and is used in many situations to describe almost anything.
By far the most baffling idiom to me is the use of “anymore.” It doesn’t have a unique pronunciation, but it’s used as a positive, and means “nowadays” or “from now on.” I still can’t wrap my head around this. “Anymore we watch videos rather than go to the movies.” As Emily would say, “Crazyville!”
So if you’re with a bunch of football fans and you’re in Pixburgh, yinz can go watch the Stillers play. But if you’re in Philly, yiz can go and watch the Igs. Den you can eat n’at.
By Steve Boudreault