The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Going Dutch

June 18, 2014

Yo, Youse Guys Coming? - Part 1

— What is it about the place where you live that affects the way that you talk? Take the word “bottle.” As far as I know there are three ways to pronounce it, and all three can be heard inside Pennsylvania. There’s the traditional “boddle,” which is pretty much the accepted pronunciation across the country. In the Pittsburgh area, however, people have found a unique way of changing that short o sound into a funny little ou. Almost as if they started out saying, “Buda,” then quickly combined it with “boil.” The resulting sound is not boddle, boodle, or boidle, but a one-of-a-kind, lofty combination of the three: bouhdle.

And in the coal regions, where I grew up, it almost becomes two words: bought-ull, or “bott’le.” “Picnic,” in the coal regions, was usually pronounced “pitnic”...And where there was a pitnic in Shamokin there was bound to be a bott’le or two of cold, refreshing beer. And that would be a great time for someone to burst into a rousing chorus of “Ninety-nine bott’les of beer on the wall, ninety-nine bott’les of beer…”

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