I am one of these guys who loves to play with language. I love to play Bog (a variation of Boggle) on my computer. When someone uses a different term or pronounces a word differently, I usually pick it up immediately. I find it fascinating. If you enjoy words and language, you will probably enjoy this column. If you say, “I hate that stuff,” well, you can use this page for bird cage liner!
What do I mean? Here is one example: If you listen carefully, many younger people say, “think you,” instead of “thank you.” Don’t know why, but this is a national phenomenon.
I was raised pronouncing “root” to rhyme with “foot,” while most people would rhyme it with “boot.”
The dictionary endorses both pronunciations, but the way most people pronounce it (to rhyme with “boot”) is preferred.
I was chatting with a friend (just last week) who told me he had to buy new “tags” for his car. I was confused, and my secretary, who was listening, interpreted for me: “He means license plates. Some people call them tags.” I never knew that. I didn’t think he wanted to start a game of “It,” but I had no idea what he meant.
I try to control my own “Chicagoisms.” Every locale has its unique phrases that do not always work elsewhere. For example, have you ever heard a chain-link fence called a “cyclone fence?” Or a five dollar bill a “fin?” Someone has said the Mason-Dixon line is the dividing line between “y’all” and “yous guys.” I remember being told (more than once), “I tried to tell yous, but yous wouldn’t listen.”
“Hoosierisms” are expressions unique to central Indiana — or at least to a broader region. During my 30 years of life here in central Indiana, I thought I had documented them all. Not the case. Heard some new ones lately. My quest continues.