Friday 5: Regionalisms

The LOVE statue in Philadelphia in front of a fountain on a clear summer day, with the Philadelphia Art Museum in the far distance.

What regional colloquialism in your area would baffle people from elsewhere?

This isn’t one that I use personally (I’m Philly-adjacent rather than proper Philly), but jawn can have such a broad usage that you really need context to understand what any particular usage is referring to.

I’ve been told by college friends from elsewhere in the US that “water ice” is a weird name for shaved ice/Italian ice/snow cones, but it seems logical to me: it’s ice plus (flavored sugar) water. “Hoagie” might or might not throw people for a loop as well. I still retain the regional habit of using “anymore” to mean “these days,” but I imagine it’s pretty clear what I mean when I say, “I’m just so tired anymore.”

What’s something you call by a name that differs from what most people in your region call it?

My mom calls them pocketbooks and I call them purses. I don’t know which one of us represents the majority term in southeastern Pennsylvania, though.

What’s a normal food in your region that people in other regions might be weirded out by?

I’ll cheat on this one and take an international perspective rather than my upbringing: Swedes are 100% chill with fruit on pizza, and my American friends are unjustly horrified at this.

What’s something in your area with an official name almost nobody refers to it by?

The Globe/Globen is technically the Ericsson Globe but no one calls it that. The accompanying arena is also technically the Tele2/Friends Arena, but I just think of it as “The Globe Arena.”

I wracked my brain for Philadelphia but couldn’t think of one. I didn’t realize until I was getting an image for this entry that Love Park’s official name is John F. Kennedy Plaza.

What are the names of some convenience stores in your area?

Wawa is the only convenience store.

2 thoughts on “Friday 5: Regionalisms”

  1. Oh, we’ve got a ton in Utah. A lot are religious. Ward house, stake center, first presidency might throw someone off the first time they come here. There’s a Gentile Street in my hometown (anyone not Mormon is a Gentile). “Squoze” as past tense of “squeeze.” You mentioned food. Green Jell-O with something weird in it (usually sliced carrots) is ubiquitous, as are “funeral potatoes” – basically a potato casserole topped with corn flakes.

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