August 14, 2014

Gongoozling ?

Tuesday night's rain storm was a big one.
It poured all night long and the front pond, which had been filled with only about 8    to 10 inches of water is now full to the brim which is about 20 inches up from the bottom.  
The front yard was a lake before morning. 
At 11:00 PM I padded into the kitchen to make a cup of Earl Grey and in the dark I watched rain cascading down in front of my kitchen window from the over-stuffed gutter above. 
Illuminated by the back porch light, it fell sparkling like streams of diamonds.  I couldn't stop looking at it and wished I knew how to photograph or record it.  My memory will have to suffice.
The tea was lovely and so was the episode of Rosemary and Thyme that I was watching called "The Gongoozlers".  I've seen it many times before but I always forget the endings anyway so , like Agatha Christie novels, I am always in for a surprise each time I see them!
What's a gongoozler you say?
Line breaks: gon|gooz¦ler
Pronunciation: /ɡɒŋˈɡuːzlə
Meaning:early 20th century (originally denoting a person who idly watched activity on a canal); rare before 1970: perhaps from Lincolnshire dialect gawn and gooze 'stare, gape'.

It got me thinking of speech.
Americans over all speak an English closer to that of Shakespeare's time since we are cut off from England and those pronunciations survived.
 I discovered that in a book about the history of the English language.
For instance we still use the word platter while it is not used as much. if at all, in other English speaking countries.      And, some areas of the US still speak in a Shakespearean era dialect no longer heard anywhere else.   Tangier Island off the Carolina coast is one such place  and on Youtube you can hear their accents.
They will say Hoy Toyd for high tide.

What kind of accent do you have?
South Jersey is a completely separate state from North Jersey, or so we like to joke.
I have lived in both places but was born in the north.  I have traces of both in my speech but in university, a professor of speech was able to nail down my origin almost to the very town!
I never knew I had an accent!
North and South are separated by the Raritan River and bridge.
There is a shore south Jersey and there is the deeper south Jersey which is centered nearer to Philadelphia and the Delmarva accent prevails.
The accents you might have heard on the program Jersey Shore are not authentic. Not one of them was from New Jersey at all!
Here is a very funny video about Philly accents which can also be heard in western south Jersey, some parts of Delaware and etc.

I've heard the 'mayin' for mine from my mother and grandmother who were from the Schuylkill county area of Pennsylvania.

South Jersey Accent:  (From Wikipedia:)
Main article: Delaware Valley accent
South Jersey and some areas of Central Jersey are primarily within the Philadelphia dialect region. One recognizable feature of this is the pronunciation of /oʊ/ (the vowel in go) as [ɜʊ], and this can also be found elsewhere in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. The overwhelming majority of the state shares this dialect although New Jerseyans and Philadelphians are usually incorrectly depicted in cinema as having a New York City accent such as in the film Rocky. An example of a cinematic depiction of a correct Philadelphian accent is in the film The Sixth Sense. (Because Bruce Willis is from South Jersey)
Visitors to South Jersey will notice the following usages standard in the Delaware Valley:

  Hoagie: This usual term for what might elsewhere be called a submarine sandwich.(Best place for hoagies/subs is in Bruce Willis' hometown too!)
   Wooder: the first vowel in the word water is rhymed with that of the verb put.
   Jimmies: used to refer to the chocolate or rainbow variety of sprinkles used on cakes and ice cream. The term is also used in the Boston and Baltimore areas but is uncommon in North Jersey.
  Joors: A slurred pronunciation of Drawers can be rhymed with doors.
  Tail: A common pronunciation of "towel" which sounds almost identical to the common pronunciation of "tail."

How do I say words?
 Cawfee for coffee.       Chawklet for chocolate.
Waw-der  for water (think Elisabeth Shue, also from New Jersey, in The Saint, one of my favorite movies. I highly recommend it.) It is an aww sound not an ahhh sound.
Tawk  for talk.
We say Fawther for father when in a hurry.   Melk for milk when speaking quickly as well.
Jeet yet? No Jew? (did you eat yet? no did you?)
All  of those words are common in all New Jersey not just north or south.
South Jerseyans know how to say Forked River.  (Fork-ED River as you would say the word 'jagged' as in jagged edge)
 We called sports shoes or gym shoes 'sneakers'.
We call the wagon you buy groceries in a 'shopping cart'.
We call bubbly fizzy drinks like Coca Cola 'soda'.  In Ohio when I was in the university they called it 'pop' and what we call stockings (panty hose) they called 'hose'.
They said 'sack' but we say 'bag'.
How about you?  Any particular words or phrases unique to your area? What is your accent?


  1. Hi Annie!! I loved, loved, loved your post. I am so interested in language, dialect and accents. It is so interesting.
    I also posted your meme today on Gadgets. Have a nice weekend.

  2. Ciao Annie, such an interesting post! :) It's melk for milk here in Glasgow as well. Ma dug for my dog. Toon for town. Cannae for can't. Dae for do. Dinna for don't. Heid for head. Skweel for school, steen for stone... LOL!
    Have a wonderful day xo

  3. What a fun post! It is so amazing to hear all the different accents in our own country. I grew up for the most part in upstate NY but since living in the south for so long, I find myself adopting a bit of a southern drawl, dropping my endings etc. My mother was born in the mid west and lived there most of her young adult life. To her, her handbag was her purse and I adopted that phrase. When we moved to NY, some girls made fun of me because I called it a purse - to them, it was a pocket book. Here in the south, if you are going to do something, you're "fixin' to do it.

  4. Hi Annie,
    Being some NY we have similar words that you do but it will always be POP and never soda. LOL This was a very interesting post. :) I once had someone pinpoint my "accent" as being from Buffalo. I was shocked because I didn't think I had a real accent. Have a great day!

  5. Love the topic you chose for today! They tell me I have an accent but I don't think I do at all. I'm from Cleveland and we do say pop. Now that I live in FL I say soda. Learn something new every day! Happy w/e. Hugz!

  6. Hi Annie!

    I love the Northern accent and always have. I don't particular have an accent but I can't say spider. lol I say it funny and I have no idea why. The funniest thing I've ever heard, we were doing a tour of Tangier Island (Virginia) and our tour guide had a thick southern accent. A lady asked her where she was from and she said she was born in Baltimore but moved to VA at a young age. The lady asking her the question said, "I thought you had a Baltimore accent!" We all just looked at each other and snickered. Folks from the Baltimore area have an accent but it's not a southern twang. I can't quite explain it. They don't say home, they say hume. Anyhow, I enjoyed reading this post a lot. :) Have a great weekend! Hugs!

    ps.. please let me know if you get Facebook. :) I know a lot of people don't like using their real lastname so you could always use Annie's Lemoncottage or something. lol Hope you join!

  7. LOL! Love this entry Annie, my accent is a lot like yours a New Yawk Bronx accent with cawfee my favorite drink and chawklet my favorite candy. Some say I tawk funny too. ;-) Have a great day my friend. Hugs

  8. Such a nice and interesting post, sweet Annie !!!
    I've enjoyed reading it so very much, I'm fond of languages and first of all of English, as you know, but my mother tongue is Italian, what can I say .. maybe that I love English with all its variants ;) !
    Sending love

  9. Hi Annie I love that you are reading about the English language it is for sure very interesting indeed. I say sub for a sandwich, all words I say are completely as the word sounds on the online dictionary without any accent at all. I don't think I have an accent.
    I say coffee and anything I say is completely flat without any accent at all. I do use the word platter my family is from Delaware, Chicago and Columbus Ohio. We also live in CA and have lived in France. But for the most part in CA.
    Interesting post. Thanks! have a great week. BTW we need your rain here so bad!

  10. In Australia..... we would say warda for water, no-one says ''father'' unless they are mentioning him to someone else [my father].... but to him we would just say ''dad''....
    We call sports shoes or gym shoes by several names including ''runners'' and ''sand shoes''.
    We call the wagon you buy groceries in a 'shopping trolley''.
    We call bubbly fizzy drinks like Coca Cola 'soft drinks'. Stockings are called ''tights''... unless they are real stockings worn with suspenders.
    The weirdest thing about America is that they call the main meal the ''entree'' ..... here, the entree is the first course, which is exactly what the word means in French. The main course is called simply that..... ''main course''...... dessert is dessert.
    Lots more different words to learn if you want to speak Australian.....
    Love your blog Annie, don't get to read it that much these days, so I'm catching up now.


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