Saturday, March 05, 2005

Cincinnati Dialect

Thanks to the Insiders’ Guide to Cincinnati, I knew I would encounter a few unfamiliar dialectal terms upon moving to the area. For instance, the shoulder of the road is referred to as the “berm.” (Mike and I find this amusing, because, to us, a “berm” is the dirt and concrete hill that separates the shooters from the targets (and target pullers) on a rifle range.) I can bear “berm” and even the ever-present, Midwestern “pop” but did not expect three local terms to drive me batty: net, choiceful, and please.

The usage of “net” I often hear is defined by as “Ultimate; final: the net result.” It sounds innocuous enough, but when “net” is used at the end of every discussion and email, it becomes grating. Before living here, I had never heard this usage of “net.” Now, to my great dismay, I hear it every single day. How about some diversity in word choice, people?

Contrary to what I first believed, "choiceful" is, indeed, a word. It is an obsolete term that means “making choices; fickle.” However, I instead hear it used as meaning “carefully considered” or "well thought." Every time I hear it, I want to scream: THAT WORD IS OBSOLETE AND, BESIDES, YOU ARE USING IT INCORRECTLY!

Locals use “please?” in place of “what” or “excuse me” or “pardon” when they have not heard or understood something you’ve said. It is so overly polite that I want to counter its gentility with rudeness. If I don’t hear something you’ve said, I’ll screech “Whadja say?!” Maybe the next time I’m asked “please?” I’ll answer with “thank you.”

Net, I’d appreciate it if you were very choiceful with the words you use around me. I think they’re teaching this crap at Miami. Please?


At 8:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank God I have a year to learn all this, so that I can truly "blend" when I visit.

At 1:40 PM, Blogger Kasmira said...

Okay, another Cincinnati-ism that drives me NUTS: "recall". Usage: "Recall, you were a slobbering drunk at last year's holiday party." Again, a totally harmless usage, but it makes me so crazy! Maybe because it is never prefaced with "If you [recall]," just "recall," as if it is a polite order. I HATE IT!


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