Pittsburghese

by | Apr 2, 2024 | From The Farm

One day while doing a live CSA sign up event at Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont, Farmer Jeremy pointed out a book to me and said I needed to read it. The book was about how to speak Pittsburghese. I cannot remember the exact title or author of the book but it lead to a conversation about different regions and expressions used throughout the United States.

While I grew up in Cleveland, Farmer Jeremy grew up on the farm here in the Pittsburgh area. Just a mere 2 hours difference by car, however, during our early years of marriage, we’d have discussions on the different ways we’d each pronounce certain words. We’d always just say: “That’s your PA accent” or “That’s your Cleveland accent”. Sometimes we would ask friends: “Hey, how do you say this word?” And because we were living west of Cleveland at the time, they’d usually pronounce it my way and I’d win!

It wasn’t until we moved back to the Pittsburgh area, that I was truly exposed to Pittsburghese. One day, I was viewing a friend’s post on Instagram about the pottery she was going to have at a local craft show (@summer_house_pottery) and there were all these phrases on the pottery that I had never heard! “Yinz”, “Yinzer”, “Jeet?” “No, Ju?” “Love Yinz n’at” I was totally confused! I asked Farmer Jeremy, what in the world is this? And he explained to me this was Pittsburghese – a dialect known to Western Pennsylvania, specifically the Pittsburgh area.

As we began Farmer’s Markets in the Pittsburgh area, I really got to hear these expressions used in everyday life. As a transplant to Pittsburgh, albeit not from too far away, I loved to hear these words and learn the culture that they embodied – one of support, community and diversity. It helped me love the new city I was living in and the people that surrounded it.

Sometimes Farmer Jeremy and I kid each other about our different ways of saying things based on how and where we grew up. And I have to be honest, I am still learning how to pronounce some Pittsburghese words correctly and when to use them, but one thing is for sure, this Cleveland transplant loves the community I am now living in and truly appreciates all the support yinz provide for our small family run farm!