Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"Can't Get the Colorado Out of the Girl"

The other day I sent home a notice to some of my youth about an upcoming event. In the announcement, I said the youth should bring a "sack lunch" with them.

Well, on Sunday one of the parents (who happened to be on my search committee) came to me and said that he shared my notice with his wife because he thought it was funny. She's from Colorado, and her reply was, "you can't get the Colorado out of the girl." He informed me that my use of the word "sack" would be unfamiliar and odd around here, and he said with some concern that people might think I was being weird. He told me the proper word in New England is "bag" not "sack."

I don't remember us using the term "sack" much growing up, but according to this congregant's wife, it is something I likely picked up living in Colorado. I imagine I use the words interchangably now. Most likely for shopping bags or trash/garbage/rubbish, I say "bag," and for things like lunches, I say "sack." On one online quiz I took, it turned up that I have no accent at all, so my interchangable use of regional terms makes sense.

I have not been able to effectively move, however, to saying "carriage" instead of "cart" when shopping, or "carriage" instead of "stroller" when towing the kids around town.

Anyway, this congregant ever so nicely suggested I use the internet to get a list of words that are used and not used in New England to help me assimilate. Funny.

So far, this is what I've been able to find (some have some pretty offensive terms or describe pretty offensive useage, and only a couple address the sack vs. bag issue):
http://www.bu.edu/mfeldman/Boston/wicked.html
http://www.worcestermass.com/words.shtml
http://dare.wisc.edu/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regional_vocabularies_of_American_English
http://popvssoda.com/
http://www.theheartofnewengland.com/lifeinnewengland/Essays/accents.html

7 comments:

hopalong said...

Those online quizzes about your accent are so hard to take accurately because it's so hard to self-evaluate -- I always find myself saying, "Wait, how do I say that word?" I think on a recent one it said I had a midwestern accent? Didn't seem so accurate for me...

I've only rarely heard "carriage" for grocery cart -- maybe it's more a New England thing than an east-coast thing?

boatbaby said...

I was born and raised in Chicago and my 2 brothers who never left there tell me all the time, "You talk like an east coaster now."

whatever.

;)

Masasa said...

hopalong, you are right, "Carriage" is definitely a New England thing...actually, probably a MA thing.

boatbaby, here is my related tantrum of the day...but I don't want to change how I talk!!! Can't people just figure out that by sack I meant bag?! ;-)

LOL

Masasa said...

P.S. hopalong, I do believe I don't have an accent...I am pretty generic, and I had no trouble taking the quiz at all. However, I *pick up* accents very easily, even just by thinking of them. G was mortified the first time she brought me out to MA because I started talking with a Boston accent before we even got to the Denver airport to fly there. I have more than once been asked if I am from Minnesota. I guess I just like the way that accent sounds LOL.

Sara said...

You shouldn't have to assimilate! People who move frequently keep their regional accents and terms, and I think most people think it is cute.

And, BTW, I grew up calling it a "brown bag lunch", but people make fun of the way I say "baggie" (somehow I got a little Canadian accent on that one word). So, now I do it on purpose. "Put it in a baggie".

Masasa said...

I actually heard "brown bag lunch" a lot too, but later I read somewhere about some racial undertones to that term and even though I am not sure that is actually true or accurate, I haven't used the term since.

sara, the culture is really different here. There is definitely more pressure to "blend in" moving from west to east than east to west...that's for darn sure!

Masasa said...

Oh, Sara, your post made me think of my favorite word...favorite, that is, when it is said with a Canadian accent: "Process."

Pro-cess.

Yummy. I love that word so much I could eat it.