Tuesday, January 13, 2009

English please...

Several years ago we moved our family west from “America’s Dairyland” (hey, our cows are happy too!) for “Famous Potatoes”. I've made a few observations.

There is a lot of discussion regarding American residents who choose not to use the English language. However, what do we do about the language within the language? Our arrival in Boise (by the way, that is pronounced BOY-CEE not BOY-Z) is not without exception.

My first eye opener – the definition of hill in Idaho is slightly different from the Midwest. This was evident in the local ski slopes. I grew up skiing – in Wisconsin. Here, a mere 40 minutes from our home, are legitimate and varied experienced ski slopes. Even the bunny hill makes my adrenaline rush.

Another winter encounter… hooky bobbing. While working one evening I spoke with a concerned citizen inquiring if hooky bobbing was legal. I recall an extended amount of dead air on my end prior to asking “what is hooky bobbing?” Okay, first clue that I’m not from around here.

For those who are 'uninformed' - Hooky bobbing is a task completed by dragging a person on an inner tube or sled, pulled by a rope attached to a moving vehicle. Legal or not, I have to ask the question "WHY?".

There will be no 'doughnuts' spun in vacant snow covered parking lots. They are referred to as 'cookies'.

I've learned the correct pronunciation of many tribal names. I chuckled when out-of-towners spoke of “oh-wee-hee” or Le’Tah, more commonly known as Owyhee and Latah. I once thought the hardest thing I’d ever learn was how to pronounce my husband’s home town – Puyallup - or Pulley-up for the non-natives.

I’ve heard discussions regarding what is kept in a jockey boxes. Okay, I give up. Where and what are jockey boxes? I keep my vehicle registration and maps in the glove compartment.

News crews speak of hazardous situations in the barrow bit. I've never been sure if they are saying ‘barrel’ pit or 'borrow' pit. If you are looking for it, it’s the ditch on the side of the road. They may mention an accident into a 'jersey barrier'. I never knew those cement blockades HAD a name.

In all fairness, Idaho is not alone. I met a Navy wife, originating from Tennessee, who referred to walking trails as ‘pig paths’.

Even my home state has idiosyncrasies. We drink our water from bubblers. Dairy air is not a French body part. Chips are not something to be dipped rather avoided when stepping.

Just when you thought you had it figured out...


Ginny said...

Great post. Made me laugh. For a fun read check out Nothing But Blue Sky. She is from Canada and did a similar post of food differences. Cracked me up. Do you remember, when we lived in Santee, how people used to butcher the street name Cuyamaca?

Bob in Boise said...

Had to laugh, reminded me of my first experience with language. I was in basic training at Lackland AFB and learned the difference between "over yonder and down the road apiece" from a guy from Tennessee. Seems one is visible to the eye and the other is anywhere from 5 miles to 500 miles away.