Local idioms

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Bostonfan, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins New Member

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    I used the term "no skin off my teeth" the other day and the person I was speaking to was completely befuddled. (It means "doesn't concern me" or "doesn't phase me.")

    I've noticed that, in some areas of the South, the cashiers/clerks will give you your change and if you say "Thank you," they just say "Uh huh." Not "You're welcome," which is what I'm accustomed to hearing.
  2. FiveRinger

    FiveRinger Well-Known Member

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    My dad's parents were Big Mama and Big Daddy...they were from Mississippi. I live in the Midwest and I remember as a kid having to explain to folks that those were my grandparents. Now I know that these were common terms for grandparents in the south.

    I remember one time going to Big Mama's house and her offering me some cake and sweet milk. And I said yes, because you never turn down treats from Big Mama! I thought she was going to give me chocolate milk or something, but she brought me the cake and this big glass of regular milk. I don't drink milk, so you can imagine how disappointed I was. :rofl:
  3. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    Here, we say going to college, regardless of whether its a community college or a huge university.

    Do you think that is a regional thing or a "times" thing. I think that we (as a society) have lost politeness. Please and thank-you are just mumbled or not said at all. My pet peeve is, holding a door for someone and having them walk through and say nothing.
  4. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    I've noticed that's widespread in the US. In Canada, a college is seen as a lesser institution that an university (even if many are not, and many colleges are in fact part of universities), so people are more likely to make the distinction, as in "we met in university."
  5. Reuven

    Reuven Official FSU Alte Kacher

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    I’ve heard it as “No skin off my nose” and one escapes a bad event by “the skin of their teeth."

    It ain’t just the South...
  6. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins New Member

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    I do think it's a regional thing, not a lack of friendliness or manners. Holding the door for someone nets a big "Thank You!" to which the response is "uh huh." It doesn't make sense to me, but that's what it is. Initially, I thought it was my carpetbagger accent turning them off, but people with drawls get the same response.

    I avoid one of the clerks at the sports center because of her lousy customer service skills. I spend over $300 in one transaction, had to ask twice for a receipt and then she forgot the $200+ punch card I purchased. Didn't get an "oh, sorry" so I knew that there wouldn't be a "thanks" or "welcome" on the horizon. Rude, incompetent moron.

    I almost forgot: allegedly, when a southern person says "bless your heart," it's not really a blessing or compliment. According to various books and magazines, it's the equivalent of telling someone to drop dead. I don't think it's true in every case though, because I helped an older woman in the supermarket with something from a high shelf (she was in an electric scooter) and she said "bless your heart" to me quite sincerely. I hadn't opened my Yankee mouth yet, so she wouldn't have known where I was from.

    I think you're right. That explains the look - I mixed-and-matched idioms! *laughs at self*

    To the "uh huh" vs. "you're welcome:" when I worked in Corporate Retail Training, we had to teach the clerks to say "No, thank YOU" in response to a customer's thank you. That was a failed effort - no one got the mystery shopper bonus!! It was a lost cause, so we settled for the "You're welcome." Guess that's not part of the script today at the various chains.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  7. Susan1

    Susan1 Active Member

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    How about this one - "no problem" instead of "You're welcome"? That's not exactly a response to "thank you", is it?

    And your first comment - I've also heard "no skin off my nose". I know what it means, but why would you have skin on your teeth? :lol:
  8. Susan1

    Susan1 Active Member

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    Really? This was clear back in the early 80's. Maybe my cousin's roommate's sister was the first one to say it and everybody else picked it up!!?? :)
  9. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    I admit to saying no problem. I think that is just a variation of it's no trouble at all or it's no problem at all. Sometimes I say, it's my pleasure.

    My mom said it when I was little, way, way before the '80s. :lol:
  10. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    :rofl: It's situational and depends on the context. Although I'd disagree that it's the equivalent of telling someone to drop dead. It's more along the lines of pitying someone's taste or choice or traits or saying "poor thing". I find it used more often not to a person but about someone.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  11. Spinner

    Spinner Where's my book?

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    I always thought "bless your heart" was a hilariously backhanded "aww, you're too stupid to live." Unless, that is, someone says it to me. :lol:
  12. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    Aww, bless your heart. :D

    I'm sorry, I just had to. You so, set us up for that! :lol:
  13. Spinner

    Spinner Where's my book?

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    :lynch:
  14. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    Nah, on it's own isn't how it would be used. It would be something like "That Spinner boy takes after his daddy's uncle, bless his heart."

    And everyone would know they're talking about the village idiot.

    One I used to hear a lot was if a young woman was a bit overweight. They'd just say "She has such a pretty face, bless her heart." Implicit in that was that she was unattractive due to being overweight.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012
  15. Grannyfan

    Grannyfan Active Member

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    I never knew the word "chotchkies" until I heard it on one of the HGTV programs. Down here we call them "what-nots."
  16. Erica Lee

    Erica Lee New Member

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  17. Reuven

    Reuven Official FSU Alte Kacher

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    "Tchotchkies" is Yiddish, like "chazzerai" ;)
  18. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    You mean, I tried to make a joke and didn't know how to use the expression? :slink away

    Spinner, you know I was just kidding, right?

    That is a Yiddish word. Oh, Reuven already said that, sorry :)
  19. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    To be expected - you're from New Jersey. ;)
  20. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    I learned very quickly once I moved out of Northeastern US that Yiddish sayings are not generally known outside that region, with specific regional exceptions - never mind outside the US. I remember having to explain "tuckus" to someone I worked with in Ireland, who'd never heard the term, never heard any other Yiddish, and didn't know what Yiddish was. With me not knowing that it wasn't a term that everyone knew and used, because where I was from, everyone did. :lol:
  21. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    I think, especially in the New york area. I thought everyone used the word schmuck, for an obnoxious, twit. But, outside of this area, many have never heard it. Of course, I didn't know, until college, what the literal translation is :lol:.

    BTW, I LOVE your signature! :rofl:
  22. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    People from the US tend to have broad vowels, which to some people from the UK and Ireland make us sound like we're from Australia. Even more so for me, because I am also non-rhotive, being from Boston.

    Ohio has a very strong accent to me, especially in and near Cleveland. It's very mid-western to my ear. Flat vowels, a bit nasal.

    I will happily say bubblah for you next time we have a NYC get-together. :D
  23. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    Now wait, isn't that a grandmother? (I know it's bubala, but I've heard it pronounced like bubblah ;))
  24. triplelooped

    triplelooped New Member

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    Bless your heart can have several meanings, with the true meaning being conveyed by tone of voice and facial expression. Bless your heart with the emphasis on the bless said in a condescending voice means basically you're a f****** idiot. One of my friends from New Jersey said that she would just say "you're a f****** idiot." My response: "So would we, just not in polite company." Always that Southern veneer of politeness :D

    Bless your heart said with a very sincere facial expression and the emphasis more on the work heart is an expression of sympathy or of poor you.
  25. Spinner

    Spinner Where's my book?

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    :fragile:
  26. znachki

    znachki Active Member

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    Originally Posted by znachki: Also, in Scotland & Ireland, I was asked more than once if I was from Australia - and I'm from Seattle

    When it happened, it struck me as funny, since so many Americans can't differentiate the various accents in rest of the English speaking world. But I'd never thought about it working in reverse.