Where y’at?

August 21, 2007 at 8:33 pm Leave a comment

Hey I’m a y’at – born and raised. Now, if you don’t know what that is — it’s a native New Orleanian. The y’at comes from “Where y’at?” The way we say “How are ya doin?” or “How’s it goin?” A New Orleans accent is kinda like a Brooklyn accent. Of course, I?ve had to lose the accent in order to work in radio, but if you listen closely you’ll still hear it now and then. When I visit home I slip back into it even more.

By the way I’m actually from Algiers?on the Westbank of New Orleans. We like to say the Westbank is the best bank – though the other side of the river calls us River Rats. Being from Algiers, we are called Algereens – not Algerians like the residents of the African country. Algereens rhymes with Walgreens. I don’t know how that came to be, but I’m happy with it.

I think the blog this time is going to be about New Orleans speak – letting you know the special way we have of saying things in N.O. That way, whenever you visit the Crescent City (don’t ever call it the Big Easy – that’s a Hollywood thing) you can ‘tawk like a y’at. Actually, instead of translating everything for you I’ve found a great website where you read along, have a few laughs and brush up on it ?dawlin?.

Click here for the Gumbopages y’at dictionary.

You know, one sad thing about losing the accent and not having lived in New Orleans for 20+ years is that I’ve actually lost some of the language. Sure, some stuff is ingrained in my head like a brake tag (motor vehicle inspection sticker). It?ll always be a brake tag to me no matter where I go. But I realized the other day when I said the word burgundy that I said it correctly. In New Orleans the street in the French Quarter known as Burgundy is pronounced burr-GUN-dee and that?s how you pronounce the color too — until you move away for 20 years and then you sound like everyone else.

In Algiers we have the streets Mercedes and Socrates. Now, you know how to pronounce the car and philosophers name?but for me it was always MURR-suh-deez and SO-krates. Sadly, I’ve also forgotten how to say those the wrong way too.

I’m not sad though – because I still have enough of the local flavor imbedded in my DNA to carry me the rest of my life. Plus with trips home a couple times a year I get my fix and re-education. And all I have to do is pick up the phone and call mom and BOOM I?m right back on “da pawch swing” eating a snowball and sweating through the summer heat.

Yea you right.

 

If you have something to share dawlin…email me at sam@murphysamandjodi.com

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