A Little Bit (More) of Yinzer
I contacted the owner of Yappin' Yinzers to find out what he thinks about the word "Yinzer."
Image courtesy of yappinyinzers.com
Each month when I sit down to write my column for the magazine, this is my writing process:
1. "I have nothing to write about. Nothing. Nothing! THERE IS A GIANT CLOUD OF NOTHINGNESS RAINING DOWN NOTHING!": 10 days
2. Topic found.
3. [write write write write write write]: 45 minutes
And here in the process is where I realize that in those 45 minutes, I overshot my allotted 800 words by around 500 words. My editor will throw a virtual brick at me if I sent her a column with 1,300 words. 800 is the goal. 800 is what we have space for.
So that brings us to stage four in my writing process:
4. [snip snip snip snip snip] [delete delete delete delete] [sigh] "Goodbye 500 words I love. Goodbye."
This month, in my Yinzer column, I ran out of space to include information about the Yappin' Yinzer dolls, but luckily for me, the magazine has given me this online space to share things with you that got thrown to the floor in step 4.
I contacted the owner of Yappin' Yinzers, Alex Kozak, to find out what he thought about the word "Yinzer," as his dolls, named Nebby Debbie and Chipped Ham Sam, are outfitted with jorts, mall-bangs, mullets, and halter-top mesh, and say things like, "Jeet jet?"
I loved his response and wanted to share it with you since it didn't make it into the column:
My feeling is that a Yinzer is anyone who embodies the dialect, mannerisms and points of view that naturally seem to develop by way of being born and raised in the Pittsburgh region. Are there varying extremes? Sure. Chipped Ham Sam and Nebbie Debbie could be said to represent the epitome of Yinzerdom. On the other end of the spectrum, I would point to a recent comment posted on the Yappin' Yinzer message board describing someone who was "amused to hear a doctoral-level colleague who actually said 'Pixburgh' regularly," and two M.S.-level colleagues who said "turlet" and "warsh," as in "I have to warsh my clothes." Regardless of social strata, if you were born and raised here, you have a bit of Yinzer in you.
As far as the positive vs. negative view is concerned, I set out creating Yappin' Yinzers with a sense of pride around the uniqueness of our dialect and city. The number of displaced Pittsburghers who have positively commented about how the dolls bring back fond memories of home is overwhelming. I would like to think that "Yinzer" is as much about Pittsburgh pride than anything else.
I am a lifelong Pittsburgher—born and raised here and recently returned earlier this year after two years of living and working in London. Per my earlier comment, there's no doubt I've got a bit of Yinzer in me.
I know I have a bit of Yinzer in me, and it usually comes out on the Parkway East when I have a hizzy fit about all the jagoffs when I'm tryin' t'get ahtatahn, n'at.