PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – After the disappointing news was released from Big 7 Travel that Pittsburghese was rated one of the least sexy accents in the country, Celina Pompeani decided to dig deeper to find out where our Pittsburgh dialect comes from and why we use words such as nebby, slippy, gum bands and reddup.
“I think other parts of the country are just jealous of our accent because we actually have a name for our language, Pittsburghese,” Andy Masich said.
Masich is the President and CEO of the Heinz History Center, and he said Pittsburghese is a mix of Old Norse, Scots-Irish, German, American Indian, Eastern European, and African American.
“And so there’s a lot of Old Norse mixed in with Scots which is mixed in with Gaelic-Irish and then Germans started coming in by 1800 so there’s a lot of German words mixed in with that Scots-Irish and of course there are American Indian words too, Algonquin and Iroquoian words are sprinkled in there,” he said.
That’s the beauty of Pittsburghese. Although it may not be considered a sexy accent, it’s unique to Pittsburgh created by different language traditions from all over the world.
“That’s the beauty of it is you have these different language traditions that have come together to create something special and unique and that’s what Pittsburghese is to me,” Masich said.
Our accent may sound unattractive, especially to outsiders, and it may not sound the sexiest, but it’s certainly unique and will always mean home to Pittsburghers.