Yo!: Tawkin' Fluffyan
Wish You Were Here...
The Cheese Steak
(Hey! Speaking Philadelphian)
In Philadelphia, they call they way they talk "Fluffyan." That's the way the name of the city is pronounced, if you're from Fluffya. It's sort of like swallowing syllables the way a fan of “dah Fills” (The Phillies baseball team) might swallow a “jeez take” (cheesetake), the Fluffyan national dish.
If you've seen the 1976 movie "Rocky," you've heard Fluffyan spoken like a near-native. Sylvester Stallone nailed the accent and the lingo perfectly, as well as the attitude ('addytood'). As the never-say-die prizefighter Rocky Balboa, Stallone says "yo" a lot. At one point Balboa, the neighborhood wanna-be prize fighter -- who is courting his soon-to-be sweetheart and wife, Adrian -- says: "Yo, Adrian, I'm not used to tawkin' to a door."
Stallone as Rocky|
To be fair, there's another variation of Philadelphian spoken in the area - don't ever call it a 'neighborhood' - known as the Main Line. Think Katherine Hepburn in "The Philadelphia Story," or Grace Kelly (a native Philadelphian) in "High Society."
The Origins of "Yo"
It turns out, Philadelphia didn't invent the word "Yo." The expression dates back to 15th century English, according to an editor of the Dictionary of American Regional English. Hear Peter Clowney of Philadelphia member station WHYY explore the nuances of speaking "Fluffyan."
A Brief Lexicon of Fluffyan
A cup uh cawfee: A cup of coffee
Bee Yoo Dee Full: Beautiful
It Lee: Italy
Jeez Take: Cheesesteak (thinly sliced steak on a small, long roll)
Jeez Take Wid/Widout: Cheesteak with or without onions (available at Pat's, 9th & Passyunk ('Passhunk' in Fluffyan)
Jeet Yet?: Have you eaten yet?
No, ‘Joo?: No, have you?
Payment: A sidewalk
Pixture: A photograph
Sow Fluffya: South Philadelphia
Widges: With all of you ("Can I go widges to the game?")
Yo, Supp?: Hi, what’s up?
Yo, hon: What guys say to girls in Philly
Youse: More than one of you
Yiz: A variation of 'youse'
Yizzle: You all will