It’s very different from the King’s English, you know, and probably can’t lay claim to any Latin or Greek origins, either. The American language is wonderfully its own, varying from region to region, state to state, and packed with dandy words and expressions, like rumpelkammer (MI), flug (KS), goozle (Gulf region), and pinkletink (Martha’s Vineyard).
The trick is figuring out what the Hell they mean. Seriously. Let’s say someone asks if you’d like a snuggy, how do you answer? Is a snuggy desirable or something to avoid? Is it a drink? A sweater? What? When offered a choice between a smidget and a whoopensocker, which do you choose? And should you thank the person who calls you chinchy? Or punch ‘em?
See? You need an American to English Dictionary to decipher the vast treasure trove of terms. And, surprisingly, there is such a thing. It’s called the Dictionary of American Regional English and consists of five weighty (and kind of pricey) volumes. Simply compiling the words took more than 50 years — Americans are nothing if not verbose. And, judging by this, we can also be quite eloquent at times.
Aren’t they a hoot? Imagine if terms like these had been bandied about in the Presidential Debates. The dialogue, at least, would’ve been entertaining. Instead, we all just feel sneetered.
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