Sunday, March 27, 2011

Coney Island Blues

Coney Island Blues by jankor
Coney Island Blues, a photo by jankor on Flickr.

The old features get razed, and so the history of this famous site in South Brooklyn.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Praised Language

"How to Avoid Huge Ships", "Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers", "People Who Don't Know They're Dead", or "The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories" - nothing is too far fetched to score in a competition of the oddest book title of the year. If you have a minute or two, I recommend browsing at least through the list in the Wikipedia article for the Diagram Prize (see just below) - I promise, you won't regret it.

The Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year, originally known as the Diagram Group Prize for the Oddest Title at the Frankfurt Book Fair, commonly known as the Diagram Prize for short, is a humorous literary award that is given annually to the book with the oddest title. Wikipedia article

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (BLFC) is a tongue-in-cheek contest that takes place annually and is sponsored by the English Department of San José State University in San Jose, California. Entrants are invited "to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels" – that is, deliberately bad. According to the official rules, the prize for winning the contest is "a pittance", or $250.
Wikipedia article

The Lyttle Lytton Contest is a diminutive derivative of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, and was first run in the year 2001. Both are tongue-in-cheek contests that take place annually and in which entrants are invited "to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels." The Lyttle Lytton Contest varies from the Bulwer-Lytton in favouring extremely short first sentences, of 25 words or fewer. Since 2008, the maximum word count was increased to 33 words.
Wikipedia article

And to illustrate all this, here is the blog post 11 Strangest How-To Books, loaded with title pictures and Amazon links, followed by the like Yet Another 12 Insanely Titled Books and Another 10 Insanely Titled Books and 15 Most Insanely Titled Books, and...

Sunday, March 06, 2011


Whatchawaidinfoar? New Yawk Tawlk isn't that easy to accomplish - especially if you don't want to give away that you are not from here (unlike the real local pictured above I recently met in Madison Square). This problem isn't new - and was addressed already in the olden times. If you check out the 1938 Almanac for New Yorkers (14.5 MB, p. 114 f.), you'll find some extraordinarily funny descriptions of the local way to speak. Do you mind if I quote?

In a manner of Speaking.......

IT IS FUTILE to quibble with academicians who deny that New Yorkers speak English, since herewith is presented sufficient evidence to prove that New Yorkese, however the savants may classify it, is at least as fruity and full-flavored as ever proper English could be.

Braykidup, braykidup: Policeman's suggestion to any group of loiterers.

Wazzitooyuh? Delicate rebuff to an excessively curious questioner.

Invitation to a brawl.

: Sophisticated expression of polite incredulity.

To a gentleman with facial contusions or (colloq.) a shiner.

: One third of the vocabulary necessary to operate an elevator.

: Another third of the vocabulary necessary to elevator operators.

: The remaining third.

: "Please remove it from sight immediately."

: Expressing specific disagreement, with undertones of disparagement.

Statnylant: The place on the horizon where good ferries go.

Whuzzup? Request for information, any information.

Waddadajintzdoodisaft? "Did the New York National League baseball team win today, I hope?" (Except in Brooklyn)

Ladderide: Warning not to pursue the subject further.

Hootoadjuh? "Please give the source of your information."

Whyntchalookeryagoyn? Rhetorical expression of relief used (by motorists esp.) after a near-collision.

Filladuppigen: To a sympathetic bartender. Eventually elicits the response ....

Toovadanuffbud: From the same sympathetic bartender.

Duhshuh-ul: An underground railway connecting Times Square and Grand Central Terminal.

Domeblokadoor: An usher, or guard, in full cry.

Sowaddyasaybabe or Hozzabotutbabe: Prelude to romance.

Steptiddyrearidybuspleez: Bus driver's request whenever two or three passengers are gathered together.

Nyesplayshagottere: On first looking into a friend's apartment.

Welyecut: Antiphonal response for host and hostess.

Saddy: Last day of the week.

Sumpmscroowie: A note of suspicion.

Plennyaseatsnabalkny: Optimism outside a motion picture theater; not entirely trustworthy.

Scramltoowisydafrench: a short-order is given.

Onnafyah: A short-order is being prepared.

Wahgoozidoo? Cynical dejection.

Assawayigoze: Philosophical interjection for conversational lulls.
(C. D. H. & J. R.)

Thanks to Shawn Chittle for this peculiar find!

Listen yourself

Rocketboom New York spoke with dialect designer and dialect coach Amy Stoller to find out about NY's lingo secrets:

And ya can imagine, therawre plenty moar funny vids of howta acquire da rite accent...