In my ongoing quest to catalog how my dialect is different from other English speakers, here are a few more words and expressions that apparently only I say:
- Salvadoran. Everyone else in the office says “Salvadorean” or “Salvadorian.” Never heard those before in my life. I did a search through the Seattle Times archives, and found hundreds of examples of the word “Salvadoran” and five each of “Salvadorean” and “Salvadorian.”
- shi-shi. Meaning ‘pretentious,’ most often said of restaurants, but also stores and other establishments. I actually remember having a word, a different word, but then I think Seinfeld said a place was too shi-shi and then everybody switched to that word. None of the English speakers in my office had ever heard that usage; I suspect it’s a California word.
- with a bullet. I’ve been saying this one a lot lately referring to SpanishPod’s rocket ride to the #2 on the iTunes Educational Podcast Top 10.
- kype. I’ve never actually said this here in China, because I always thought it was a pure seattlism. I’m kind of stunned to have found in at the urbandictionary.
- flake. I actually learned this word from a friend from LA. A ‘flake’ is a person who is unreliable.’ ‘To flake’ is to back out of something you had already agreed to, especially when others had made plans based on your participation. This is different than ‘to ditch’ (to abandon, or to leave without saying goodbye), ‘to dog’ (to avoid someone), or ‘to bug out’ (to leave early). You can say someone is flaky if they say they’ll call but they don’t. The gesture for flakiness is brushing the imaginary dandruff off your shoulder.
- Here’s an example of the word carefrontation (not quite in the wild); this page kind of makes me snork a little.