How to Speak in 1938 New York
Thanks to Boogie reader Shawn Chittle for passing along this link to the 1938 Almanac for New Yorkers [PDF]. In the wake of Friday’s post on Bowery slang, it seems rather appropriate to highlight the section on deciphering various city dialects (“In a Manner of Speaking”). Buckle in, this one will have you laughing!
So here it is, how to speak proper New York City English, circa 1938 (pp. 114 – 115):
Braykidup, braykidup: Policeman’s suggestion to any group of loiterers.
Wazzitooyuh? Delicate rebuff to an excessively curious questioner.
Wannamayksumpnuvvit? Invitation to a brawl.
Tsagayg: Sophisticated expression of polite incredulity.
Wattitcha? To a gentleman with facial contusions or (colloq.) a shiner.
Oppkar-goynop: One third of the vocabulary necessary to operate an elevator.
Donkar-goyndon: Another third of the vocabulary necessary to elevator operators.
Ollowayback-Jayzagate: The remaining third.
Takadiway: “Please remove it from sight immediately.”
Domebeeztoopid: 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 ….
Yoovadanuffbud: 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.