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I'm from Wusstahmass

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Sure people from Worcester talk funny.

People from Mississippi talk funny. So do Minnesotans, Oregonians and New Yorkers. Especially New Yorkers.

The bigger question is why does Worcester have a lake, a village, college and an avenue named Quinsigamond, but they're scattered around the city like leaves in the fall?

No, it doesn't make sense unless you know that the community was called Quinsigamond long before it was called Worcester. It's an Indian word that means: "Boy, do these folks talk strange."

If you're a newcomer and you find the local language throws you for a loop, we've assembled a handy guide. Before we get to that, let's start with how not to pronounce Worcester.

Don't make it three syllables. Just forget that first E is even there. And never, never, never put an H in the middle of Worcester. People will make fun of you.

So, how do you correctly pronounce Worcester to make people think you've been shopping at Spag's on Saturdays and going to Water Street on Sunday mornings your whole life?

You've dropped the first E and boiled it down to two syllables. Now eliminate both R's. While you're at it, better get that C out of there. Make the remaining sort of an AH and turn the O into a U.

Wuss-tah. It doesn't rhyme with sister or rooster. The first syllable rhymes with puss. Go ahead and say it. Wuss-tah.

Now you're almost ready to walk into a spa in the village and order a regular coffee and maybe a couple of tonics and a grinder or club.

One more thing. Always include your state as part of your hometown, as in: "I'm from Wusstahmass."

Confused? The following guide to the peculiarities of the Central Massachusetts dialect should help:

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Boston Turnpike = Route 9 east of Worcester

Bubblah = Water fountain

Candlepin Bowlin' = Invented in Worcester in 1880 by Justin P. White, and a far superior game to Ten Pin, a form of bowling known locally simply as "big balls."

Cellah = Basement

Club sandwich = Italian sub

Dine-ah = Good food cheap, but it's only a diner if it was made by Worcester Lunch Car Co.

Dinnah = Lunch

Elastic = Rubbah band

Frappe = Ice cream, milk and flavored syrup. (A milkshake leaves out the ice cream.)

Grindah = Sub sandwich

Jimmies = Chocolate sprinkles

The Lake = Quinsigamond

Package Store = Place to buy beer and liquor 'Packy' - Shorthand for package store

Parlor = Living room

Piazza = Porch

Pricker, Pricker Bush = A burr or other vegetation that grows on a bush and sticks to your clothing. Some use the same word for any bush with thorns.

The Pike = The Massachusetts Turnpike

Regular coffee = Fully caffeinated with cream and sugar.

Spa = A corner store with soda fountain

Square = All rotaries are squares, but not all squares are rotaries

Three-deckah = Not a sandwich, but a house with three floors, big apartments, hundreds of stairs and nowhere close to enough parking.

Tonic = Soda (of any flavor or brand)

Wormtown = Slang for Worcester

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How to say it:

Auburn = AW-bin

Aunt = AHnt

Berlin = BURL-in

Clinton = Klint'n

Ha'past = 30 minutes after the hour, as in: "we're gonna eat lunch at ha'past 12"

Lake Chargoggagoggmanchaugagoggchaubunagungamaugg = Wep-stah Lake

Leicester = Less-tah

Leominster = Lemon-stah

Millbury = Mill-bree

New York = NooYawk (Rhymes with talk)

Northboro = Nohth-bro (also, West-bro, South-bro and Marl-bro)

Petersham = Peters-am

Pizza = Pete-zer

Shrewsbury = SHOES-bree

Southbridge = Sowt-bridge

Tatnuck = Tatnick

Westminster = West-minstah

With = Witch, as in: "Who ya got witch ya", or "I'll be witch ya in a minute." (Alternate pronunciation: Wit. "I'll be right wit ya.")

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