Hamburg, cricks, and explosions / Hamburg, tortícolis, y explosiones

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

My most serious girlfriend at university — let’s call her K — (there were a few not so serious ones) was from a suburb of Rochester, New York, about 14 miles east of Brockport. It often felt like we were from different planets. Brockport is about 370 miles northwest of where I grew up. New Yorkers (the city variety) often pronounced the word “radiator” as “RAD-iator.” I pronounced the final “r,” although my mother would have said it was silent. I told K I was going to turn on the RAD-iator and she said, “The what?” When I repeated my semi-New York City version, she smiled and asked, “What does it do?” to which I easily replied, “It radiates heat,” which I pronounced “RAY-diates.” I immediately knew she had made her point.

I thought of this because of Saturday’s post about Sloppy Joes, ground beef, and hamburger. K didn’t make hamburgers, she made hamburgs. She also — like San Geraldo who grew up 1,180 miles further west — called soda “pop” and pronounced creek “crick.” I could go on for years about differences in pronunciation and word usage.

The sky at 7:30 this morning was layers of brilliant orange and blue. But I seriously had to pee, so I thought I’d get pictures after I relieved myself. By the time I finished moments later, the sky was no longer brilliant. Ah well. I’ll instead share a photo of Dog & Love, our nearby pet supply and home decor shop. I’d like to bring home one of those giant reindeer for the cats.

The other photos are from the candle-lighting ceremony at my bar mitzvah reception (my 13th birthday when I apparently became “a man”). Honored family members were invited to light an individual candle with me — from aunts and uncles to great aunts and uncles and grandparents. There were too many in the family, so I would surreptitiously wet my fingers and “outen” a flame every now and again. At the end, Dale and The Kid Brother along with our parents re-lit two candles and we blew them out together. Except The Kid Brother who put his hands over his ears and giggled “It’s gonna ’splode!” The video explains where he got that idea.


Mi novia más seria en la universidad, llamémosla K, (había unas no tan serias) era de un suburbio de Rochester, Nueva York, a unas 14 millas al este de Brockport. A menudo se sentía como si fuéramos de diferentes planetas. Brockport está a unas 370 millas al noroeste de donde crecí. Los neoyorquinos (la variedad de la ciudad) a menudo pronunciaban la palabra “radiator” [radiador] como “RAD-iator”, que suena más como lo hace en español que la forma inglesa de pronunciar la primera sílaba como “rey”. Pronuncié la “r” final, aunque mi madre hubiera dicho que era silenciosa. Le dije a K que iba a encender el RADiator y ella dijo: “¿El qué?” Cuando repetí mi versión de la ciudad de Nueva York, sonrió y preguntó: “¿Qué hace?” a lo que respondí fácilmente: “It REY-diates heat” [irradia calor]. Inmediatamente supe que ella había hecho su punto.

Pensé en esto debido a la publicación del sábado sobre Sloppy Joes, carne molida y hamburguesa. K no hizo hamburgers (hamburguesas), ella hizo hamburgs. Ella también, al igual que San Geraldo, que creció 1,180 millas más al oeste, llamaba soda (como Coca Cola) “pop” y pronunciaba creek [riachuelo] “crick” [tortícolis]. Podría continuar durante años sobre las diferencias en la pronunciación y el uso de palabras.

El cielo a las 7:30 de esta mañana tenía capas de naranja y azul brillante. Pero en serio tenía ganas de orinar, así que pensé en tomar fotos después de hacer mis necesidades. Cuando terminé momentos después, el cielo ya no era brillante. Ah bueno. En cambio, compartiré una foto de Dog & Love, nuestra tienda cercana de suministros para mascotas y decoración del hogar. Me gustaría llevar a casa uno de esos renos gigantes para los gatos.

La otra foto es de la ceremonia de encendido de velas en la recepción de mi bar mitzvah (mi cumpleaños número 13 cuando aparentemente me convertí en “un hombre”). Miembros de la familia honrados fueron invitados a encender una vela individual conmigo, desde tías y tíos hasta tías y tíos abuelos y abuelos. Había demasiados en la familia, así que me mojaba los dedos a escondidas y “apagaba” una llama de vez en cuando. Al final, Dale y The Kid Brother junto con nuestros padres volvieron a encender dos velas y las apagamos juntos. Excepto The Kid Brother, que se tapó los oídos con las manos y soltó una risita: “¡Va a estallar!”. El video explica de dónde sacó esa idea.

• I should have been a trumpet player.
• Debería haber sido trompetista.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

36 thoughts on “Hamburg, cricks, and explosions / Hamburg, tortícolis, y explosiones”

  1. The cats would LOVE those reindeer; I know mine would.
    And look at those stunning jackets on you men! I don’t know if it’s a bat mitzvah or a Vegas Lounge act, but I love!

    1. Bob:
      Our cats would probably hide for a couple of hours and then love the reindeer. Blue paisley brocade tuxedos. We were too cool for school. At the time, I couldn’t understand why my father didn’t want one, as well.

  2. What a smart occasion your Bar Mitvah was – love the jacket! I have something similar, but nowadays it won’t button up across my belly 😮

    As for regional pronunciations, Great Britain is but a small island, but up and down the country the range of accents, words for things, and pronunciations [“cAstle” vs “cARstle”, “bAth” vs “bARth”, for example] vary wildly. I can only imagine how dizzyingly the variations are in a country as big as the US… Jx

    1. Jon:
      Regional accents and word usage is very entertaining. When we first arrived in Sevilla, we rode with a taxi driver who moved there from Pamplona. He sad for the first 6 months, he nodded his head a lot having no idea what people were saying. The bar mitzvah was a huge event and included Walter Liebow and his Orchestra. Can you believe it?

  3. In Cleveland it’s pop. Right after I graduated from high school, I went down to Florida to visit some relatives who mostly grew up there, and my one cousin was like “Why are you calling it pop? It’s soda!”

    I’m not Jewish, but I would love to have the Three Stooges cater my birthday party, even at the risk of exploding cake.

    1. Kirk:
      The Kid Brother would have been in heaven with The Stooges. In Boston, soda (er… pop) is called tonic, as in, “Would you like a tonic?” “Yeah. Give me a Coke.”

  4. In Canada we call Coke/Pepsi/etc ‘pop’. Maybe it’s SG’s and your old girlfriend’s close proximity to Canada that they grew up with ‘pop’.
    Bar Mitzvah’s must be something kids really look forward to, right?
    Can’t believe how much we looked alike at that age.

    1. Jim:
      Nice theory about the proximity to Canada. In Boston, soft drinks are all called Tonic. “Do we have any tonic?” “Yeah, we’ve got Coke and Fanta.” Bar mitzvahs were often huge. Like weddings. Mine was something else.

  5. It’s so funny to hear how words are said differently and certain parts of the country or even in the same area. I’ve always called it soda but here you do hear a lot of ” Pop”. Crick is the other big one you hear too inadditon to roof…..said by many as a dog barking er-oof. Always cracks me up when people say those words.

    1. Mistress Borghese:
      I was going to mention roof and root beer, but it was too much trouble trying to explain those in Spanish… especially since root beer doesn’t even exist here. SG likes to si on the ruff and looks at the crick while drinking his pop. He prefers rutt beer.

      1. Mistress Borghese:
        When trying to get SG to pronounce root “correctly,” I asked him what he does for the home team. “Rutt rutt rutt!” he said.

  6. The Bar Mitzvah candle tradition is a lovely expression of family love and support.
    I love those tubby reindeer!

    1. Chrissoup:
      I do seriously want one or both of those reindeer. Probably not for sale, though, which is a good thing. Where would I stash them the rest of the year?

  7. On the Canadian prairies, we call pop or soda “soft drinks.” “Soft” means non-alcoholic because “hard” means liquor. A “pop” is a beer.

    Love that photo of you and your siblings with the cake and bar mitzvah candles!

    1. Debra:
      Soft drinks was the proper way of describing them. Still seen on menus. Here, the generic term, like soft drinks, is refrescos. I never knew pop was beer were you are. I’d love to send in a bunch of mid-Westerners (or Upstate New Yorkers) and tell them to order a round of pop.

  8. Fantastic pictures! Ah, yes, the Three Stooges — the bane of pretty much every adult everywhere.

    I do love regional pronunciations. I wonder if those are disappearing as our media homogenizes the culture more and more.

    1. Steve:
      Amazingly The Kid Brother was aware enough, during his Three Stooges replays, to pull his punches.

      I, too, wonder about regional pronunciations. When I’m in New York, I hear more and more school kids with purer, non-regional accents. Even in South Dakota, many of the old terms and pronunciations have been homogenized. Although those Midwestern Os still dominate.

  9. There are lots of regional terminology differences on the Canadian prairies. A jelly filled donut is called a “jam buster” in Manitoba. A kangaroo pocket hoodie is called a “bunnyhug” in Saskatchewan. And beer can be anything from a “barley sandwich” to a “pil” (for Pilsner). And most Canadians will understand the reference of getting a “two four”, i.e., a case of 24 beers, LOL!

    Great photos of your bar mitzvah — your tuxedos were pretty snazzy!

    1. Tundra Bunny:
      I have never heard any of these. In NYC, a jelly-filled donut was a jelly donut. In South Dakota, it was a Bismarck. I grew up calling those hoodies, “hooded sweathshirts.” Never heard of a hoodie until the early 2000s. I’d be embarrassed to shop for a bunnyhug. The rest of these are wonderful and now I can blend right in the next time I’m in Manitoba, Saskatchewan or anywhere in Canada. Eh?

  10. Funny video clip, when connected to Chuck 🙂
    We called them hamburgs, too. Made of hamburger. Barbecued on the grill 🙂 None of our NJ houses had RAYdeee-AY-ters, but we would have called them that, not RADD… anything. I love pronunciation stuff!

    I LOVE your jackets.

    1. Judy C:
      I really could play this game forever. The comments have been so eye opening. Those jackets were brocade. The photos don’t do them justice.

  11. Ken and I are enjoying our perennial discussion of whether it’s THANKS-giving or thanks-GIVING. Being a New Yorker, I’m in the latter camp. He’s from south-central-eastern-North-Carolina (or some such), so he’s in the former. Y’all.

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      I forgot about that. Like IN-surance as opposed to in-SURance. You can always tell a Southerner… but you can’t tell him much.

  12. Look at you all dressed up and a brand new man. Growing up in Kansas we said pop. When we moved to Maryland, someone told me, I know you’re not from here because you say pop, so we switched to saying soda and that’s still what I say. I have heard “hamburg” in a couple of old movies from the ’40s, but have never heard it said otherwise.


    1. janiejunebug:
      If you had moved to Boston, you’d be saying tonic. I found that one confusing.

  13. I live in a world of word slippage ~my new word 😉 ~ from crackers to biscuits well that’s a start ~ my brain is having fart attack right now!

    1. Ron:
      Was that supposed to be from soup to nuts? You and SG might even understand each other.

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