Parents are funny and mine are no exception. The quirks and idiosyncracies of our parents can either embarrass us or endear us. In some part, this is a choice we make.

My dad has own little language that amuses me no end. I can’t really figure out where he picked it up. It’s not indigenous to Minnesota or the bricklaying trade or any other group with which he’s associated. But his brother pulls out a lot of the same vocabulary so maybe it was just a family thing.
The pronunciations are the first thing I notice. Because I have worked with many non-native English speakers, I have no trouble translating to arrive at the proper meaning. If you say these out loud, you will get a better effect.

‘Graim’ as in, graim cracker = Graham
‘Crain’ as in, color crain = Color crayon
‘Eye-talian’ as in, the dressing = Italian dressing
‘gahrrantee’ = guarantee
‘mooslum’ = Muslim
‘goome’ = Gum as in what holds your teeth in place (still calls chewing gum, ‘gum.’ We’re wondering what his dentist thinks about this)
‘Chipol-Tee’ = Chipotle
‘Glakamolee’ = guacamole

He also tends to add an ‘S’ to words that might not normally have them, like Costcos, Cubs (grocery store Cub), Nordstroms, and Barnes & Nobles (that’s a common one). I like it, but it seems to drive my sister crazy.

Sometimes he makes up new names for places and things or refuses to let go of their old names:

Farmer Joe = Trader Joe’s (completely invented)
Poppin’ Fresh = This is actually just the former name of Baker’s Square, but I mean, like twenty years ago. I actually like Poppin’ Fresh better. They ought not to have changed it.
And as for most true Minnesotans, Macy’s will always be Dayton’s.

Old-school lingo–These words died at the turn of the century (like the 20th) but still live on in my dad’s common parlance:

Tic = A down comforter, the thing that goes inside the duvet
Pert’near = conjunction of ‘pretty’ & ‘near,’ synonymous with ‘almost’
Cheerio = Not a British salutation, actually another name for an ice cream treat such as an Eskimo pie or Dilly bar.


One thought on “Dad-speak.

  1. Haha, so sweet. I think I add “s”s to things too. I’m pretty sure we used to call it Cubs, too, and I’m pretty sure I also say Nordstroms. But never Costcos. Sorry to your sister!

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