Planning A Trip To Rhode Island? Learn To Speaka Da Language Foist……..

Welcome to Rhode Island - smallest state in the country.

When you live in a state all of your life you never really pay attention to how you say things because, obviously, everyone in the state you live in understand what TF you’re saying.

Like for instance if you live in the deep South and have that Lindsay Graham southern twang in your voice, everybody there completely understands you. But, outside of the South, a lot of us can’t understand what the hell you’re sayin.

Of course, it’s not THAT bad down South because they only speak with that southern twang, use words correctly, and do not drop letters in words when speaking.

BUT……one place that has its own language is Rhode Island….closely followed by Massachusetts and not far behind, Maine.

A must for tourists

A must for tourists

Massachusetts isn’t as bad as R.I. because they DO tend to use all the letters in words but stretch some of them out. Like, “Paaaark the caaarrr in the garaage.”

Maine residents, on the other hand do have an unusual accents that is somewhat close to Massachusetts. Its just that it takes them forever to get the words out of their mouths when you’re in a conversation with them. Only because there’s nothing to do in Maine so I guess they figure, what the hell, might as well drag out a sentence and enjoy the conversation.

Now back to Rhode Island. As I said, and will again, for those of you with short attention spans, I grew up in that state and never once thought my way of speaking was weird.

UNTIL……until recently.slang4

For the record I’ve lived in Connecticut since 2007 and haven’t had much contact with many Rhode Islanders since then. Not because I’m avoiding them, but to travel to my hometown would take over an hour’s ride and besides that, I really don’t know anyone in my hometown anymore.

But, this past week I did venture back to R.I. and on the drive down tuned into a local sports radio program to hear Red Sox stuff. Soooo, this guy calls in and right from the get go I knew he was from Rhode Island.

How? Well, first he mentions that his “sista” and “mudder” listen to this sports show and he also had a lot of “da’s” in his conversation.

Like, yeah, we went to da game and I sez to my brudder, hey dat wuz some bad call dat umpire made.”

Thank Gawd I knew I wanted to be a disc jockey and never fell into that R.I. speak mode.

Might wanna speed thru R.I., and get stopped by a state trooper to appreciate this cartoon

Might wanna speed thru R.I. and get stopped by a state trooper to appreciate this cartoon

But, on occasion, I DO slip and those pesky word pronunciations we Rhode Islander’s tend to slip into conversations comes outta my mouth.

Such as, “sangwich.” Instead of sandwich. Just can’t get that one out of my brain. Or idear instead of idea. Personally I think it should be spelled idear. Or, at the least, ideah.

And, we Rhode Islander’s have a love affair with the letter “R.” (if you live in Massachusetts and are 20 minutes from the R.I. state line, this also applies)

As evidenced by Boston Red Sox announcer Jerry Remy who pronounces Dustin Pedroia’s last name, “Pedroiar.” As well as saying, “the Tamper Bay Rays.”

"Now WAIT! Are your sure its not pronounced Pedr

“Now WAIT! Are your sure its not pronounced Pedroiar?”

We even pronounce Rhode Island, “Rhodediland” like its one word. Go figure.

Yes, there’s mudder, fadder, brudder and sista. And instead of asking you, “did you eat,” in an effort to save time and not waste a lot of useless words, simply ask, “jeet?”

Fortunately I have mastered the English language and have purged many of those Rhode Islandisms from my vocabulary. Um, with the exception of “sangwich” which still is stuck in my brain. BUT…….unlike tourists who visit R.I. and have no freakin’ clue what the hell people are saying sometimes, I can still understand the natives, and STILL pass myself off as a Rhode Islander.

Oh, one more tip if you plan on visiting R.I. this summer. Wanna fit right in? Ask a local where you can find the nearest hot wiener joint. And NEVER say “restaurant.” It’s a R.I. staple and you are not an official Rhode Islander until you have woofed down several hot wieners, along with fries with vinegar on them. I know where each and every hot wiener “joint” is located.

The R.I. survival duo

The R.I. survival duo

And considering you can cross the entire state in 45 minutes, you’re never more than 15 minutes away from any of them. Kind of a life support wiener network.

There are plenty more “Rhode Islandisms” that I have not mentioned, but, fear not, I’m sure if you visit, you’ll pick up on a lot more. Try not to get infected by having them stick in your brain lest you return home and your friends think you’ve been possessed by some evil wordsmith.

But…….all in all, besides thinking “idea” should be “idear” I also think “sandwich” should be pronounced “sangwich.”

Just sayin.’

Special “tanks” to two great Rhode Islanders, Don Bousquet and Mark Patinkin (in memory of Prince)

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Copyright 2016 MisfitWisdom RLV



About misfit120

Former disc jockey, (Dick Jones) 30 years, and author of, "I Could Have Been Famous But Sex, Love & Life Got In The Way" available at books, & Kindle, "The Covert Chamber" a mystery novel available at and Barnes & Noble, and "Forgotten" the story of two WWI pilots who were forgotten for over 70 years available on and Kindle
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