Where in the world would you be likely to find sculch in your dooryard, or ask for just a dite of cream in your coffee? Martha has the answers in this minicast about some distinctive regional terms.
Download the MP3 here (1.3 MB).
Here’s a linguistic puzzle for you.
Suppose you stopped by my home and said, “Martha, did you know there’s sculch in your dooryard?” That’s right, sculch in my dooryard.
So, in what part of the country would you expect to hear these terms?
The answer? We’d probably be in New England, and most likely Maine. There the word “sculch” means “trash.” And in much of New England and part of New York State, you’ll often hear people refer to the yard near a house as the dooryard.
Over the next few weeks, I want to talk with you about regional expressions like these. Terms that will be perfectly familiar to those who live in one part of the country, but mystifying — or even jarring — to those living somewhere else. Or, as they say in Maine, to someone who is “from away”— that is, anywhere other than their state.
Another word you’ll find mainly in Maine is dite. It’s spelled either D-I-T-E or D-I-G-H-T. In Maine, the word “dite” means “just a little, a smidge.”
As in, “Oh, give me just a dite of butter,” or “Move over just a dite, will you?” It appears the term “dite” comes from a Scots word that means the same thing, and derives in turn, from a Dutch word that means “a small coin.”
Well, that’s just a dite about some of the words you’ll hear in New England, especially in Maine. We want to know what regional expressions you found jarring the first time you heard them. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By the way, if you want to hear some recordings of the distinctive Maine accent, check these out.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go clean out the sculch someone left in my dooryard.