|Slang City Mail|
|February 7, 2008|
Slang of the Week: bang a uey/Uey (verb phrase)
Though bang a uey is still going strong, many regional terms are not. Some Boston neighborhoods still have the traditional spas (a local convenience store, often family run), but more and more, when a spa opens, it offers pedicures and skin treatments. Tonic, meaning carbonated beverage, is being supplanted by the synonym soda. (Neither of those are used in the Midwest, by the way, where people call it pop and think of tonic as something you drink with gin.)
You can still find “frappes” (milkshakes) on some local menus, but twenty years ago, you could walk into a McDonald’s in Boston and the menu would have a handwritten “frappe” sign taped over the more universal “milkshake.” Apparently managers thought that locals would not be able to figure it out otherwise. Spuckies (submarine sandwiches) have fared less well; perhaps victims of the ubiquitous Subway chain, they are rare these days.
But while much of Boston’s special vocabulary seems to be headed the way of the dinosaur, the accent is still alive and well. Outsiders might think people only talk that way in movies, but the subway conductors still announce your arrival in Hah-vid Skway-yuh (also known as Harvard Square) and we are blessed with a mayor whose accent is so pronounced that even Bostonians can’t understand him.