View Full Version : You Take the Highway, I'll take ... (Regionalism)
05-30-2000, 11:26 PM
So how do people in your part of the country (or world) refer to the larger highways? Here in Northern California, one distinguishing feature -- at least from Southern Californians -- is that we say "101" or "50" instead of "the 405" or "the 101" (i.e. no article). Does the rest of the country use articles when talking about numbered freeways or not? I'll use the article only when saying the name, hence "The Nimitz" is also "880" with no article. Highway 1 is almost always Highway 1 since "One" is odd-sounding unless context is crystal clear.
I can think of other usages that seem to be only in other places, but I don't know for sure. For example keeping "US" in front of highways, as in "US 299". Or referring to "the Interstate" in places where there is only one nearby. I like it, but I've only heard it used in songs or stories. (One couldn't use it here since there's 8 in the Bay Area. Of course, only one actually leaves the state). What about 'I' for interstate? The only common ones you hear here are "I-5" or "I-80".
So let's hear where you're from, and what you call it. (And I will defend (to a point) some of these usages, but mostly I'm just wondering.)
"Only when it believes something to be rare does the mind cease to be miserly ... The hunger to see properly is what drives people to travel in strange places."
05-31-2000, 12:09 AM
I'm in Baltimore, and there are a number of interstates here. When referring to them we usually use just the number, as in "95," since most of them have designated names for only sections, as in the "Jones Falls Expressway" for I-83, or the Beltway, I-695. When the road in question has multiple names, the route number alone is usually used.
For U.S. highways, the route number alone is used almost exclusively, as in "Route 1," "Route 40," and "Route 50"
05-31-2000, 12:11 AM
I was saying...no definite article is used. In fact, the use of one, or the word freeway will quickly brand one as being from out of state.
05-31-2000, 12:48 AM
This one gets funny here.
We have I-55. Called "I-55 North" or "I-55 South" depending on where you need to go. Also refered to as "55" with directional aids mentioned before. "It's on 55 north."
There is I-20, shortened to "20".
There is I-220 (connecting 55 and 20)
There is 80. This is a Highway, does not leave the state, but is called 80 anyway.
there is Highway 49. Most often refered to as "49" with directional aids. "It's on 49 South."
God help you if you actually need to know if it's a Interstate Highway or US Highway.
06-04-2000, 03:23 PM
I definitely noticed my usage of "freeway" declining after moving to NJ nearly 10 years ago. I now use "the turnpike" or "the parkway" for the two major interstates and "whatever number" for the rest. Beyond the borders of NJ, the Turnpike is "the 95."
Having grown up in Southern California, I never noticed my usage of the article before the freeway number (even said THE Golden State for the 5), but you're right, panama jack. However, I remember calling Highway 1 "Pacific Coast Highway" (or, more rarely, "PCH"). Maybe this is a Southern California thing.
06-04-2000, 03:42 PM
Well panamajack, I remembered when I lived in L.A. in the early eighties they had all kinds of names for I-5 besides the number. I remember it being called "The Golden State Freeway", "The Santa Ana Freeway" and a couple more I don't recall. However when I lived in Oregon, I don't remember a name for I-5, though other state highways had names like "McKenzie Highway". In Texas, I never knew any name for I-35 other than that. And here in New Jersey, as brachyrhynchos mentioned, I-95 is known as "The New Jersey Turnpike".
06-04-2000, 10:47 PM
I'm in Rochester, MN, and we usually just refer to just the number and the direction, like "take 52 north." No article. I've often heard "I-52" too, but it's less common.
There are no interstates anywhere near my hometown, though. The nearest is about 50 miles away, near Mason City and Clear Lake, IA, and if I'm not mistaken, there's just the one, I-90, I think, but it could be I-35. It doesn't matter, it's always just referred to as "the interstate." Like, "go to Mason City, get on the interstate."
So yeah, "the interstate" is common usage in bum-f***ed Iowa.
06-05-2000, 02:00 AM
Native Angeleno (Los Angeles) chiming in here.. Yes, we just say "the" in front of every freeway, highway, interstate. There are too many of them, who can keep track of which is which? All I know is that to get to my hometown, you take the 5 to the 134 to the 210, get off Pensylvania Ave...you get the idea. ;) My life revolves around which freeway I am near. Also, use of the freeway name, as in The San Diego Freeway, the Golden State Freeway, etc., is common.
Recently I moved to a nondescript Midwestern state, and didn't really notice that the locals here say "I-70" and the like. One day a co-worker mentioned that she could tell I was from LA, because I put "the" in front of the freeways. Now I notice that I say it, but it's too late to change, and I don't really care to. One guy got a little annoyed by how I said it (it's different, see? That means it's baaad!) but tough shit.
Other regionalisms I am curious about: In LA, we often talk about "surface streets", meaning non-freeway streets. Like when someone gets off the freeway to take surface streets (through town, etc.) Is that an L.A. term, or is it widespread? I don't think I can recall anyone using it out where I am now, but I don't always pay attention to these things.
Also, people call their license plates "tags". Meaning the actual plates that you put on your car. I always thought the "tags" were the stickers that you put on the license plate to renew their registration. So I always get confused when someone says they are "getting new tags" and come out with entirely new license plates.
AND... No one calls car titles "pink slips" out here. I hear the term "pink slip" used on TV and movies frequently in reference to car ownership titles, but I get blank looks out here. I had the devil of a time getting my car title transferred. The ignorant woman at the DMV insisted that California titles are green (they are now, but for ages they have been pink, and my car is old.) She told me to write to Sacramento and get a "real" title. It took a second visit to the DMV to convince her that I did have a valid "pink slip". I even asked her - "Haven't you ever seen any TV shows of movies where they talk about 'pink slips'?" Apparently not. Her face was red when she finally was convinced of the truth by an old-timer DMV co-worker.
06-05-2000, 05:46 PM
"Pink slip," in my experience, refers to something they give you when you're fired. I've never seen one, though; it's something used in conversation only, perhaps, or in movies or on TV.
Regarding interstates and highways, it seems here in Kentucky we use all variations. I grew up in a rural county, but it had I-71 running through it. We called it "the interstate" or "71." It was built in the early 70s and not far from the memory of those who used to travel the U-S highway that parallels it, U-S 42, which is either "US 42" or "42." We also have a few parkways here; that's their actual names, so you talk about going on the Bluegrass Parkway, or the Western Kentucky Parkway or, depending on context, "the parkway." Until recently, you had to pay a toll. I've never heard anyone say "the 42" or "the 71" 'round here.
Route is used here, too. How do you say it -- "root" or "rowt" ? That's one that I can never figure out what the indigenous pronouceation is.
06-05-2000, 06:37 PM
And that goes for Rte 1 too. Actually I say it both ways.
06-05-2000, 06:45 PM
My personal glossary:
Hiway: Large road with (infrequent) stop lights.
Freeway: Large road with no stops. All interstates are freeways, large sections of other roads (parts of US101) can be included.
Turnpike: Didn't actually see one until I was 22 and visited the east coast, but it is a hiway or freeway you pay to be on.
Parkway: I don't believe this word is in my active vocabulary.
As for how to refer to the roads. I grew up in Vancouver, WA. There are two interstates in the area and one major state road:
I-5 was I-5
I-205 was the 205
SR 500 was 500
So we seem to have had all three systems in Vancouver. When I lived in Seattle all interstates were I-whatever. Other roads had names that were used rather than numbers.
I'm not really sure of this one, but it seems to me that in Hawaii the three interstates are referred to as H1, H2, and H3. I know this is accurate for H3, but it has only been open for three years so maybe a more vernacular name simply hasn't developed yet (or has developed since I left).
06-06-2000, 10:05 AM
"Parkway" is the generic term in the New York City area (including Long Island and northern New Jersey). Lots of parkways in that area (reflecting Robert Moses): The Northern State Parkway, the Southern State Parkway, the Meadowbrook Parkway, the Taconic Parkway, the Saw Mill River Parkway, the Hutchinson River Parkway, the Bronx River Parkway, etc. Two characteristics of parkways are that they usually have no route number at all and that trucks and buses are forbidden (the clearance was deliberate set so low they'd crash into all the bridges).
Those in the New York City refer to the highways by their names. "Parkway" is often dropped (i.e., the Northern State, the Taconic), as are other road names (i.e, the Cross-Bronx Expressway is called "The Cross-Bronx"). Some use initials; there's the LIE or for Long Island Expressway, BQE for Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the FDR Drive, etc.
I don't know of any highway in the NYC area that is consistently referred to by its route number. This is probably because a lot of the roads predate the Interstate system.
I live in Schenectady, where there's a combination. The two major highways are The New York State Thruway ("the Thruway") and the Adirondack Northway ("the Northway" -- named the most scenic highway in America by Look Magazine). Newer roads don't have names, and are referred to by their route numbers. Usually there's an I if it's two digits (I-90 -- part of the Thruway is officially I-90, but I-90 never refers to the Thruway) and just the number if it's three (890 or 787).
06-06-2000, 10:26 AM
...Route is used here, too. How do you say it -- "root" or "rowt" ? That's one that I can never figure out what the indigenous pronouceation is.
Route is pronounced "ROOT" when it's used as a noun: Route 46, Route 17, "What route did you take?"
Pronounced "ROWT" when it's used as a verb: "I was routed through jersey", "the knicks were routed by the pacers" (hehe), "internet routing protocol"
06-06-2000, 12:36 PM
Thanks, Joe~ You're just too cool! :)
vBulletin® v3.7.3, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.