The NY Times has a regular weekly feature consisting of humorous squibs about life in the Big City. Today’s had two of linguistic interest:

I was at a hip New York bar recently celebrating my boyfriend’s birthday.
At the table next to us were a group of out-of-towners discussing their plans to visit the Empire State Building the following day.
Needing help with transportation, one of the women turned to our party and said, “Do y’all ride the subway?”
Before we could answer, she asked a follow-up question: “Oh, wait, are y’all from here?”
Our group replied in unison, “Yes.”
The thoughtful tourist paused for a moment and then quickly rephrased her question: “Excuse me, do youse guys ride the subway?”
       Jamie L. Rubin

Dear Diary:
Being a teacher and writer of Irish Gaelic—a minority language even in Ireland—and new to the New York area, I was eager to find out if there were other Irish speakers in the city. I found, to my delight, that a group met regularly in a Midtown bar.
Having first arranged by e-mail to meet them, I arrived at the bar and scanned the clientele. Indeed, around a table was a group deep in conversation, and I asked them in Irish if I could join them. “Why not?” came the reply in Irish, and I sat down with them and ordered a drink. It seemed strange to me that none of their names were familiar, but they seemed more than happy to talk to me, if a little puzzled.
After five minutes of inconclusive stop-start conversation, however, one of them finally asked me why I, a total stranger, had joined their group.
Beginning to realize my error, and somewhat embarrassed, I looked around the bar again. This time, behind a screen in the restaurant at the end of the bar, I found my Internet colleagues on their second bottle of wine and amazed to learn that I had, quite by accident, blundered into another group of Irish speakers.
The first group, no less astonished, came up to us before they left the bar and, amid much laughter, we wondered how many more of us were lurking around the city’s corners.
       Brian Ó Broin


  1. Is there a word for slipping (sub/un/consciously) into a regional dialect?

  2. It’s so cool to be bilingual/bi-dialectical.

  3. I found both charming and nice.
    QUESTION: I have a vignette of sorts that I would like to submit to Metropolitan Diary.
    How would I go about getting it into the right hands?
    John Luke

  4. Each Metro Diary column ends:
    Observations for this column may be sent to Metropolitan Diary at diary@nytimes .com or to The New York Times, 229 West 43rd Street, New York, N.Y. 10036. Please include your name, mailing address and daytime telephone number; upon request, names may be withheld in print. Submissions become the property of The Times and cannot be returned. They may be edited, and may be republished in all media.

  5. evelyn godman says

    Our 5 and a half year old grandchild Rachel loves to dress up as a princess so we were surprised when she didn’t immediately dress up in her requested costume for Hanukah.
    Several days later when her father who was concerned about his health reported that he would
    be fine,Rachel donned her special costume and said,”I didn’t want to be anyone else if Daddy was sick.”

  6. No offence, but how is your comment relevant to to anything on this page, evelyn godman?

  7. The noise of the honking of car horns is always a problem in the city. I’ve often wondered what a good solution would be to stop drivers from blowing their horns. While in Chicago this summer, I think I found the solution. I observed a street sign that said, “Honk if you love your wife”. One could hear the silence for miles!!!

  8. Nowadays your commenters are geeks; back in 2004, when just anyone read blogs, they were weird.

  9. David Marjanović says

    The noise of the honking of car horns is always a problem in the city.

    In Vienna it’s simply been banned.

  10. Stu Clayton says

    Honk for Jesus

  11. The phone number Evelyn entered as her website is registered to an actual Godman family so I suspect she was an actual grandmother doing what grandmothers did on the web in 2006: typing in the wrong textbox on the wrong website. If hat expunges the number the Godmans might notice a reduction in calls from weirdos nerds and robots.

  12. Good call; the number has been expunged.

  13. Don’t honk in vain.
    Wait, I need to copyright a bumper sticker…

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