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Fughedaboudit! 4 New York City English Slang Words
Lindsay: This is an All Ears English Podcast, Episode 46: Meeting Monday, “Fughedaboudit! New York City English Slang Words.” [Instrumental]
Gabby: Welcome to the All Ears English Podcast, where you’ll finally get real, native English conversation. Now here are your hosts, Lindsay McMahon, the ‘English Adventurer’ and Gabby Wallace, the ‘Language Angel,’ coming to you from Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
In this episode, you’ll learn four street words from New York City, plus how to pronounce English like a New Yorker.
Lindsay: All right guys. So today we’re here with Michael from My Happy English and we’re really excited to have Michael here. Thanks so much for joining us Michael.
Michael: Sure thanks for having me. This is a great (uh) experience. I’m happy about that.
Excellent. Excellent. So Michael is form New York City. He’s lived there his whole life and we brought Michael on to teach you guys some phrases and expressions from New York.
New Yawk (York).
Yeah, so Michael what are you going to teach us today?
Well I think the first thing that (uh), I should show you, I should, we should talk about is pronunciation. Because in New York, we have a little bit of an interesting way of pronouncing some words. (Um) it’s early in the morning right now, have you guys had a cup of kawfee (coffee) yet?
I love my coffee.
As opposed to kawfee (coffee). Coffee.
Coffee. But actually in New York, it’s kawfee (coffee) and I thought (uh) I could show your listeners (um) a usual sentence that we would say here in New York, which would be this: “I’m gonna (going to) walk my dawg (dog) to the kawner (corner) and grab a kawfee (coffee) for a quawter (quarter).” Lindsay:
Wow. That’s incredible. It’s so different even from Boston. It’s so different from Boston.
It is. Totally is. You have to really kind of (uh) concentrate there to understand.
So now is that accent all over New York City? Are we talking about the five boroughs or are we talking about just Brooklyn, just Queens or what?
(Um) I think it’s a little stronger in Brooklyn and Queens, but (uh, uh, uh) certainly in New York. But we drink kawfee (coffee) here. I love kawfee (coffee). I love black kawfee (coffee). (Um) I have a dawg (dog). I like to walk my dawg (dog) and (um) sometimes we go down to the kawner (corner), we can get a kawfee (coffee). Now you can’t get a kawfee (coffee) for a quawter (quarter), but (uh) a quawter (quarter) can get you a piece of gum in a machine, maybe.
Awesome. That is an expert New York accent. I love it.
That’s how we do that in New York. New Yawk (York) Gabby:
That’s fantastic. And do you have any (uh) kind of survival vocabulary words that (uh) students might wanna (want to) know if they’re studying in New York?
Sure. I have a, I have a couple of words that come to mind. (Um) the, the first one is (uh) “agita.” Both:
I’ve never heard that one before. I was even… Michael:
So, so “agita” (um) has kind of two meanings. The first one is, (uh), it’s a heartburn. It’s the way we talk about heartburn from eating something. (Um) if you have a lot of (uh) spicy food or pizza, you could say, “Wow, that piga, that pizza gave me ‘agita.’” Lindsay:
Wow, that’s so funny.
Does that come from the word “agitate” or “agitated”?
It, it, it, it might be. (You know) (um) in the early part of the 20th century there were a lot of Italian immigrants (um) who settled in New York and I think (uh) this word and some of the other words I’m gonna (going to) show you might have come from their culture or their interpretation of English. I’m not really sure of the origin, but we also use “agita” (um) it’s – (you know) if you have heartburn, it, it, it feels (you know) bad in your stomach and (you know) down there and so when you have stress, it’s a very similar feeling so “agita” is also used to mean a stressful feeling from being aggravated by another person.
Gabby: There you go.
Lindsay: Oh, that’s so useful. That’s so interesting.
Michael: Yeah, so – or a situation. So (you know) the train, the trains in New York are never on time, so you could say “Ah, the trains give me ‘agita’.” Gabby:
Definitely. Good one.
Lindsay: Fantastic. That’s a good one to know. I love it. Okay. Well what else do you have for us?
Michael: My friend, my friend Johnny is always complaining about his job. Ah, he gives me ‘agita.’
Gabby: Right, right.
Lindsay: He gives you ‘agita.’ That’s great. It’s so funny. I’ve never heard of that before. Okay, so what else? What else do students need to know if they’re vacationing or studying in New York?
Gabby: That’s a good one. I’ve heard that one.
Michael: We use it all the time. It has a couple of different uses. (Um, um) one, one – the basic use is, it means no way.
Both: No way.
Michael: So are you thinking of having pizza at that place? ‘Fughedaboudit!’ That’s terrible.
Lindsay: And how – give us another example of how we could use that.
Michael: Oh, come on Lindsay, you said that you want me to walk all the way from Central Park to Chinatown. ‘Fughedaboudit!’
Gabby: I’ve done that actually.
Michael: I’m taking the subway.
Lindsay: That’s fantastic. I’ve heard that in a lot of movies. (You know) you hear that all the time. That’s such an iconic expression.
Gabby: And it’s fun to say.
Lindsey: It is. ‘Fughedaboudit.’
Michael: ‘Fughedaboudit.’ (Uh), actually if you wrote it down, it would be “forget about it,” but we never say it that way. ‘Fughedaboudit.’
Lindsay: Excellent. I love it. All right. What else have you got for us?
Michael: ‘Not Fuh Nuttin.’ (not for nothing) You guys have the best English podcast I’ve ever heard.
Gabby: Thank you we like that.
Michael: ‘Not Fuh Nuttin.’
Gabby: ‘Not Fuh Nuttin.’
Michael: So ‘Not Fuh Nuttin’ is a phrase that we use when you wanna (want to) give your opinion about something that you believe is true and maybe the listener doesn’t know or doesn’t realize it.
Lindsay: Oh, that’s an important point. So is it…?
Michael: And we…
Michael: I’m sorry.
Lindsay: No, go head (ahead), go head (ahead).
Michael: And it’s usually followed by “but.” For example. “Not for nuttin’ (nothing), but you guys have the best English podcast.”
Gabby: Oh wow.
Gabby: Very cool.
Michael: ‘Not for nuttin’ (nothing), but New York has the most delicious pizza anywhere.
Gabby: So it’s like to introduce (uh) an opinion like you were saying
Michael: That’s right.
Gabby: That’s great.
Lindsay: ‘Not for nuttin’ (nothing). Interesting.
Michael: ‘Not for nuttin’ (nothing). Yeah, ‘not for nuttin’ (nothing), I wouldn’t date that guy, he’s a bit of a loser.
Lindsay: That’s great. That’s awesome. So these phrases, do you hear them on the subway all the time? Or you hear them on the street?
Michael: Yeah, you hear it all the time, all the time. It’s very common (uh) everyday language here on the subway, out in Central Park, in Times Square. Yeah.
Lindsay: (Do) you have one more?
Sure. (Um) let’s see. ‘A skooch.’ Both:
How do you spell that?
‘A skooch’ is a person who’s bothersome or always (uh) nagging you.
Ah, you don’t want to be ‘a skooch.’ I see.
Don’t be ‘a skooch.’ (You know), (uh) Gabby you said, you asked me like three or four times if I could bring you a bagel this morning. Stop being such ‘a skooch.’ Gabby:
Where’s my bagel?
Gabby, you’re such ‘a skooch.’ Would you stop?
Sometimes my dog is ‘a skooch.’ When I’m trying to work, she always comes here and she wants to play with me.
I say “Happy stop being ‘a skooch.’” Lindsay:
Aw, cute. That’s great. ‘Skooch.’ These are – Wow! These are super useful phrases.
And they’re really common, right?
Right. This is, this is everyday English here in (uh), in the Big Apple.
‘Cause (because) this is not what we’re gonna (going to) learn in an ESL textbook.
Oh no, no, no, no, no. No, no. I don’t think they have, I don’t think they have a lot of ‘skooches’ in Eng, in English textbooks.
Not at all.
I love it. So you’ve given us something that students really can’t find anywhere else.
That’s right. That’s right. When they come to New York, they have a cup of ‘kawfee’ (coffee) and (uh) I hope the kawfee (coffee) doesn’t give them ‘agita’ and I hope they don’t see any ‘skooches’ on the subway next to them.
‘Fughedaboudit.’ I hope they don’t.
‘Fughedaboudit.’ This is a great city and ‘not for nuttin’ (not for nothing), New York is a very safe place and anybody who comes here to study English will have a great time here.
That is true. That is true. We love New York.
Yeah. Absolutely. And thinking of studying English, you also have a website, (um) can you tell our listeners where they can actually find you online?
Sure (uh) you can find Happy English at myhappyenglish.com Lindsay:
Well thanks so much Michael. Thanks for coming in and sharing this with, with us. It’s been so much fun. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about New York.
Excellent. I had a great time and (uh) anytime you guys wanna (want to) kawm (come) here, ‘not for nuttin’ (not for nothing), you’re all welcome.
Cool. Thanks so much Michael.
Thanks a lot. Take care.
Thanks so much. Take care. Bye-bye.
Gabby: Hey guys. Our email list is the only way that we can send you a free e-book on how to learn English through a podcast, exclusive information from us, and new offers and materials that we have coming out very soon. So please get on our email list at allearsenglish.com [Instrumental]
Lindsay: Thanks for listening to the All Ears English Podcast. We’re here to help you learn English and you can help us by leaving a five star review on iTunes. See you next time!
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