What is Pittsburghese?
The unique dialect and vocabulary of Southwestern Pennsylvania, noted primarily for the word “yinz”.
What is a “Yinz”?
In Atlanta you’ll hear, “How y’all doin’?”
In Pittsburgh you’ll hear, “How yinz doin’?”
Simply put, “yinz” is the Pittsburgh equivalent of “y’all”.
Like the South, Pittsburgh recognizes the importance of a committed second person plural pronoun. Unlike its southern equivalent, yinz has never reached far beyond its hometown. Y’all can be heard throughout the South and Southwest. Yinz? Get more than two hundred miles outside of Pittsburgh and yinz disappears like a magician’s rabbit.
Why put “yinzes” in the New Testament?
#1 A pastor was once asked, “What’s the best translation of the Bible?” He replied, “The one you’ll read.” The hope is the novelty and fun of the name The Original Pittsburgh Bible and the over 2,000 yinzes might be enough to interest someone who has never picked up a Bible and give this one a read.
#2 There’s something to be learned from the plural nature of the word yinz. The change in wording gives an increased awareness of the communal nature of God’s work, the Body of Christ, a.k.a., the church and that His follwers should be in church. The use of yinz brings that communal reality to the surface.
As the author of the book of Hebrews wrote,
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another…”
Like today, when that was written there was the temptation to “forsake the assembling” and not attend church. I’m sure you’ve heard someone say:
“I don’t need to be in church. I’m fine on my own.”
Scripture disagrees with that sentiment, not only through very direct passages like the one in the tenth chapter of Hebrews, but through the repeated practice of addressing the church body, as well as the individual. In their novel way, the yinzes in The Original Pittsburgh Bible drive that point home.
How many yinzes are in The Original Pittsburgh Bible?
How big is The Original Pittsburgh Bible?
The Original Pittsburgh Bible is 6 inches by 9 inches, 344 pages and 8/10 inches thick.
How much Pittsburghese is in The Original Pittsburgh Bible?
The second person plural nouns are replaced with yinz. While there was a strong temptation to take the account of fishes and loaves and add cole slaw and fries …we resisted. Yinz adds information in the original texts related to plural pronouns. Other bits of local slang and jargon, though wonderful for conversation and a great part of our Pittsburgh culture, could detract from scripture.
How about a passage?
From I Thessalonians, chapter one …
Grace be unto yinz, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God always for yinz all, making mention of yinz in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing yinz’s work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; Knowing, brethren beloved, yinz’s election of God. For our gospel came not unto yinz in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among yinz for yinz’s sake.
Is this disrespectful to scripture?
No. It is doubtful anyone would consider the words “thee” and “thou” expressions of disrespect. They are merely expressions of a certain time (17th century) and a certain place (England). It’s the same thing with the word yinz in Pittsburgh and the 21st century. Once the ear gets past the novelty of hearing yinz, it offers the added benefit of the communal intent mentioned previously.
And on a lighter note, what’s the best way to read the original Pittsburgh Bible?
Here are a few suggestions that tap into its yinziness:
◊Have your devotional time with a sandwich, preferably with the fries and cole slaw on that sandwich.
◊Use it to give thanks when your favorite football team beats that team from Baltimore. This works when Cleveland loses, too.
◊Get several Original Pittsburgh Bibles to share with Southwestern Pennsylvania friends.
◊Count the yinzes!