Southern California July 27, 2017
10 Phrases That Will Make You Swear Southern Californians Have Their Own Language
If you live in SoCal, you may think that California is the only state that doesn’t have its own unique phrases, words or even an accent. Because we don’t have an accent, right!? But leave it to the rest of the country to point out that some of the phrases we use are completely foreign to other parts of the USA. Take a look to see some of the things we say that completely baffle people from outside of the state but sound completely normal to us.
1. "Just take the 405..."
When people from out of state hear us add "the" to our freeway designations, they think it's rather odd. But for those of us who live in Southern California, we can't imagine saying it any other way because it sounds perfectly normal to us.
2. "There's a heavy marine layer this morning."
When you live near the ocean, a heavy marine layer is often the first thing you see early in the morning. It's what some people refer to as fog, but right here in SoCal, we just call it the marine layer.
3. "Wanna barbecue tonight?"
In most other states, barbecue is a type of food -- barbecue ribs, barbecue chicken -- you get the idea. But in SoCal, when we say "barbecue," that refers to the gathering and the device (aka grill) that we'll be using. If you're not from SoCal, you probably just say, "Wanna grill tonight?"
4. "Let's check out a few swap meets today."
If you're from Southern California, you know that a swap meet is pretty much the same thing as a flea market. But the rest of the country has no idea what on earth we are talking about. It's fun to have our very own language!
5. "There's a Sigalert on the 5 heading northbound..."
Traffic and congested freeways are just part of life here in Southern California. And so are Sigalerts. When you live here long enough, you grow accustomed to hearing there's a Sigalert from the California Highway Patrol regarding an accident up ahead or a significant delay.
6. "I'd like that Animal Style."
Yes, we love our In 'N Out here in SoCal. Many of us are die-hard fans of this fast-food chain, and Animal Style is part of our vocabulary because we can't get enough of that tangy secret sauce drizzled on top of an order of burger and fries. Yummmm!
7. "The Santa Ana winds are kicking up today."
Yes, we have a special kind of wind in Southern California -- the Santa Ana winds. Outside of SoCal, it sounds like we're speaking a different language, but for those of us who live here, we know exactly what that means.
8. "I could go for a California burrito."
A California burrito isn't any ordinary burrito. This burrito is a feast wrapped in foil that tastes best when eaten with your hands. Native to Southern California, this is one hearty burrito stuffed with carne asada, loads of cheese, and also includes sliced potatoes or french fries stuffed inside the soft flour tortilla.
9. "May gray and June gloom."
In SoCal, we often see many cloudy days in May and June. These overcast days have become known as May Gray and June Gloom. Each and every spring and early summer this familiar weather pattern shows up and we can't help but complain about these dreary months.
10. "It's about thirty minutes from here."
In Southern California, we never answer a distance question in miles. We always answer in minutes because we know that traffic changes everything. So, if someone asks us how many miles to the next gas station, we'll let them know it's a thirty-minute drive instead of telling them it's two miles away because we all know in SoCal that distance is always deceiving when we have to deal with traffic.
How’s that for a comprehensive list of unique SoCal phrases!? If you’ve lived here long enough, you most likely have used many of these phrases and words on many occasions. Were there any surprises that you were shocked to see? Or, if there is anything we left out, please make a note in the comments as we’d love to add a few more to the list.