Down the Shore Transcript

Carrie Gillon
Hi and welcome to the Vocal Fries Podcast, the podcast about linguistic discrimination.

Megan Figueroa
I’m Megan Figueroa.

Carrie Gillon
And I’m Carrie Gillon. And today, I want to– there’s a couple people that we forgot to thank last time or last episode and I want to make sure that I do that now. So thank you to the pod- podcasting coach who was actually the first podcast to interview us and I kept believe we forgot and also the Endless Knot! I also want to thank- we have two new patrons this month, but one of them wishes to remain anonymous. So thank you, anonymous. And also Heather Brady. Yes. Thank you, Heather Brady. So thank you, and if anyone else wants to join, we have three levels. $1 level which is just a thank you, $3 level, you get a shout out and a sticker, and the $5 level you get a shout out and a sticker but also you get access to our bonus episodes. Which reminds me we need to record one for this month.

Megan Figueroa
Yes. They’re very– I don’t know– they’re very salty, just like French Fries.

Carrie Gillon
Perfect.

Megan Figueroa
Yes.

Carrie Gillon
I can’t believe we haven’t made that our tagline yet.

Megan Figueroa
Oh my gosh. We should.

Carrie Gillon
Salty just like french fries.

Megan Figueroa
Are we having a moment right now? Is this an epiphany?

Carrie Gillon
This is a definitely an epiphany for me. I don’t know about you, but…

Megan Figueroa
I mean, it just came out of my mouth. It must have been living there for a bit though because I always use that gif of the salt and the fries.

Carrie Gillon
It’s a gif, it’s a quite good one.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, and I always- I always feel salty. So…

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, me too.

Megan Figueroa
And I really love salt.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, who doesn’t?

Megan Figueroa
I mean, so I’m excited about this episode today. It was fun to record.

Carrie Gillon
It was super fun to record and our guest, Lou Capetta had lots of great things to say about Jersey and his accent. Sadly, it was the first time we ever used Zoom to record because we were– two out of the three of us were having computer issues, so we decided to simplify.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Unfortunately, the audio is not as good as our normal- normal standard,

Megan Figueroa
Yes.

Carrie Gillon
so I apologize.

Megan Figueroa
Yes.

Carrie Gillon
But, it’s worth it. The content is worth it.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Otherwise we would have just scrapped it. But we didn’t want to do that.

Carrie Gillon
No, no.

Megan Figueroa
So forgive.

Carrie Gillon
Yes.

Megan Figueroa
Please forgive us. And spoiler alert. Today, we talk about Jers- Jersey. Jersey.

Jersey.

Jersey?

Carrie Gillon
I don’t even know if that’s actually a real thing.

Megan Figueroa
No. Definitely not how he says it so…

Carrie Gillon
No, definitely not.

Megan Figueroa
Sorry, Lou. But before we get to that, there has been some feathers ruffled. [both laugh]

Carrie Gillon
I don’t know why that made me laugh so hard.

Megan Figueroa
In the world of linguist Twitter.

Carrie Gillon
I guess I’m just imagining all linguists as- as birds and

Megan Figueroa
Exactly how I was imagining us when I said it.

Carrie Gillon
So, what kind of bird would you be?

Megan Figueroa
Ah, I would definitely be… shit, I don’t know. I’m thinking…

Carrie Gillon
You should be– you should be a Cactus Wren because that’s the state bird of Arizona.

Megan Figueroa
Oh! That’s perfect. I love it. I was imagining just a plain chicken because self esteem issues.

Carrie Gillon
Well…

Megan Figueroa
Like I don’t want to reach beyond what I am but….

Carrie Gillon
There are very beautiful chickens out there so stop that. Really beautiful chickens.

Megan Figueroa
What would you be?

Carrie Gillon
A raven. It’s kind of boring. But you know…

Megan Figueroa
No, I was gonna say that, but I was like, I’m not a raven.

Carrie Gillon
No.

Megan Figueroa
Don’t even try to be who you’re not, Megan.

Carrie Gillon
Maybe a- maybe a grackle. They’re kind of raven-like and they’re also from Arizona.

Megan Figueroa
Oh yeah.

Carrie Gillon
I like grackles. Some people don’t, I don’t think they’re cool.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Anyway, let’s go back to–

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, sorry.

Carrie Gillon
So sorry, it was– no, it’s my fault. So feathers ruffled first was very famous for a linguist Steven Pinker.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, he can just go off and not exist anymore in the public eye as far as I…

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, he definitely does not deserve his platform anymore. And he’s been problematic for a while, but I think this one is like the final straw of– he’s, I mean, he used the– he used the word SJW. Social Justice Warrior, which we talked about before about how that’s just not– how is being a social justice warrior a bad thing because if you’re using that, like that really makes you the asshole.

Megan Figueroa
Right. I mean, it’s- it’s– it’s coded language at this point. Unless you’re traying.

Carrie Gillon
At this point is it coded. It’s just like…

Megan Figueroa
It’s uncoaded? It has been– so it was coded at one point.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, when it was first introduced, it was like this like sort of clever way of calling someone PC I guess.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Well, and he said PC slash SWJ. So he was like, I just wanted to get the whole– all y’all in there.

Carrie Gillon
Yup. I want to make sure that you understand what I’m saying.

Megan Figueroa
Right

Carrie Gillon
Is what he did. So that’s why I’m like, I don’t think it’s coded.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Yeah you’re ri–. Well, not for him.

Carrie Gillon
I mean, maybe there’s some people don’t understand.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Certainly there are people who don’t understand what SJW stands for, but…

Megan Figueroa
Right.

Carrie Gillon
Within the milieu of Twitter, it’s not coded.

Megan Figueroa
There’s some reclamation of it too.

Carrie Gillon
Oh, yea- yeah.

Megan Figueroa
But anyway, he wasn’t reclaiming it. He was using it to be an asshole.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, he was using it more in the– not, I mean, I guess it’s not fully a slur, but like, slur adjacent.

Megan Figueroa
Right, right. Yeah. Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
An insult. He was using it as an insult.

Megan Figueroa
And that’s when you just you had to stop like reading and not take it seriously anymore.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, I don’t take anything that he says seriously anymore. But, you have to… we have to address it as linguists like no, this is not an ok thing. So maybe– do you have the Tweet in front of you?

Megan Figueroa
He says, “The first insight of linguistics, going back to Plato, is that words are conventions without magical powers. That’s being nullified by PC slash SJW attacks on mentioning taboo words, even ironically, or in works of art.”

Carrie Gillon
Basically, what he wants to do is be able to say the N word, which we haven’t really even talked about in this pod because it’s not really our word– it’s not really our place. But I will say, no, we don’t get to say it. And we shouldn’t want to– it’s should not even be a thing.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. If you’re fighting that fight as a non black person to say the N word, you’re an asshole like, get out of here.

Carrie Gillon
You’re a terrible asshole.

Megan Figueroa
You’re terrible. You’re terrible.

Carrie Gillon
You’re a terrible person. Like why should you want to say it? It just doesn- it just… anyway. But that’s as far as I want to go with that conversation because it’s a complicated conversation, and we should probably have it but with someone who can talk about it.

Megan Figueroa
Yes.

Carrie Gillon
Better than we can.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Yeah. Two non black people talking about it is not cool. Just like Pinker shouldn’t want to say it and be talking about it. And I don’t really want to give him like more of a platform. I just think that anyone who is like new to linguistics that listens to the pod should not take him seriously. Don’t even like give him a second thought.

Carrie Gillon
You can read his old stuff. It’s not necessarily right or anything but like there’s some interesting things in there but stay- stick to the old stuff. Don’t listen to him from- I don’t know- five years ago.

Megan Figueroa
Although someone posted a picture of a page from the language instinct, and he says some horrible horrible shit some very-

Oh, really?

Very offensive. So I actually do not recommend any of it. I was really horrified and I was like looking through the comments. I was like, where’s this from? Is this from like, not this– surely this is from one of his like pop books. And it was from the language instinct.

Carrie Gillon
Do you remember what it was?

Megan Figueroa
I believe he was talking about Williams Syndrome.

Carrie Gillon
Okay, okay. Okay, that’s fair. So yeah, I rescind what I just said.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Don’t listen to anything he said.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Other people pointed this out, but Plato did not say anything of the sort.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Plato actually was worried about the power of words. And he didn’t want poets to write poetry that was like incite people or…

Megan Figueroa
Right.

Carrie Gillon
He was very- he was fairly worried about poetry, in fact, so that was false. Also, Plato– why Plato? Like if you’re going to go back to the Greeks, you would go back to Aristotle, if you’re talking about language.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Wow.

Carrie Gillon
That’s the guy.

Megan Figueroa
He’s lazy. He’s lazy in his ignorance and assholery.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, he I mean, he’s been called out for his stuff on the enlightenment and how he doesn’t understand the enlightenment and so as someone who doesn’t understand the enlightenment, either, I’m not gonna say anything, but he has been called out for these kinds of things in the past. Recent past.

Megan Figueroa
And…

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
Can I just say Amazon, stop recommending his book about the enlightenment to me. God!

Carrie Gillon
Can you block recommendations?

Megan Figueroa
No! Which is ridiculous!

Carrie Gillon
Damn.

Megan Figueroa
I know, a quote…

Carrie Gillon
Get on it, Amazon!

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. So I like language. You’re gonna give me all the Steven Pinker recommendations.

Carrie Gillon
Get out of here.

Megan Figueroa
Get out of here.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, that’s bad.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, it’s just gonna keep being perpetuated because I think like Bill Gates said something like it’s the best book I’ve read in like, years or something, so we really need to let y’all know. Don’t believe. Just no on Steven Pinker.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, let’s- let’s de-platform him now. He really does not deserve the platform that he has.

Megan Figueroa
No.

Carrie Gillon
And then- and then to go back to the conventions thing. I mean, like, yeah, words– The only reason why words have power is because we give it to them. But we have done that. We can’t pretend otherwise. In a different language in a different culture, the N word would mean something different. But that doesn’t take away from what it means here and now in this culture in this moment in this language.

Megan Figueroa
Right.

Carrie Gillon
So… Oh, it’s just so upsetting.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, he can go fuck himself.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
Ah go fuck yourself.

Carrie Gillon
And then the other thing that was like causing the bird to fly or the feathers to be ruffled. The LSA posted about this on Twitter.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, you tell me about it because I knew enough of my excellent friends on Twitter, telling me what the fuck that I was like, Okay, what the fuck is happening, but I didn’t actually click on the article. So tell me. Tell me.

Carrie Gillon
So I did click on the article, and it’s an article in medicalexpress.com which I’ve never heard of before, but whatever and that’s neither here nor there. The title- the headline is “Scientists Advocate New Approach to Linguistic Research.”

Megan Figueroa
Oh!

Carrie Gillon
Okay, so we should be very cautious when we see that because what does that mean? Scientists, i.e. non linguists, are telling linguists how to do linguistics better. Obviously, we’re going to be defensive immediately because of that, but there’s a good reason for that because literally, what do they say? They have an article in cognition. So I’m just going to read from the article on Medical Express. “Every night I drink a glass of wine before I go to bed. This sentence is easy to understand, but it will evoke a slightly different response when said by a 10 year old.” Yeah, no shit.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Like so… Okay, so the point is, they claim that at least in psycho linguistics, traditional psycho linguistics ignores the context when we’re processing a sentence. I mean, there is some abstraction going on sometimes in psycho linguistics, but this is not a case where that would happen because as soon as you have “I” in a sentence, you have to know who the speaker is. That is a basic fact about linguistics, about language, that every linguist is going to share.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
It’s so crazy to me. That the scien- “scientists” whatever kind of scientists they are, doesn’t even say.

Megan Figueroa
Neuroscience

Carrie Gillon
How dare neuroscientists mansplain context to linguists I am so angry.

Megan Figueroa
I know I am just so offended like as a psycho linguist too. And like cognition being a journal that I would want to publish in, to- for them to publish such crap about I mean, it- it’s as if the editors have never read an article from a psycho linguists before.

Carrie Gillon
Right. Like, oh, psycho linguists never worry about context. That is clearly not the case.

Megan Figueroa
Right.

Carrie Gillon
There is some abstraction that goes on sometimes when we talk about language, from- as a psycho linguist or as syntactician or whatever, but it’s- it would never be at this level

Megan Figueroa
Right.

Carrie Gillon
This would never be mistaken as a neutral set statement that you could just say in something that’s contextless.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, I feel like the ones who should really be offended are neuro linguists, because they study this kind of reaction like what is it the in 400? Like, this is a semantic like, when- when you think about the semantics of a fourteen year old or nine year old saying this, you’d be like, Oh, this is gonna spike because this is weird. This is like, I don’t like it. Right? Or whatever.

Carrie Gillon
Right. It is so offensive… to the entire field of linguistics.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. To all of us.

Carrie Gillon
Entire field.

Megan Figueroa
Like if– and then– I mean, I don’t know.

Carrie Gillon
I know there’s nothing you can say except ask a fucking linguist.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Like literally ask a linguists. Hey, does this make sense? Am I teaching you something new? No, no, you are not. All they’re say– all they’re doing is hey, we know how to do linguistics better. Literally.

Megan Figueroa
Okay. Well, now I don’t have to read it. I can see– Well, I probably will anyway, but I can just be outraged with everyone else. It’s so offensive. Oh my gosh. I’m so glad that all the amazing people on Twitter were like on it. I learned so much from them. I learned so much from everyone.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, me too. [music rolls]

So today we have another guest Lou Capetta. From the Lou Capetta Show with Jay Burke, and he’s from New Jersey. So we’re going to talk about all things New Jersey. And I’m very excited.

Megan Figueroa
Yes.

Carrie Gillon
Welcome to the show.

Lou Capetta
I’m from New Jersey, don’t hold it against me.

Megan Figueroa
Well, we’re gonna talk about that and why someone would hold that against you.

Lou Capetta
I feel like I have to apologize.

Megan Figueroa
What do you feel like you’re specifically apologizing for like the Jersey Shore?

Lou Capetta
Oh, yeah yeah. That is– It’d be like being an Italian and from New Jersey. I- I’ve ban my kids from watching that show. And…

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Lou Capetta
I was- I was like, I felt like my parents. I was like, that’s- that’s garbage. People from New Jersey and Italians. The double whammy.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, so I guess you’re not speaking– you’re not going to claim the situation or

Lou Capetta
Those– they’re not even from New Jersey they’re from Staten Island, which is like the biggest garbage dump in America.

Megan Figueroa
Oh no…

Lou Capetta
It really is. I’m sorry, it is. I…

Megan Figueroa
Is that like a Jersey- Staten Island like fight y’all. Is that like a thing?

Lou Capetta
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
Okay, okay.

Lou Capetta
Because a lot of people consider New Jersey to be like the armpit of America. It’s actually Staten Island.

Megan Figueroa
Wait a second! So, just in case some of our listeners don’t have the pleasure of knowing what the Jersey Show is. Yeah, it’s an MTV show, right? It was on MTV,

Lou Capetta
Yes, a MTV reality show where they took a bunch of– you know, your typical meatheads and- and big hair Italian girls from the area, the North Jersey tri state area and they sent them down to the shore to do their thing you know, in their habitat. It was like a– Yeah, it was like a nature show. Almost.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, that’s right.

Megan Figueroa
It really was.

Lou Capetta
Yeah. Do you to– Yeah, like normal people take their families to the shore and– the meatheads in their habitat. It was- it was fascinating. It was like, yeah, it was the equivalent of just watching a train wreck every week. The car accident that you can’t turn away. From.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
One of my former students wrote her honors thesis on the vocabulary of the Jersey Shore. And so that’s where I actually learned all this stuff. Like what the situation. What that even refers– [all laugh]

Megan Figueroa
Oh like, that’s why?

Carrie Gillon
So for people who don’t know, he’s called the situation because of his abs. His abs are so amazing, that they cause a situation every time he walks into the room.

Megan Figueroa
I am shaking my head.

Lou Capetta
You deserve a college degree if you’re– just on the basis that you’re able to fit Jersey Shore into one of your college papers.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Lou Capetta
The paper doesn’t need to be read. You get an A. Get your Bachelor of Arts or whatever. Your science or I don’t know, but you just get a degree and you probably deserve a job at MTV because like…

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, she would do a good job. I don’t know what she’s doing now.

Lou Capetta
Some type of PR or something. I mean, like that’s– she, I mean, yeah, pardon my language it was she– that’s basically puting a bow tie on a turd.

Carrie Gillon
That’s true.

Megan Figueroa
I was actually wondering if you feel like the bad rep that Jersey gets is– did like a lot of that happen before the Jersey Shore or do you feel like a lot of it’s happening after or you just can’t really tell the difference?

Lou Capetta
Okay, so I, a lot of that happened before the Jersey Shore. So if you’re from New Jersey and you like I– I’m born and bred in New Jersey. I have lived other places. When I was a teenager I moved to Florida for a few years. I came back to Jersey and then when I got married and had kids, I moved to Pennsylvania. So if you don’t leave New Jersey you– at least I didn’t, you don’t know that. You know, I mean? It’s when you when you venture outside of New Jersey. Like I I travel. I see a lot of baseball games– big baseball fan. I traveled to see the Tigers play in Detroit like in Detroit, and I was in the hotel bar and a guy was talking about, oh, New Jersey? Oh. You know, like he– I’m like, Dude, you’re in Detroit like… You know what I mean? [all laugh]

Carrie Gillon
Oh, Detroit.

Lou Capetta
I mean, Detroit has their issues. It’s not all their fault. I mean, I feel like but yeah, I never really realized how I guess quirky New Jersey is until I left and then came back.

Megan Figueroa
So then what happened when you first left which would have been to Florida?

Lou Capetta
Okay, so the very first thing I realized, and it creeped me out is that.

Megan Figueroa
You’re in Florida.

Lou Capetta
Yeah. Well, yeah, that I mean, yeah, I was in Florida. Yeah, no, it was. I was in Florida during like the first– during the first George Bush’s reign. So it was.

Megan Figueroa
Oh…

Carrie Gillon
Oh…

Lou Capetta
But yeah. I– is that the people you don’t know say hello to you. And like they are like nice. I’m like, like what? Yeah, like, I would walk in. So I grew up in- in North Jersey, in the New York metro area. That’s another thing. New Jersey is- it’s one state but to the people in New Jersey, it’s two states. It’s North Jersey and South Jersey. People from Central Jersey, I’m sorry, there is no central Jersey. You have to claim one. And it’s basically by your sports teams. If you are close to New York City and you root for the New York teams like I do, you’re North Jersey. The South Jersey people, they’re their own thing. They root for all the Philadelphia stuff. So but you walk around and I mean, I grew up– it was we walked everywhere. Everything was real congested, but you walk past people every day and nobody smiled at you. Nobody said hello. And that’s how I like it. I was in Florida and strangers are saying hello to me. I am like ew you creep. Like I don’t want your candy! Get away from me.

Megan Figueroa
That happens in Arizona too. You definitely have strangers saying hi.

Lou Capetta
Yeah, I mean, as I’ve gotten older I’ve- I’ve appreciated it more. Like yo people are nice, but I was like- I was- I was 13 when I moved to Florida and I was like what the hell is this? Like why is this dude saying hello to me? I was– Get away from me, weirdo.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Lou Capetta
So that’s- that’s how I realized like people from New Jersey where da- I think they’re pretty awful. [all laugh] You know, they’re not very personable. They’re all– and there’s also– like everything is so. When I moved, like everything, even. Everything was slower. I felt like everything was slower, even like… just having a conversation with people is– like, come on! You know what I mean?

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Yeah, well, I think that’s a stereotype that at least over here on the West Coast, we have of people that are just from New York.

Lou Capetta
And they’re jerks.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, like, Well, more like, they’re going so fast. They’re not stopping to say hello, that kind of thing.

Carrie Gillon
They’re very brusque.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Lou Capetta
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
So I can see that as a stereotype of the area.

Lou Capetta
It’s true. I mean, it’s- it really is. From everything I’ve dealt with. I mean, now that I’m- I’m older, you know, I do. I hold doors for people, I say good morning, things like that. I still work in New Jersey. And people do they look at me like I have two heads. So…

Megan Figueroa
When you do something nice you mean?

Lou Capetta
Yeah, yeah. Yes. Kill people with kindness sometimes.

Megan Figueroa
So when you got to Florida, was it? Did anyone say wow, listen to that accent you have.

Lou Capetta
Yes, that was the first time that I ever realized that I had an accent sounds like. So I people outside of my area always assume it’s a New York accent.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Lou Capetta
Now the South Jersey accent is a little bit different. It is more Philly based. So people always assumed– I could tell the difference between when I would talk to people from New York like I have cousins and aunts and uncles and stuff that’s still live you know, in New York City and Brooklyn and stuff like that. And there’s this they I can distinctly tell the difference in our accents. I never knew I had an accent. I just thought this is the way people talk and until I moved to Florida, and they were like, man, you got an accent, and I was like, you have an accent.

Megan Figueroa
We all have accents!

Lou Capetta
Yeah, that was a really– it was like– it was- it was a culture shock. I didn’t- I didn’t realize even just like- like water. So I say warter. There’s no “r” in it, you know what I mean? Like, but it’s everywhere else, it’s water or you know? I mean, that’s probably the correct way to pronounce it.

Megan Figueroa
Your way is perfect. Always.

Lou Capetta
Thanks. See, you guys are definitely not from New Jersey cuz your being so nice to me. [all laugh]

Carrie Gillon
We’re also linguists and this is our job to tell people.

Lou Capetta
So yeah, so like those are little things. So I’m from- originally I’m from South Orange. Now I pronounced it orange [emphasis on “a”]. In Florida, it’s orange [emphasis on “o”].

Megan Figueroa
Right.

Lou Capetta
My children who have grown up in– except for my oldest lived in New Jersey a few years she’s 21 now but, for the most part, they all grew up in Pennsylvania. They all pronounce it orange [emphasis on “o”]. They say water like it’s a– little things like that are really dug down the shore and nobody knew what the hell I did. People looked at me like I had two heads when I said down the shore.

Carrie Gillon
What does down the shore mean?

Lou Capetta
So you’ve never heard that saying? That’s– Have you- have you heard that saying or…

Megan Figueroa
No, I’ve never heard.

Lou Capetta
It is like I mean for linguists, it must make– what you guys must have– your head must want to explode because it’s- it’s awful grammar or it’s doesn’t make any sense.

Carrie Gillon
No, it makes sense but I just don’t know what it means.

Lou Capetta
That’s so when you’re in New Jersey, the Jersey Shore we talked about it was just a show it’s…

Carrie Gillon
It’s a real thing.

Lou Capetta
That people go to which is all hype. It’s- it’s actually awful. It’s been better but when I was a kid, filthy, it was disgusting. But, it’s always you don’t go to the shore you don’t go to the beach it’s Oh, you’re going down– down the shore.

Carrie Gillon
Okay.

Megan Figueroa
Oh cool.

Lou Capetta
And I never- I never realized. That’s- that’s is- that’s a New Jersey thing from everything that I’ve discovered in my travels.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Lou Capetta
As far west as Cleveland, I [all laugh] Yeah, that’s- that’s a New Jersey thing. And when I moved to Florida, I lived in West Palm Beach, and we want to go to the beach and said, oh we’re going down the shore and nobody knew what I was talking… So I didn’t realize that that was just a local thing. That’s like New Jersey’s trademark. I don’t know how it came to be or… You’re not even going down to the shore. You’re just down the shore.

Megan Figueroa
Right. Because even if you were down South in New Jersey, and you had to go North to get there, you would still say down.

Lou Capetta
Right.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Lou Capetta
So if you’re in South Jersey, you live at the shore, I guess you would saay. But I did. I lived in both. I lived in South Jersey for a little while too. My first attempt at college I attempted to go to Temple University. Yeah, that was a lot of fun partying.

Carrie Gillon
One of the reasons I go to college.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Lou Capetta
So I lived on the Jers– my grandmother lived in South Jersey. I lived on the Jersey side. And so I would go to Seaside Heights which is where Jersey Shore is filmed and stuff, and it is- it’s literally on highway 70 a straight run east across the city. And it’s still down the shore.

Megan Figueroa
Cool.

Lou Capetta
I wish I had a way to explain it. I don’t know how…

Megan Figueroa
No that’s…

Carrie Gillon
No, I- I get it.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, and a lot of times when something is specific to an area, you don’t really know how to explain it cuz it’s always been that way.

Carrie Gillon
Are there any other like New Jersey phrases or sour words?

Lou Capetta
I don’t know if this is more my generation or later but I do find that we say yo a lot like there is there’s a lot of yo. Like it’s yo, yo… Yo go get the, you know, lawnmower, whatever it’s I– I. Which another thing I didn’t realize until I moved to Pennsylvania as an adult like just how often I said the word yo. Even my dad! My dad says it a lot. You know, it’s just- it’s one of those things. I mean, there’s- there’s a lot of cursing. There’s a lot of cursing like even…

Megan Figueroa
Like it doesn’t matter like in front of kids everything?

Lou Capetta
Yeah, and women there’s even like, even like in mixed company. I find myself interjecting the f word quite often not realizing that I do it. It’s…

Megan Figueroa
It’s okay to do it here.

Lou Capetta
Okay, good. Yeah, okay.

Megan Figueroa
Cuz we’re friendly.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah, yeah.

Lou Capetta
Okay. Good. So you, all right. That’s good. I feel– because I was trying to be very conscious of the some of the words I say, but I…

Megan Figueroa
Well, I mean, you said the word turd and I was like, oh, you can do better than that. You can…

Lou Capetta
Oh! Oh, ok good. I want to say shit.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. [all laugh]

Lou Capetta
All right. So that’s, but I find- I find that a lot. Even… My wife is a Jersey girl and even just, even she is I guess we noticed that maybe as we got older, just how often we curse. Now some of it is also too because I’m in the construction industry. So that’s another story that it gets interjected into yo, out into the construction site all the time. I noticed that there’s also- there’s like little things like we have this spam you guys know what spam is correct?

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Yeah definately.

Lou Capetta
We have this spam-like substance meat that we– in New Jersey. It’s- it’s spam it really is spam but however, for some reason, it’s called pork roll in South Jersey, and in North Jersey. it’s called Taylor Ham. But it’s spam. It’s circular spam. It has no nutritional value. It’s full of… it really is it’s like just- it’s like canned meat. And it- in slices and it goes on your eggs with egg and cheese sandwhiches, on bagels, and it’s-it’s delicious, but it’s you know it’s got no nutrional. It’s yeah, it’s got like 4000 grams of sodium in each slice. It’s just- It’s just awful, but it’s- it’s delicious. And there’s a big debate because North Jersey calls it Taylor Ham, South Jersey calls it pork roll.

Carrie Gillon
That’s interesting because I’ve never heard that before.

Lou Capetta
Really?

Carrie Gillon
Until today. And I happen to have like, I just Googled, you know, New Jersey words. And it came up! Like that was one of the ones that came up. And I’d never heard of it before today.

Lou Capetta
It’s not- it doesn’t come into can, but it’s like that canned meat.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Lou Capetta
Comes in like a box. But yeah, that’s Taylor Ham, egg and cheese. That’s the- and that’s another thing. Bagels, some North Jersey they are bagels [long a], South Jersey there bagles [short a]. Oh, Italian ice. Have you guys had Italian ices before?

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, but like you can’t get them everywhere for sure.

Lou Capetta
No.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Lou Capetta
Ritas is like the chain. Italian ice is like you know the- that’s a- that’s a big thing in the summertime in New Jersey.

Carrie Gillon
What is Italian ice actually? I’ve never had it.

Lou Capetta
So it’s- it’s- it’s- it’s like a snow cone pretty much. It’s basically just a flavored ice treat that’s like a soft ice. It’s- it’s flavored. It’s lemon or usually lemon or watermelon or strawberry. Those were the three when I was growing up. Now they’re all different kinds. But in South Jersey, the Philadelphia area part of New Jersey, they call it– which makes no sense to me– they call water ice which [all laugh] it’s like yo, like, it’s like– ice is ice was formerly water there, buddy. Like it doesn’t even Ritas even Ritas in that area. So…

Carrie Gillon
No, that’s amazing. No.

Lou Capetta
Do you have that chain in?

No.

Well, they’re a big chain. I didn’t know how big they were but- but even their Rita’s Italian ices everywhere, except in that in the South Jersey area. They are they’re Rita’s water ice.

Megan Figueroa
That’s amazing.

Carrie Gillon
I love it.

Megan Figueroa
I love that so much.

Lou Capetta
So those people also called Pineys because the Pine Barrens in New Jersey, so Piney are like the the country folk of New Jersey, right.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
Is it- it’s not offensive though to call them that?

Lou Capetta
A little bit but it depends, like, you know, they– depends. If you’re if you’re a Piney, and you’re talking about not really, if you’re from North Jersey, and you’re calling somebody a pioneer. A little offensive. They actually have you guys ever watched The Sopranos?

Carrie Gillon
Yes.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Lou Capetta
So there’s a- there’s a I think it might be a two episode arc early on where Paul and Christopher, they bring a guy down to the Pine Barrens in South Jersey to kill him. Supposedly that’s the rumor too. It’s a big like mob burial ground. And it’s in the winter and they get lost, and they spend like two days just roaming around the pine barrens. It’s- Yeah, it’s like a mixture of like, woods and swamp lands.

Carrie Gillon
Interesting.

Lou Capetta
Nyah. Interesting is a nice way to say it. New Jersey is just an awful place. It is. This is like this is the least anybody’s ever had to offer on your show this is.

Carrie Gillon
No!

Megan Figueroa
No!

Carrie Gillon
No, it’s not! I love this shit.

Megan Figueroa
Now I’m wondering, okay, so you got The Sopranos too, do y’all just have to deal with the stereotype that y’all are just like Italian mobsters there?

Lou Capetta
Yeah. There was that. So like, so this is the thing, there’s a big double standard because just the press– like everybody loved The Sopranos, like, if you are from New Jersey, you loved The Sopranos. You go where the place is in the opening credits like that’s kind of… Like you wear that as a badge of honor, but you hate Jersey Shore and it really is promoting, you know, similar stereotypes if you think about it.

Carrie Gillon
It’s true, but at least if you’re mobster you might be smart, but if you’re like like GTL.

Lou Capetta
Well, Tony Soprano was definitely cooler than the situation. There is something so I don’t know what it is because even still, like even though I make fun of New Jersey, like there is something like I can make fun of New Jersey but

Megan Figueroa
We wouldn’t. We’re not going to.

Lou Capetta
Well, of course you’re not because you guys are awesome people. But there’s just I don’t know if it’s because we are so we’re sandwiched between two very large metropolitan areas in New York City and Philadelphia. And there’s always be like an identity crisis there. So. So people from New Jersey tend to really be a little defensive when it comes to– It’s offensive when you know, people just assume you’re from New York or it’s mostly New York. We get mostly like when your other parts of the country is just mostly New York, and it’s just so there’s that. There’s a real even in- in our speech with people who are not from New Jersey, there’s like a standoffishness almost, that I’ve noticed. I mean, I try not to be that way. I try to be inviting. I would love everybody to come to New Jersey and pay the awful taxes that we have to pay. [all laugh]

Carrie Gillon
So when you said that you get mistaken for like a New Yorker because of your accent, do you feel, so are you saying kind of like, you feel kind of upset by that because you do have New Jersey pride? So you want people to know that it’s actually Jersey? Is that kind of happening?

Lou Capetta
I mean, it doesn’t really when I was younger, yeah, it was kind of like, especially when I was in Florida that- that’s the first thing that they assume. Oh, you’re a New Yorker. And I’m like, No I’m not. I’m from New Jersey. And that’s really– it was I mean, it’s not so much now. But it definitely, it was for me at least I know a lot of– a few people a few my buddies. It is it’s like we’re always in– you know– in New York shadow especially being in North Jersey. We feel that way. I mean for years, even like, the Statue of Liberty is it’s you know, it’s part of New York and New Jersey, and it’s everything is like everything is New York, New York, New York. So there is you do you have kind of that like little brother type syndrome, you know what I mean? If that’s- if that’s even a thing I might have just made up a disease but it’s…

Carrie Gillon
No, but it makes sense. Canada has that too. With the United States.

Lou Capetta
Really?

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Lou Capetta
I never knew that. Yeah, I guess I mean, I guess I could see that.

Megan Figueroa
So do you think did any of your teachers make you feel bad about your accent?

Lou Capetta
No, actually, it’s funny. So I just in high school I had- I had a teacher who she was very, very. I would like to just mention her Miss Liss. She just recently passed the age of 49. She was the best teacher I ever had. She was only nine years older than me. I had her in high school, but she was quintessential New Jersey Italian. And you know she was– and I say this lovingly like loud and in your face. You know, she had the big hair and she had an attitude, and she was all the– she had the accent even worse than me, and you know…

Megan Figueroa
Worse? No.

Lou Capetta
Worse, yeah. But I remember most of my teachers, at least, like the cool ones are the ones that I really related to where we’re like that. I think it was easy. There– I don’t know. So there’s just a certain… For the– I’m gonna say it for lack of a better term like a toughness that you feel when you’re even just speaking when you’re speaking to somebody from New Jersey and it’s like, okay, this person isn’t going to take any shit. I can’t get over on them.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Lou Capetta
So I also I had another teacher who was not– she was from Connecticut. And I was like the worst student she ever had. And I remember I actually just saw her recently. My- my teachers may– and I apologize for being a bad student, by the way. And I did– We were laughing because I was like, No, I gotta be honest with you like I still– you know– You were just nice. Like I smell blood in the water was like really easy. And that really was just– I mean, I don’t want to blame it all on speech, but is a big part of it is how you– you know– present yourself.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, well, there’s some camaraderie there. You saw when you speak the same– or speak similarly to someone totally. Where was Bruce Springsteen? Where is he? Where– is he North Jersey?

Lou Capetta
Nah, he’s the shore area. [music] Another so there’s a another band that is very New Jersey that if you’re from New Jersey, this doesn’t really have so much to do with speech. But called Southside Johnny. And he’s like, from that same– He’s pretty well known, but not as well known as Springsteen. But he’s from that same era, same area, and same music scene. And he just stayed in New Jersey. So like there are actually this- this guy, he’s strong man. He’s like in his 60’s, and he’s still performing– him and his band. And he has like, groupies, who found this guy all over the stupid state, and they’re like- they’re like my parents age now. I mean, like…

Megan Figueroa
Well, Southside– was it Southside Johnny?

Lou Capetta
Southside Johnny, yeah.

Megan Figueroa
Well, we’re totally gonna put him on this episode. We’re going to have to find a clip. We’ve got to find a clip.

Lou Capetta
You can find him on Twitter. He does have a huge following– very talented. He does. And, you know, kudos to him. He, you know, he stuck to New Jersey. He does- he does a lot of Springsteen covers. A lot of them. But he does have his own music and stuff too. I forget what his band is called. But… [music] It’s like Italian hotdogs are big.

Carrie Gillon
What’s that?

Lou Capetta
It’s a hot dog. Where it’s- it’s cut in half. It’s put on like a sub– A sub roll. And it’s filled with just fried peppers, onions and potato.

Megan Figueroa
Oh.

Lou Capetta
It’s delicious. Yeah.

Carrie Gillon
What?

Lou Capetta
It’s… Yeah, so there’s that. Wawas… do you guys have Wawas by you?

Megan Figueroa
No.

Carrie Gillon
No.

Megan Figueroa
What is it?

Lou Capetta
It’s a– it’s like the world’s best convenience store. It’s a– so they just infiltrated– they were a South Jersey thing like Philadelphia area thing for years and now they’re just starting to get into New Jersey like North Jersey and stuff that I saw. I’ve seen them in Florida. And like down in the DC area too. But that’s it. Where else I’ve- I’ve- I’ve been have I seen them?

Megan Figueroa
When you say Jersey, you say Jersey for North Jersey, don’t you and then say South Jersey for South Jersey.

Lou Capetta
Yeah, I do. Jersey is North Jersey to me. South Jersey is South Jersey.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Lou Capetta
And I mean, I’ve lived in them both. There is a distinct difference. Oh jughandles. So like and this is a- this is a South Jersey thing on the highway. So you know New Jersey- New Jersey is known for have- not having the best drivers. Another claim to fame we just so [all laugh] So in South Jersey, especially, there are when you want to make– you’re on a highway, and you want to make a left hand turn, you actually have to make a right hand turn, go around a jughandle, get to the street and then go across. So when I first moved to South Jersey, that– it confuses the shit out of everybody that first goes there. And they- they could put all the Jersey slide is another one. It’s also called something else but the Jersey slide. People drive in a left lane they see their exit and they just they stay in the left and just kind of cross and get over there and onto the highway.

Megan Figueroa
So I’m going to ask what do you feel like when people maybe if you’re outside of Jersey, and they hear your Jersey accent, have you ever felt like people have thought less of you?

Lou Capetta
Yes, I do. I feel kind of like it’s– not looked down for– like maybe looked almost as not intelligent. You know? Like it’s that stereotypical, like, one of those Tony Soprano’s guys or the guy from especially after after that Jersey Shore thing, like I feel like it- it brings a connotation of being unintelligent.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Lou Capetta
So I- I, you know, I do feel that way sometimes. More so now. More so since Jersey Shore. I hate to put it on that but more so since Jersey Shore. Maybe I’m just older, and I recognize it more, and I’ve been around more places because people do. It is a pretty distinct accent.

Megan Figueroa
Right. Well, and it’s been more than 10 years right for the Jersey Shore.

Lou Capetta
Oh, now they’re back on TV too.

Megan Figueroa
Oh, so that’s not helping.

Lou Capetta
Back on Jersey Shore, yeah. Hopefully, we don’t have a reunion.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Lou Capetta
So I mean, maybe that also has to do with like, I feel because I’m Italian, and it’s– I have a very Italian name Lou Capetta. I mean, that doesn’t get much more Italian than that.

Megan Figueroa
Right.

Lou Capetta
Yeah, I feel like that negative connotation with my accent, I think it goes hand in hand a little bit. I think it’s– oh, this guy’s just a, and I’m in the union. So I feel like I’m just like some Wiseguy union representative which is– which I wish because I wish I didn’t have to work that hard but…

Megan Figueroa
So it’s I mean, I am sorry if this is offensive, just saying the word but Guido is that?

Lou Capetta
It’s not offensive. I really don’t care. But yeah, like I get that.

Megan Figueroa
It’s not like, specifically Italian Jersey?

Lou Capetta
It’s I mean, like…

Carrie Gillon
No, it’s not. It’s not New Jersey. It’s…

Megan Figueroa
Oh, it’s not. Okay.

Carrie Gillon
No, we use it in Canada too.

Megan Figueroa
Okay.

Lou Capetta
Really? Yeah, it’s like a… it’s more… I mean it is a– I guess it’s a derogatory for Italians, but I think it’s more of a– at least in New Jersey, it’s more of a look like even…

Carrie Gillon
Same in Canada.

Lou Capetta
Yeah, like you know, when I was when I was young, it was a guy you know, he- he wore the chain on the outside of his turtleneck and his cavaricci pants, and his hair slicked back, and he drove a trans am. Which, I mean, some people call it you know, I call it looking like a douche. Which is another word that we use. That’s another New Jersey word.

Carrie Gillon
No, that’s everywhere.

Megan Figueroa
Wait! Don’t say douche for us!

Lou Capetta
I feel like– I feel like we use that a lot in New Jersey.

Megan Figueroa
Would you call someone you like a douche?

Lou Capetta
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
Like you call a friend a douche?

Lou Capetta
Yeah. We’re pretty, yeah, I mean, you know, we’re pretty brutal on each other. I would– I mean, I don’t have much of a I don’t have many friends but yeah, we joke around like that. Maybe that’s just I think– I feel like America has been using that more so the past oh, I don’t know, two years maybe?

Megan Figueroa
Oh, yeah. It’s had a resurgence.

Lou Capetta
Yeah, maybe it’s just 2016, I don’t know.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah, well, yeah. Definitely more douches out of the woodwork.

Lou Capetta
Yeah. Oh yead.

Megan Figueroa
Yes. I’m not surprised that you said that you sometimes feel like people outside of Jersey will assume that someone with a New Jersey accent is unintelligent. I think there are a lot of other accents and areas in the United States that get the same thing. And it sucks, and it’s terrible and whenever you need to remind you that your accent is perfect, just tweet us. And we’ll be like, yeah! Your accent is perfect! Stop. [all laugh] Is there anything that… So we have listeners all over the world. Not really. I mean, yes, but- but, is there anything you want like a final thing for folks to know about Jersey?

Lou Capetta
So it’s- it’s- it’s not as bad as I make it out to be if we’re really sitting on, you know. It’s interesting– It’s a very interesting little place. It’s got a lot of– very interesting quirks about it. First being such a small state trapped between two very large metropolitan areas. It’s a– it’s- it’s- it really does have like a little bit of everything I mean, we have country settings countrysides, we I mean, we are the Garden State, there are plenty of farms and stuff around here. We have metropolitan areas, it’s- you know, it’s not all bad. It can– if you have to brave the traffic over a period of time, than it can wear on you. But other than that, you know, and if you’re– if you’re around New York Airport, and you can stand the smell over there.

Megan Figueroa
And don’t rely on the Jersey Shore to get your information about New Jersey.

Lou Capetta
Well, yeah. If you’re relying on the Jersey Shore to get your information about anything, you should revaluate a lot of what you’re doing.

Megan Figueroa
That is a good point.

Lou Capetta
That’s just my take on it.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah. Well, awesome. This was a lot of fun.

Carrie Gillon
Good. I hope I– I hope this isn’t like your– you know, your worst rated episode.

Megan Figueroa
No, this is perfect. I love it.

Carrie Gillon
I’m sure people will enjoy it.

Megan Figueroa
No, it’s gonna be one of the enjoyable– I think that sometimes when we have linguists, as us linguists too, it might veer off into the boring land easier, but this is boring at all. So when we talk to non linguist I love it.

Lou Capetta
Yeah, I mean, so like I, I try to listen whenever I can, but like I do, find what you guys do fascinating even when I don’t, you know, necessarily understand it all. But I think it is… And not that I don’t understand it all, but I just– I feel like- like I’ve never even thought about some of this stuff until I discovered your podcast. I didn’t even though this was a thing I’m like. Like when you told me that I had vocal fry that was like the– it blew my mind. I’m like uh.

Megan Figueroa
You’re welcome. [laughs]

Lou Capetta
Nobody’s judged me on that so…

Carrie Gillon
I know.

Megan Figueroa
Yeah.

Lou Capetta
There’s plenty of other stuff to judge me on.

Carrie Gillon
Right.

Megan Figueroa
Well, thank you so much, Lou.

Lou Capetta
No, it was my pleasure. Thank you. It was a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to hear how it turns out now.

Carrie Gillon
Yeah.

Megan Figueroa
And we leave our listeners with don’t be an asshole.

Carrie Gillon
Don’t be an asshole.

Lou Capetta
Or if you’re in New Jersey, don’t be a douche.

Megan Figueroa
Perfect.

Carrie Gillon
[outro music] The Vocal Fries Podcast is produced by Chris Ayers for Halftone Audio. Theme music by Nick Granum. You can find us on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @vocalfriespod. You can email us at vocalfriespod@gmail.com

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