Whenever a movie made in Maine cycles through Netflix such as Pet Sematary, I’m on high cringe alert, waiting the character to butcher the word “ayuh.” A debate apparently rages on whether Fred Gwynne’s character, Jud Crandall, pronounces the word correctly, or if his accent comes off like a bad stereotype. Watch the two videos we’ve embedded in this story. In the first video at the 10 second mark, listen to Gwynne’s “ayuh.”
Then in the next video, “Talk Like A Mainer,” listen to Mainer Mark Messner pronounce the two variations of the word.
So, we’ll leave it to the Pilot audience, which is the correct way to say “ayuh” and did Fred Gwynne do it justice?
Some of Maine’s colloquialisms and regionalisms have crossed over to the mainstream, thanks to writers like Stephen King, comedians like Bob Marley and TV shows like DownEast Dickering (which, if you didn’t know “dickering” is a Maine expression for “haggling”) Because of this, most people already know the expressions “all stoved up” (badly damaged), “cunnin’” (cute) “gawmy” (awkward/bad design) and “upta camp” (a camp or cottage that Mainers go to for the weekend or on vacation).
So we’re putting this out to our Pilot readers: what seldom-used-today expressions do you still use and what do they mean?
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org