JERSEY SHORE – Those who live at the Jersey Shore year round speak a language of their own. Actually, it’s often a mix of dialects from other parts of Jersey, New York and those who come from the near west. Philadelphia, that is.

Most make a common distinction. They are not anything like the Jersey Shore cast whose drama captivates avid watchers throughout the United States. In fact, the locals disavow any connection to the show’s portrayal of the Jersey shore.

Jersey Shore Locals Have Special Names for People

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Permanent residents use an acronym to describe those who they say flock to their beaches making loud noises and wearing flashy jewelry.  Meanwhile, there’s no specified timeline marking when someone no longer deserves the distinction as a BENNY.

Some say bennies are people who overtake the Jersey shore from Bayonne, Elizabeth, Newark, and New York. Others suggest they are from Bergen County, Essex County, Newark (and, yes, that’s Essex County), and New York.

For some locals who grew up along the coastline, it’s once a BENNY, always a BENNY.  They continue to cringe at the seemingly distinguishing accents associated with transplants. It’s as though moving to the shore means taking up roots in a foreign land.

Although the term isn’t used as frequently, Jersey shore tourists also earn the nickname of Shoobies.  This characterization dates back to the 1920s when trains brought in day-trippers from New York, North Jersey, and Philadelphia. They used shoeboxes to carry their lunch for the excursion.

Associated with a negative connotation over the years, a whole new generation of those who grew up in the Jersey Pine Barrens proudly refer to themselves as Pineys. 

Some shore towns become isolated when the vacationers leave. Despite the increase in traffic, residents do appreciate the push to their economy.

Meanwhile, you won’t find many locals from towns like Barnegat or Ocean Township venturing into Long Beach Island on the summer weekends. Many won’t even go anywhere near Route 72 on a Saturday morning.

Jersey Shore Dialect

When it comes to language variations, it’s not just the usual gravy versus sauce battle. Or, even Taylor Ham versus pork roll. There’s even more.

In the first place, you aren’t heading to the beach if you’re going to towns like Asbury Park, Point Pleasant, or Wildwood. You’re going down the shore. Make no mistake about it.

When you set up your blanket and chairs in the sand, you aren’t at the beach. Once again, you’re at the shore.

Apparently, taffy means one thing to Jersey natives and another to those who hail from Philadelphia. Candy like suckers referred to as lollipops by many – are taffy to those coming from over the Delaware River.

Is it Italian ice or water ice?  While the two certainly seem to taste the same, what people call them identifies their origin. The latest to the mix of frozen desserts is Polish water ice, found in stands on Jersey shore boardwalks.

Pizza pie or tomato pie?  Those who love America’s favorite fare, flock to Maruca’s Tomato Pies in Seaside Heights. The owners say tomato pies are Trenton style, with cheese on the bottom and sauce on top.

Although you may find references to Jersey shore sub shops, Jersey shore permanent residents call the overstuffed sandwiches hoagies. This may make perfect sense as Wawa sells hoagies and not sub sandwiches. Their entry into New Jersey began at the Jersey shore.

And last, but certainly not least, one phrase stands out if you’re at the Jersey Shore. Whatever you do – “Watch the Tram Car, Please.”

Stephanie A. Faughnan is a local journalist and Director of Writefully Inspired, a professional writing and resume service. Feel free to contact her at sfaughnan@tapinto.net.