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"Hainna Hainna, I'm from Scranton Pennsylvania!" Topic

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1,235 hits since 25 Jul 2011
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2011 10:30 a.m. PST

Every now and then, I throw in a local word, "hainna". It has various spellings. Haina, Heyna, etc.
It used to be used a lot by the locals, and recently, Kids Today tried to avoid it, since it was so low class, reminiscent of our immigrant past. They felt it was beneath them to speak like their parents. 8^(

Here is a satiric example:
YouTube link

I have heard several theories. One is that the local Italian immigrants used it as a simplified "ain't it?" This is a double slur, since "ain't" is supposed to be low brow, and "after all, they are only Italians"… (But Flashman uses it!) I once read that "ain't" was supposed to be rejected, since no one ever used it correctly. grin

Hainna is usually used to seek approval from the listener of a "fact" that is in contention. Example: "Bricoles were invented by the Austrians, hainna?"

My own theory is that it comes from the Pennsylvania Dutch. "Hein?" fills that need in German.
I also find it equivalent to the French "N'est-ce pas?"

What floored me over the weekend was a back channel PM from one of the few TMPers who is currently talking to me. grin He pointed out to me that "hain na" is Hindi for "Isn't it?" Good Grief! Irish, Polish and Italian immigrants in good ole Nort'East PA use a Hindi phrase in our local patois!

Do they still classify languages as "Indo European", or is that a Victorian relic? If it is still fashionable, I may as well go for my PhF in linguistics on "hainna".
Are there Spanish or Iranian similar constructions? How about Finnish, which is officially not in the IE language club? Hungarian? Russian?

aecurtis Fezian Inactive Member25 Jul 2011 11:18 a.m. PST

"Do they still classify languages as "Indo European", or is that a Victorian relic?"


Andrew May1 Inactive Member25 Jul 2011 12:06 p.m. PST

John, I always knew you were a brother. Only an Indian could be that grumpy for that long, hainna? laugh

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2011 12:24 p.m. PST

Grumpiness may be as universal as "Hainna?"

Streitax Inactive Member25 Jul 2011 12:34 p.m. PST

Thanks for the video.

aecurtis Fezian Inactive Member25 Jul 2011 1:14 p.m. PST

"Only an Indian could be that grumpy for that long, hainna?"

Pshht. You should see Deepak Chopra when he's had a few rounds of Sex on the Beach. Man, nothing's right with the world *then*.


Andrew May1 Inactive Member25 Jul 2011 1:40 p.m. PST

Allen, don't deny your Punjabi roots bhaisahib! laugh

Personal logo Waco Joe Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2011 1:49 p.m. PST

Wait, are we talking dot or feather?

OldGrenadier at work26 Jul 2011 4:57 a.m. PST


Y'all ain't frum aroun' he-yuh, are ye? Yew tawk funny.

Sane Max Inactive Member27 Jul 2011 7:57 a.m. PST

"Soor Kabaj – Hai, Soor Kabaj!"


Khusrau20 Oct 2016 6:46 p.m. PST

Finnish & Magyar are Ugro-Finnic, the other odd one out is Basque. And our Hungarian friends will tell you it's pronounced Modjerro. Pretty sure the bleeopomatic wouldn't recognise most of my vocabulary. Could also do some passable Calabrese and a tiny bit of Middle Persian.

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