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:
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.
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. 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?