"Red Eye" on Chicago Accent, Windy City, Chicago Hot Dogs

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Sat Sep 30 03:00:04 UTC 2006

"Red Eye" is a free, condensed edition of the Chicago Tribune. A  "Chicago 
Greeter" now quotes my work (no credit, natch) as having found  "Windy City" in 
Cincinnati papers in the 1860s? Before Chicago had sports teams  and the 1870s 
Reds-Whites rivalry with Cincinnati?
_Our  Mission _ 

RedEye is Chicago's free daily newspaper that provides a concise  and 
authentic take on news, sports, entertainment and social buzz. RedEye, an  edition of 
the Chicago Tribune, has become the leading vehicle in Chicago for  
advertisers wanting to reach young, urban professionals who are short on time  and long 
on disposable income. 

True Chicago
RedEye sets the record straight
on 13 local myths and mysteries
By _Kyra  Kyles_ (mailto:kkyles at tribune.com) 

Published September 27 2006
The Excalibur nightclub is a source of mystery for Dee Zrnich,  25.

"I saw this documentary on Excalibur, and I've been on this site  called 
_hauntedchicago.com_ (http://hauntedchicago.com/) ," the  Jefferson Park resident 
said of the club at 632 N. Dearborn St. "When I go  there, I always want to 
ask somebody if there are ghosts there, but when you're  drinking, it's not a 
good time."

But ghouls aren't the only local  fascination. One South Sider's quest is to 
find the building where media mogul  Oprah Winfrey lives.

"I just keep wondering where it is," said Aleria  Butler, 20. "She just is 
such a big figure nationally."

Those mysteries  are among the most popular for those who live in or are 
visiting the city,  history buffs said. About 10 years ago, locals were obsessed 
with Chicago's mob  history, but the new focus is on simple history, local 
legends and pop culture  trivia including:  Did Mrs. O'Leary's cow really burn the 
city to a crisp?  What exactly is the Cubs' curse?  Why does the Chicago 
River run backward?

RedEye picked the brains of  several local historians and sports experts to 
uncover the truth behind popular  traditions, myths and rumors blowing around 
the Windy  City.

What are the origins of the "Chi-caw-go"  accent? Mayor Daley's pronunciation 
of Chicago as "Chi-caw-go" illustrates  the accent that outsiders attribute 
to the city, said Russell Lewis, chief  historian of the Chicago History Museum.

Chicago natives have a  distinctive nasal accent that also can be found among 
Michigan, Cleveland and  western New York State residents, Lewis said.

"This may have been derived  from heavy German, Polish and Eastern European 
influences in the Great Lakes  Region," Lewis said.

Why is Chicago called the Windy  City?
There are two possible sources, according to Chicago greeter  Jennifer Gordon.

"Some think that during the competition for the 1893  World Fair, which 
Chicago won, that it came down to Chicago and New York,"  Gordon said. A New York 
editor, tired of hearing Chicago politicians brag,  dubbed Chicago a "Windy 
City," full of politicians with a lot of hot  air.

Another school of thought attributes the slogan to a Cincinnati  journalist 
in the 1860s who tired of Chicagoans bragging about their sports  teams, Gordon 

Why do we load our hot dogs with toppings—except  ketchup?
Local culinary historian Bruce Kraig told RedEye in 2003 that  dog-loading 
can be traced to the 1920s, when local Italian and Greek hot dog  stand vendors 
tried to outdo each other with toppings. That's why a  Chicago-style hot dog 
is piled with German condiments of mustard, pickles and  celery salt along with 
Mediterranean-inspired tomatoes, hot peppers and  relish.

So locals empty the entire vegetable garden on a hot dog but  frown on adding 
ketchup. Why?

"Nobody knows for sure, but it may be that  the relish is already sweet and 
adding ketchup just makes it too darn sweet,"  Lewis said.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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