Harpin’ the Ling in Boonville, California


Chipmunk (left) went to the hob. “I shied the hob,” harped Deacon, “too codgy. ” “There was a huge fister,” harped Chipmunk, “and the highman of the higheelers brought in thribs deputies and shut ‘er down.” “Not bahl,” harped Deacon. “Gotta have a fister once in awhile to get it out of yer system.”

(Translation: Chipmunk went to the dance. Deacon didn’t…getting too old for that he “harped” or said. Chipmunk said there was a big fight and the sheriff brought in three deputies to shut it down. Not “bahl” or good, “harped” Deacon.)

Boontling is an folk language spoken only in Boonville, in the Anderson Valley of Northern California. It was invented in the late 1800s and had quite a following at the turn of the century. Now it is only spoken by old-timers and heritage.

AUDIO: Harpin’ the Ling in Boonville, California

Boontling has more than a thousand unique words and phrases.

A Bucky Walter, for example, is a pay telephone. Bucky means nickel and Walter was the name of the guy who owned Boonville’s first telephone. A horn of zeese is a cup of coffee.

Practical Boontling for Travelers

ab chaser– Someone who lives on the coast, an “abalone chaser.” Not to be outdone, ab chasers call Boonters squirrel bacon.

belhoon – Dollar

blooch – To chatter aimlessly. (also means to masturbate)

Boont Dusties – The Boonville Cemetery

dinklehonk – cow

gorm – to eat

hyoottle – hotel

kilockety – to travel by train

kiloppety -to travel by horse

trashmover – heavy winter storm

weech – a small child

zeese – coffee. Named after a man named Zeese whose coffee, it is said, “would float an egg.”


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