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At one time people living between San Francisco and San Jose referred to the only freeway as “The Bayshore”. On the eastern side of the bay the only freeway was called “The Nimitz”. No numbers.

Over the years I have heard just the number,
“eye-“, and “the-“. Or just “take the freeway” sans number. Usually know which one based on where headed.

So how an individual reference to a freeway or highway is typically spoken in the Bay Area is more of a designation of an individuals background, and who you hang out with.

The population of San Jose in 1950 was 57k. Ten years later 107k. Now over a million. The originals weren’t rabbits, most of those rising numbers are transplants from somewhere else, including SoCal.

So it is very normal to hear people living in the Bay Area say all of those ways of referencing a freeway because most of the people now living in the Bay Area are from somewhere else, or they are one generation away from being from somewhere else.

Very few people can make a claim like I can: my mother’s family first settled in San Jose in the 1850’s from England, while my father’s family came in 1903 from The Netherlands (called Holland at the time).

So we are all transplants, just a matter of when. I think we need to ask a Native American what they called “the” paths 🙄
 

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If you think a defininte article is somewhat offensive, try asking a SoCal driver how far it is from Point A to Point B. Your answer will come back, not in miles, but in minutes/hours.
That's because in southern California, anything less than 30 minutes of driving time is considered "next door."

And it was not taking offense. Just a correction. Definite articles in front of freeway numbers stay in southern California, where they belong. And here in the Bay Area, you need only read Mr. Roadshow to have that confirmed.
 

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At one time people living between San Francisco and San Jose referred to the only freeway as “The Bayshore”. On the eastern side of the bay the only freeway was called “The Nimitz”. No numbers.

Over the years I have heard just the number,
“eye-“, and “the-“. Or just “take the freeway” sans number. Usually know which one based on where headed.

So how an individual reference to a freeway or highway is typically spoken in the Bay Area is more of a designation of an individuals background, and who you hang out with.

The population of San Jose in 1950 was 57k. Ten years later 107k. Now over a million. The originals weren’t rabbits, most of those rising numbers are transplants from somewhere else, including SoCal.

So it is very normal to hear people living in the Bay Area say all of those ways of referencing a freeway because most of the people now living in the Bay Area are from somewhere else, or they are one generation away from being from somewhere else.

Very few people can make a claim like I can: my mother’s family first settled in San Jose in the 1850’s from England, while my father’s family came in 1903 from The Netherlands (called Holland at the time).

So we are all transplants, just a matter of when. I think we need to ask a Native American what they called “the” paths 🙄
The people here who participate in dangerous--and sometimes deadly--sideshows (yeah, try doing those in a Bolt) justify it by claiming it is culture.

The definite article is one thing when it is used before a named freeway, of which there are several around here. But in front of a freeway number? That's strictly a southern California affectation. Use it around here and you call yourself out as being from southern California.

And growing up in New England, my mom got on a genealogy kick once and traced our family back to the American Revolution, thereby making her and my sister eligible for membership in the DAR. But I still only say "grinder" when I'm there visiting family; out here it's "sub."

Saying "the 5" is akin to saying "San Fran." It's just not done around here.
 

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Use it around here and you call yourself out as being from southern California.
I moved to Anchorage Alaska for a few years when I was 16. I could hardly say 3 words without someone recognizing that I was from SoCal. Nowadays, it's not so clear. I think the SoCal style of speaking has spread and integrated far and wide.

My father-in-law grew up in Los Angeles, where I met my wife. He would give directions and say things like "take the Long Beach freeway up to the Pomona...". I'd be thinking "what kind of a nut uses freeway names instead of numbers". 🤪 I assume it was a generational thing. I suppose when number use supplanted name use, it was natural to keep the "the".
 

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Regional nuances are amusing. Take the PCH North, then get on "the 5"in Oceanside, continue North on "the 5" through LA and over "the Grapevine" ...

Or in AZ, take 40 East to Chambers, then North on 191. At the second large rock (about the size of a school bus), turn right onto the dirt road and proceed until you pass the third hogan on the left, its about 10 minutes past the large rock. The driveway will be on the left with a small mesquite next to it. Go 2 miles N on the dirt driveway till you see the shot up old Coca Cola sign on the right, and it is right there! You can't miss it!

Or in CO, get on 25, make sure the mountains are to your left. Then take 470 towards the mountains. When you get to 70, take the exit going away from the mountains.
 

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CA is where I learned to say "the___". Everywhere else it's "eye 4, 40, 25, etc"
It's because each major stretch of expressway, at least in California, is a living, breathing beast with its own unique foul, vulgar and seemingly supernatural attributes and diurnal and seasonal cycles. That's why they get the article.
 

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In Alaska some homes out in the boonies don't have addresses. It's just "Mile 68.2, Alaska highway". There's a lot of fishing spots that are something like, "Dirt road on the right, after the the mile 84 marker".
 

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This is funny -- live in So Cal most of my life till I moved to Nor Cal five years ago and everyone I've spoken to says "the" in front of the Interstate number. "The" 5, "The" 99, "The" 10, etc.
 

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That is not what we call it 'up here' in Washington St. Nor do we call it 'the 5'. And I5 does not start nor end at the California border.:cool:
The section in question however is "The Golden State Freeway." Different segments of the Interstate Highway #5 have different official names whether they are commonly used or not.
 

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In Alaska some homes out in the boonies don't have addresses. It's just "Mile 68.2, Alaska highway". There's a lot of fishing spots that are something like, "Dirt road on the right, after the the mile 84 marker".
Makes you wonder when numbers started appearing on homes . . .
 

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Growing up the valley (central, not San Fernando) and living in SF, I'm used to saying "Ninety-nine" but "I5". No 'the'. I can also say 'the Los Angeles Angels' without blinking.
 

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I can also say 'the Los Angeles Angels'
I think that's okay since one is a city name and the other is the team name. Something similar, but totally wrong is in Coronado there is the Hotel Del Coronado. It is quite common to abbreviate it to "Hotel Del" or even "The Del". I googled the name and they even have a link to "Dining at The Del". 🤪
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