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If it doesn't say Dixie Outfitters, it AIN'T Dixie Outfitters!
This basic vocabulary guide to our language down here is offered as a gesture of our hospitality to visiting
Northerners who truly want to be able to
understand what it is that we're saying.
This basic vocabulary guide to our language down here is offered as a gesture of our hospitality to visiting Northerners who truly want to be able to understand what it is that we're saying.
Ah - The pronoun "I." i.e., "Ah done did that."
This part of the Southern Language guide has been prepared to provide non-Southern people a guide to the peculiar way we Southrons paraphrase and colloquialise thangs down here.
The Proper Use of "Bless His/Her Heart" and "Swanee"
Someone once noted that a Southerner can get away with the most awful kind of insult just as long as it's prefaced with the words, "Bless her heart" or "Bless his heart." As in, "Bless his heart, if they put his brain on the head of a pin, it'd roll around like a BB on a six lane highway." Or, "Bless her heart, she's so bucktoothed, she could eat an apple through a picket fence."
There are also the sneakier ones that I remember from tongue clucking types of my childhood: "You know, it's amazing that even though she had that baby 7 months after they got married, bless her heart, it weighed 10 pounds!"
As long as the heart is sufficiently blessed, the insult can't be all that bad, at least that's what my Great Aunt Tiny (bless her heart, she was anything but tiny) used to say. I was thinking about this the other day when a friend was telling me about her new Northern friend who was upset because her toddler is just beginning to talk and he has a Southern accent. My friend, who is very kind and, bless her heart, cannot do a thing about those thighs of hers, was justifiably miffed about this. After all, this woman had CHOSEN to move to the South a couple of years ago. "Can you believe it?" said my friend. "A child of mine is going to be taaaallllkkin liiiike thiiiissss."
Now, don't get me wrong. Some of my dearest friends are from the North, bless their hearts. I welcome their perspective, their friendships and their recipes for authentic Northern Italian food. I've even gotten past their endless complaints that you can't find good bagels down here.
The ones who really gore my ox are the native Southerners who have begun to act almost embarrassed about their speech. It's as if they want to bury it in the "Hee Haw" cornfield. We've already lost too much.
I was raised to swanee, not swear, but you hardly ever hear anyone say that anymore, I swanee you don't. And I've caught myself thinking twice before saying something is "right much"; "right close"or "right good" because non-natives think this is right funny indeed. I have a friend from Bawston who thinks it's hilarious when I say I've got to "carry" my daughter to the doctor or "cut off" the light. She also gets a giggle every time I am fixin to do somethin'. My personal favorite was uttered by my aunt who said, "Bless her heart, she can't help being ugly, but she could've stayed home."
To those of you who're still a little embarrassed by your Southernness: take two tent revivals and a dose of redeye gravy and call me in the morning. Bless your heart!
And to those of you who are still having a hard time understanding all this Southern stuff, bless your hearts, I hear they are fixin to have classes on Southernese as a second language!
Bye Bye Y'all!
Only a true Southerner knows the difference between a hissie fit and a conniption, or how many fish make up a mess.
A true Southerner can show or point out to you the general direction of cattywumpus.
A true Southerner knows exactly how long directly is, as in "Going to town, be back directly."
Even true Southern babies know that "Gimme some sugar" is not a request for the white, granular sweet substance that sits in a pretty little bowl in the middle of the table.
All true Southerners know exactly when "by and by" is.
True Southerners know instinctively that the best gesture of solace for a neighbor who's got trouble is a plate of hot fried chicken and a big bowl of cold tater salad. (If the trouble is a real crisis, they also know to add some hot biscuits and nanner puddin'.)
True Southerners grow up knowing the difference in length between "pert' near" and "a right far piece."
True Southerners both know and understand the differences between a redneck, a good ol' boy, and po'white trash.
True Southerners know that fixin' can be used both as a noun, verb and adverb.
No true Southerner would ever assume that the car with the flashing turn signal is actually going to make a turn.