On the Southern Literary Trail discussion

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On Southern Class and Culture > HOW TO SPEAK SOUTHERN

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message 1: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new)

Diane Barnes | 3868 comments Mod
You asked for it, so here it is. I'll start this one off by asking, how many of you know instinctively what is meant when someone or some action is described as "common"? As in, AmyJean, don't cuss, it's common."


message 2: by Kirk (new)

Kirk Smith | 102 comments Diane you Rock! Thanks for starting this, I was really enjoying the previous discussion.


message 3: by Thing Two (new)

Thing Two (thingtwo) | 82 comments White trashy
Uneducated rednecks down at the fillin' station

I just finished a book "set" in Alabama (but written by a woman from the Netherlands) and my biggest complaint is the lack of Southern language. You may say it's set in The South, but unless I hear Southern spoken, I'm gonna call your alligator a lizard.


message 4: by Tina (new)

Tina  | 486 comments Common = both uneducated and redneck


message 5: by Tina (new)

Tina  | 486 comments Also, crass.


message 6: by Tom, "Big Daddy" (new)

Tom Mathews | 2502 comments Mod
Here's my first question. What is the proper usage of the word 'Y'all'? I once read a fascinating, and surprisingly complicated, discussion on the subject.

Is it plural or do you need to add an 'all' in front to make it plural?

Does it vary from state to state?


message 7: by Randolph (new)

Randolph (us227381) | 6 comments How to speak Southern is to speak White Trashy and uneducated? What if I said that to talk like a Southern black person was to talk like a "n----r? Would everybody accept that here? Would you call an uneducated black person that? That's what "white trash" is, just like "n____r," an unnecessary and offensive cultural, and yes, ethnic slur against a minority group. To be impoverished does not make one criminal or subhuman, nor does living in a trailer or shack or driving a pickup truck or being a victim of a poor underfunded education or living south of the Mason-Dixon line.


message 8: by Tom, "Big Daddy" (new)

Tom Mathews | 2502 comments Mod
Randolph wrote: "How to speak Southern is to speak White Trashy and uneducated? What if I said that to talk like a Southern black person was to talk like a "n----r? Would everybody accept that here? Would you ca..."

Every population, be it geographic, ethnic, or other, has its own colloquial terms and expressions. This thread was started to explore the implied subtexts behind such uniquely Southern phrases as Bless your heart'. It is in no way intended to be derogatory or condescending.


message 9: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new)

Diane Barnes | 3868 comments Mod
Randolph, Thing Two was answering my question about the meaning of "common", not making a judgement on Southern speech. And she was right on, that's exactly what it means.


message 10: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new)

Diane Barnes | 3868 comments Mod
Tom, Y ' all is a contraction of you all, which is already plural. It's too hot down here to use more words than we have to, LOL.


message 11: by Tom, "Big Daddy" (new)

Tom Mathews | 2502 comments Mod
Diane wrote: "Tom, Y ' all is a contraction of you all, which is already plural. It's too hot down here to use more words than we have to, LOL."

In the discussion I read last year one of the readers (from Tennessee or Texas or one of those 't' places) swore that while y'all is technically a contraction of 'You all', its usage is so common (not the definition above) that one should use 'all y'all' when referring to three or more people.


message 12: by Kirk (new)

Kirk Smith | 102 comments Randolph wrote: "How to speak Southern is to speak White Trashy and uneducated? What if I said that to talk like a Southern black person was to talk like a "n----r? Would everybody accept that here? Would you ca..."

It's alright Randolph. You just kind of caught this out of context. Everyone here is laughing "with" not "at" any socio-economic class. For a real idea of how light hearted this discussion is intended to be, go read the last ten postings at the end of the 'Go Set a Watchman, Final Impressions' thread. Nobody is disrespecting anyone up in here. Thanks!


message 13: by Tina (last edited Aug 13, 2015 08:58AM) (new)

Tina  | 486 comments Ok.... let's not take this somewhere it was never intended to go Randolph. No one is being offensive. If you were raised in the south then you should know there are all sorts of geographic terms and expressions just like everywhere else in the U.S. My friend from Pittsburg in college said Yous guys the way we say Y'all. He called me his Southern Hillbilly and I called him an Italian Guido. We took no offense to it.


message 14: by Tina (new)

Tina  | 486 comments Let's lighten up this thread with "trade". As in, "we trade at the Piggly Wiggly".


message 15: by LeAnne: (new)

LeAnne: GeezerMom | 1310 comments "Bless her heart"

A genteel way of insulting or critiquing another but maintaining our reputation for southern hospitality and graciousness. You can say just about anything negative, but adding "bless her heart" means you are just concerned over another's welfare <>.

EXAMPLE: "Ugh! Darla Mae's potato salad tastes like her husband peed in it. Bless her heart."

)


message 16: by LeAnne: (new)

LeAnne: GeezerMom | 1310 comments Tina wrote: "Let's lighten up this thread with "trade". As in, "we trade at the Piggly Wiggly"."

In New Orleans, we "make groceries."


message 17: by Tina (new)

Tina  | 486 comments Make groceries! That's a new one for me!


message 18: by LeAnne: (last edited Aug 13, 2015 09:16AM) (new)

LeAnne: GeezerMom | 1310 comments Tom wrote: "Diane wrote: "Tom, Y ' all is a contraction of you all, which is already plural. It's too hot down here to use more words than we have to, LOL."

In the discussion I read last year one of the read..."


Tom, nope. Two or more people are addressed as y'all, as in "y'all both had better hush your mouths or Daddy's fixin to whoop your hides."

EDITED TO ADD - you can hear us groan anytime an author or screen writer has a Southerner address a single person as "y'all." Y'ouns is what my Pittsburgh relatives use, and it is never singular.


message 19: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new)

Diane Barnes | 3868 comments Mod
For a truly funny book about being raised as a "southern lady" and all that entails, I highly recommend Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady by Florence King. It's a no holds barred account of how her grandmother tried, against great odds, to raise her as a proper southerner. It was an epic fail, but the telling is one of the funniest memoirs you'll ever read. There are no sacred cows here, she makes fun of everything.


message 20: by Katherine (new)

Katherine (madlibn) | 11 comments Carry - "I've gotta carry mama to the store"
def.: take in the car.


message 21: by Tina (new)

Tina  | 486 comments Oh, yes. We carry folks all over the place.


message 22: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new)

Diane Barnes | 3868 comments Mod
LeAnne wrote: "Tom wrote: "Diane wrote: "Tom, Y ' all is a contraction of you all, which is already plural. It's too hot down here to use more words than we have to, LOL."

In the discussion I read last year one..."

I had to stop a lady mid-sentence once when she said "Do yallses have......?" I couldn't let her get any further without stopping her. I gave a mini lesson right then and there.


message 23: by Tom, "Big Daddy" (new)

Tom Mathews | 2502 comments Mod
What do you call liquor stores? I remember something someone said when I was in the Navy and it took several minutes to figure out what the heck he was talking about.


message 24: by Jane (new)

Jane | 738 comments Diane wrote: "Tom, Y ' all is a contraction of you all, which is already plural. It's too hot down here to use more words than we have to, LOL."
LOL


message 25: by Kirk (new)

Kirk Smith | 102 comments Here in the Midwest (still a part of "greater Appalachia" in spirit), we are always fixin' to do something. We never plan or anticipate because we know we are "fixin' to get to it later". I assume this carries through most of the South.


message 26: by Tom, "Big Daddy" (new)

Tom Mathews | 2502 comments Mod
Kirk wrote: "Here in the Midwest (still a part of "greater Appalachia" in spirit), we are always fixin' to do something. We never plan or anticipate because we know we are "fixin' to get to it later". I assume ..."

I think that also counts as a Western term but it's more of a replacement for 'about to' rather than an excuse for procrastination. 'Luke's fixin' to go fix the fence and could use a hand.'


message 27: by LeAnne: (new)

LeAnne: GeezerMom | 1310 comments Tom wrote: "What do you call liquor stores? I remember something someone said when I was in the Navy and it took several minutes to figure out what the heck he was talking about."

In south Louisiana, we call the liquor store Winn Dixie, Piggly Wiggly, Rouse's, or whatever is the name of our grocery store. One can buy liquor and limes at the same place - highly convenient!

We also have drive-through daiquiri shops and "go-cups" so that if you don't finish your drink at the restaurant or bar, you just take it along to walk around sipping.


message 28: by Doug H (new)

Doug H Tina wrote: "Let's lighten up this thread with "trade". As in, "we trade at the Piggly Wiggly"."

Careful with "trade" there, Tina. In some cultures, it's even less of a compliment than "common".

E.g., "His new boyfriend is trade."

;)


message 29: by Thing Two (new)

Thing Two (thingtwo) | 82 comments All y'all better be on y'all's best behavior or my mama'll call y'all common!

I'm pretty sure y'all can mean two, three, or more, depending on the sentence, but dadgummit watch where you put that apostrophe! People who write "ya'll" don't have the sense God gave a goose!


message 30: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new)

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
In the South, when you make a mistake, you do something "bass ackwards," which is a polite way of saying you did something "ass backwards." *ahem*How to Speak Southern by Steve Mitchell and his successive titles in the series is a fairly good glossary of southern idiom.

http://usadeepsouth.ms11.net/southmou... provides numerous examples of other Southern colloquialisms contributed to "Deep South" by Southerners.


message 31: by Kirk (new)

Kirk Smith | 102 comments Thing Two wrote: "All y'all better be on y'all's best behavior or my mama'll call y'all common!

I'm pretty sure y'all can mean two, three, or more, depending on the sentence, but dadgummit watch where you put that..."


Like!!


message 32: by E. (new)

E. | 6 comments All y'all as opposed to y'all.
(Of course pronounced aw yaw)
Denotes specific inclusion of everyone present, or even those not present, the greater group.

Y'all are late!
All y'all been late this week!

(Which were words out of my mouth yesterday)


message 33: by M.L. (last edited Aug 13, 2015 10:47AM) (new)

M.L. | 69 comments Mike wrote: "In the South, when you make a mistake, you do something "bass ackwards," which is a polite way of saying you did something "ass backwards." *ahem*How to Speak Southern by [author:St..."

That is really humorous. Thanks for the link!

"Arshtaters: A staple of the Irish diet."

"Sam Spade: Private "ah".


message 34: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 69 comments And the cover is nice :)
How to Speak Southern by Steve Mitchell


message 35: by Kirk (new)

Kirk Smith | 102 comments Do I dare bring up the endearment "cracker"? Here's a link that looks at the history of the term--- http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitc... --Enjoy y'all


message 36: by Tina (new)

Tina  | 486 comments Kirk, I'm fixin' to walk out of this doctors office if they don't call my name soon. Yes, we use fixin' a lot.


message 37: by Kirk (new)

Kirk Smith | 102 comments Tina wrote: "Kirk, I'm fixin' to walk out of this doctors office if they don't call my name soon. Yes, we use fixin' a lot."

I was pretty sure y'all did. :)


message 38: by Karen (new)

Karen Diane wrote: "You asked for it, so here it is. I'll start this one off by asking, how many of you know instinctively what is meant when someone or some action is described as "common"? As in, AmyJean, don't c..."

Not in that context I don't.


message 39: by Karen (new)

Karen Tina wrote: "Common = both uneducated and redneck"

Oh, yes of Course!


message 40: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new)

Diane Barnes | 3868 comments Mod
In my (much) younger days I was a Veterinary Technician. Two Drs. from Ohio and Minnesota bought out the practice from Dr. Gurley, who was retiring after 40 years owning the practice. An elderly gentleman brought his hound dog in one day with the complaint that he was runnin' off. Dr. Swenberg said that wasn't a veterinary problem. Did he have a fenced yard to keep him in? Old man said no. Could he keep him tied up? Old man said How's that going to help? Dr. Swenberg says, Why don't you just keep him in the house then? Old man stands up and shouts, I TOLD YOU THE DOG'S RUNNIN' OFF. DR. GURLEY ALWAYS FIXES IT WITH SOME PILLS, JUST GIVE ME THE DAMN PILLS!
At this point I go into the examining room and ask to speak to .Dr. Swenberg. I explain to him that the dog has diarrhea, and that "runnin ' off" is a southern term for loose bowels. He turned red to the roots of his Swedish hair, and the old man got his pills. After that, he always asked before making any assumptions about southern phrases.


message 41: by Karen (last edited Aug 13, 2015 01:07PM) (new)

Karen LeAnne wrote: "Tina wrote: "Let's lighten up this thread with "trade". As in, "we trade at the Piggly Wiggly"."

In New Orleans, we "make groceries.""


Lol! I want to go to New Orleans so much! My husband isn't thrilled with the idea. My main reason would be for music and decadence, we don't drink. I love the way people talk there.
Am I the only northerner in this group?


message 42: by Tom, "Big Daddy" (new)

Tom Mathews | 2502 comments Mod
Diane wrote: "At this point I go into the examining room and ask to speak to .Dr. Swenberg. I explain to him that the dog has diarrhea, and that "runnin ' off" is a southern term for loose bowels. He turned red to the roots of his Swedish hair, and the old man got his pills. After that, he always asked before making any assumptions about southern phrases."

Well that sure gives new meaning to the phrase 'running off at the mouth'.


message 43: by Tina (new)

Tina  | 486 comments Diane wrote: "In my (much) younger days I was a Veterinary Technician. Two Drs. from Ohio and Minnesota bought out the practice from Dr. Gurley, who was retiring after 40 years owning the practice. An elderly ..."

It my world it was "the runs" for a dog. However, a cow/calf had "the scours". "That number 29 heifer has the scours. Help me get her in the pen."


message 44: by Tina (new)

Tina  | 486 comments Tom wrote: "Diane wrote: "At this point I go into the examining room and ask to speak to .Dr. Swenberg. I explain to him that the dog has diarrhea, and that "runnin ' off" is a southern term for loose bowels. ..."

Funniy, but true and also known as "verbal diarrhea".


message 45: by Tina (new)

Tina  | 486 comments Doug wrote: "Tina wrote: "Let's lighten up this thread with "trade". As in, "we trade at the Piggly Wiggly"."

Careful with "trade" there, Tina. In some cultures, it's even less of a compliment than "common".
..."


;0)


message 46: by Karen (new)

Karen Diane wrote: "In my (much) younger days I was a Veterinary Technician. Two Drs. from Ohio and Minnesota bought out the practice from Dr. Gurley, who was retiring after 40 years owning the practice. An elderly ..."

That's so funny!!!


message 47: by LeAnne: (new)

LeAnne: GeezerMom | 1310 comments Do any of y'all use the term "dirty leg" to describe a certain type of woman? I bumped into it recently - maybe in a Ron Rash short story? or in the book, Rivers? - and remarked on it to my husband. He's the only person Ive ever heard use that term (along with "road lizard") and is from a little town in north Mississippi, near the Tennessee & Alabama state lines.

"Good lord, Herbert. I hope he doesn't bring that gal to the reception. She looks like an ole dirty leg to me."


message 48: by Lynn (last edited Aug 13, 2015 02:53PM) (new)

Lynn (lmelliott) Tom wrote: "What do you call liquor stores? I remember something someone said when I was in the Navy and it took several minutes to figure out what the heck he was talking about."

Could you mean the package store? That was the euphemism my parents used.


message 49: by Katherine (new)

Katherine (madlibn) | 11 comments LeAnne wrote: "Tom wrote: "What do you call liquor stores? I remember something someone said when I was in the Navy and it took several minutes to figure out what the heck he was talking about."

In south Louisia..."


In Virginia, and some other states, I think, they are ABC stores because they are state run by the Alcohol Board of Control. There are for hard liquor. You can buy beer and wine at the grocery store.


message 50: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new)

Diane Barnes | 3868 comments Mod
In NC, they were ABC stores. And cash only. I think Louisiana is way ahead of the rest of us, just put it all in the grocery store.


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