Y'all Going to SECO?
If you answered yes, you'll want to learn how
to speak Southern.
do you get to Chattanooga?" asked the Yankee tourist lost in Tennessee. "Well, mostly
my son-in-law carries me," the old man replied.
and raised in Aurora, Ill., I was also a Yankee before moving to Rome, Ga. Thus,
this use of the word "carry" to indicate driving or taking someone somewhere, rather
than physically carrying him, was difficult to get used to.
Although I have come to thoroughly
enjoy the colorful, melodic and friendly Southern accent and idiom, in addition
to "carry," many other Southern terms were perplexing to me at first.
What they mean
The SECO meeting in Atlanta is coming up next
month. If you are from a different area of the country, or the world, perhaps my
experience in learning this new language can help you. Following are some of the
lessons that I learned. First, words that need translation:
Summers "I know that boy is
around here summers."
Hep "Can I hep you carry that?"
Tarred "Ah'm too tarred to go
Bidness "It's none of your
Ratcheer "I left my car keys
ratcheer on the table, and now they're gone."
Idinit "Mighty hot today, idinit?"
Axed "I axed him a question."
Widja didja "You didn't bring
your idiot cousin along widja, didja?"
Sound the same?
Different words being unintentionally pronounced
the same also threw me for a while. On a candid camera show I saw, the announcer
asked a gentleman from South Carolina, "How do you pronounce the word 'f-a-r'?"
"Fahr," he replied.
"How do you pronounce the word 'f-i-r-e?"
he then asked.
"Fahr," was again the response.
"Then those two words are pronounced
just the same?" asked the announcer.
"No, no!!!" the gentleman responded
fervently. '"F-a-r' is pronounced 'fahr,' and 'f-i-r-e' is pronounced 'fahr!'"
Another illustration of this is the
story of the two Yankee women driving south who stopped for gas atop a mountain
in Tennessee on a clear crisp day. "Just smell that air," one of them said, as she
took a deep breath.
"That 'ere what?" asked the elderly
gas station attendant.
An advantage of "talkin' Southern" is that it
often reduces the number of syllables in a word:
Cain't can not
Jev-ver did you ever
Nome No ma'am
The two prize-winners are one syllable
words that replace four
Nairn nary a one.
One thing still baffles me. When Southerners efficiently
reduce the number of syllables in so many words, why do some instead add syllables?
Day-um "Frankly, my dear, I
don't give a day-um."
Fay-an "It was so hot, I had
to turn on the electric fay-an."
Gri-yuts "I have gri-yuts for
breakfast every morning."
It's difficult to communicate when
you don't understand the language. I hope this dissertation "heps" you when in
OUR CONSULTING EDITOR, LIVES IN ROME, GA. HE'S
ALSO A PAST EDITOR OF OM. CONTACT HIM AT RUNNINGERJ@COMCAST.NET
Optometric Management, Issue: January 2007