Suthern Speak

NB: All rules of spelling, grammar, and punctuation must be suspended while writing Suthern Speak. Suthern is a variant of Elizabethan English, and survives in its purest form in the Appalachians. What many deride as ignorance is in fact preservation of an historical treasure.

We practice economy of language, droppin letters and even syllables we deem unnecessary.

Kindly do not give me any grief about the Confederate flag. We cannot erase history or make it more palatable to some by banning symbols. I believe the saying is, "Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it." For me, as for most Southerners, the flag has no connotations of slavery. It is rather a symbol of the Grand Lost Cause, the death of chivalry and honor in wartime, and an excruciatingly tragic moment in our history. Most Southerners did not own slaves, or even condone the practice. Rather, the issue over which we seceded was that no damnyankee was going to tell us what to do. The war had far more to do with the yankee-controlled Congress' imposing tariffs to protect the north's manufactured goods, tariffs that did not benefit, indeed penalized, the agricultural South.

If you don't believe it was the last gentlemen's war, go to Fort Sumter, where it all began, and listen to the audio reconstruction of the surrender of the fort. Have some she-crab soup in Charleston while you are there.

A, uh - Frequently attached to verbs, "I'm agonna go to the store and get me some tater chips and a cocola."

Ackshul - Actual, "You don' wanna know what chitlins ackshully are."

Aholt of - "Soon as I get aholt of yo butt, you are gettin a whuppin."

Apern - Apron, "Put that apern on fore you mess up yore Sunday-go-to-meetin dress."

Askeered - Scared: "I am not askeered of no html."

Arn - Iron, as in, "If I don't arn this shirt, I cain't go out in public."

As nervous as: a cat in a room full of rocking chairs; or, as a virgin on the verge.

Awwul - Oil. My friend Lori calls me up from Denver just to make me say "awwul" so she can laugh. "We knocked the awwul pan slap offa Bobbie Jo's Merkry when we ran over that possum."

Bidness/Biness - The practice of commerce. "Bobby Earl better mind his own bidness."

Birfday - (Thanks, Clay!) The date of one's birth, "Happy birfday, y'all."

Bob War - Known in other parts of the world as "barbed wire."

Bubba - Originally short for "brother." Now refers to all good ole boys.

Bubba Sue - Good ole girl, also known as "Baby Sister."

Chivverlay - Chevrolet.

Chirren - Rug rats, as in, "How many chirren did Wiley Rufus and Jean Ann have?" Also "chillun."

Cocola - The Official Beverage of Choice in Atlanta. "Gimme a cocola and a bag them Planners' Peanuts."

Damnyankee - Anyone from above the Mason-Dixon line, or Southerners who fought on the Union side during the Recent Unpleasantness.

Double-dog - A comparative, "I double-dog dare you." Nowhere near as bad as a triple-dog dare, the superlative, which cannot be refused as a matter of honor.

Eggzackly - Exactly, "You are eggzackly right." Variant: perzackly.

Far - Fire. "Put another lawg on the far, wouldja Lurleen?"

Farun, Furrin - Foreign, "Lula May married a furriner, some damnyankee."

Fine as frogs' hair - exceptionally wonderful.

Fixin - Getting ready. "Me and Alice Wade are fixin to go downtown."

Frog-stranglin' stem-windin' gully-washer - quite a downpour.

Fron chard - The opposite of the back yard.

Gitcher - as in, "Gitcher ass in the house right NOW."

Good ole boys - the guys I went to high school with.

Guvvner - the head of state guvmint or gummit.

Helt - Held, "I helt my tongue long as I could."

Hep - Help, as in, "Hep me bring in some more lawgs for the far, Sarah Beth."

Hush yo mouf - Hush your mouth, "You better hush yo mouf fore you get a whupping for sassin me."

Ignernt - Ignorant, "I swear, Joe Tom, thass the most ignernt thang I ever heard you say."

Juhear - "Juhear the rumor about Earline and Bobby Duke?"

Kinda, kinely - Kind of, or kindly, "Would you kinely pass me the pot likker, I am kinda starvin."

Lectric - Electric, "The girls down at the beaudy parler got one them lectic hair curlers."

Lil Lady - How Southern gemmun (gentlemen) of a certain age address all women. I find it utterly charming. "Filler up for you, lil lady?"

Litebread - Very white bread, like Wonder Bread, the best for making gummy dough balls with a little Cocola spit; killer carp and catfish bait. "Gimme a slabba them ribs and two slices uh litebread."

'Lowd as how - Pronounced "loud," from "allowed." "Jim Bob 'lowd as how he might just up and leave Lurleen."

Mah pleasure - I am delighted to do that for you. See also Codependent Speak.

Mahseff - Me.

Mater sammich - Tomato sandwich.

Messa - As a friend said her granny lowed, a lady never takes more than an "elegant sufficiency" of any food. A messa (mess of) is way more than that. "I am cravin a messa greens and cornbread."

Miz - What unmarried Southern women are called; married ones are called "MizRiz" or "Mizziz." "Miz Pauline and Miz Ruby were my favrit teachers."

Momma nem - a generic term for "mother and all other immediate relatives." As in, "How's yo momma nem?"

Mosey - Wander in a leisurely fashion, "I think I'll mosey on down to the creek bank and catch me a mess uh catfish."

Mr. NoShoulders - Snake.

Murricun - American, "Them ole boys down at the Murricun Legion are havin a babbacue."

Nachrul - "You make me feel like uh nachrul-born woman."

Pert Near - Pretty nearly: "Mary Jim, you pert near missed dinner."

Pickin n sangin - Guitar fest with vocalists, "Them ole boys wuz pickin and sangin down at the church social."

Pitcher - Picture, "You chirren line up so I kin take your pitcher with this camra."

Plum Nelly - Plumb and nearly: "Plum out of town and nelly in the country."

Plum Tuckered - see "Wo Out."

Rat or Rye Cheer - Right here: "General Lee slept rye cheer."

Redeye Gravy - "Well, you fry you up some country ham, then take it outta the skillet. Pour some black cawfee in the pan with the grease, then stir it up and serve it with hot biskets for soppin."

Ruint - "You have ruint your hair with that bleach, May Pearl."

Sanny Claws - Saint Nicholas, "Sanny Claws is gonna bring you chirren a bag uh coal if you don't behave."

Set a spell - Sit down until you feel quite rested, or have finished your cocola.

Sho nuff, Shore nuff - sure enough, as in, "I am sho nuff wo out."

Shurf - the law, as in, "I shot the shurf, but I did not shoot the deppity."

Sinkin Spell - Momentary loss of energy, "I be havin a sinkin spell."

Snake hanlin - Don't ask.

Tard - Wo out (worn out). "I am sick and tard of yore foolishness, Sally Ann."

Terms of Endearment - Sugar Pie, Sugar Dumplin, Honey Pie, Baby Lamb, Dollbaby, Sweetiepie, Honeybunch, Sugar Baby, Puddin, Punkin, Sweet Thang, Purdy Thang, Darlin, Sugah. Need insulin now?

Unca - Your mama or daddy's brother, as in, "Unca Jim Bert and Aint (aunt) Clarice have bought them a new Chivverlay."

Wo out - Worn out: "You have wo out them britches."

Wrench -Rinse, "You younguns go wrench off yore hands before dinner."

Yaller, Yeller - Yellow, "That ole yeller dog is a fool for possum huntin."

You all, Y'all, Youens - "Y'all come back now, y'hear." The traditional goodbye.

Younguns - also youngens. "You youngens quit tormentin' the cat with those rockers."

I just called my sister, Nancy, and left her a message to be thinking on this, and writing down Suthernisms I didn't think of. Trust me, more is on the way.

No reason, I just love this little guy. His happy dance makes me smile. I do this dance.