Whistlin’ Dixie

by Lisa Donovan

For a girl that isn’t really from anywhere (thanks to being raised army brat style) I was shocked to find out that I am, dialectically speaking, a southerner.  Or at least that is what is computed by this little quiz I took - I had no idea that I had such southern style… wow.  I was 70% southern.. wow again.

Alphadictionary.com is a linguistics and language website that researches how differently we Americans use language throughout this country as well as provides us with a very in-depth look at languages throughout the world.  Here’s a very funny overview of some southern dialect:

A Glossary of Quaint Southernisms

A selection of “quaint Southernisms” from Dr. Robert Beard of AlphaDictionary.com:

a- A prefix added to the present participle to make it purtier, e.g. “Abe’s a-workin in backer t’day; Ma’s a-talkin to you, son!”

Ahere adv. In this direction, as in, “Yall come ahere; I got sumpn a show yuh.”

Backer n. A large cultivated weed you can smoke legally. (Southerners don’t get all that excited about the syllables in front of the accented one.)

Bard v. Past tense of the infinitive “to borrow.” Usage: “My brother bard my pickup truck in never brung it back.”

Caint v. aux. Cannot.

Carry on v. Overdo your actions or make a lot of fuss, as in, “Yall young’ns stop a-carryin on so; we cain’t hear each other talk.”

Catty-corner(ed) adj. Diagonal.

Damyankee n. City-slickers from exotic places like New York, Chicago or Philadelphia. (Notice down South it is one word.)

Dinner n. The meal et around the middle of the day.

Err n. A colorless, odorless gas containing oxygen, as in: “He cain’t breathe. . . givvim some err!”

Ever adj. Quicker form of “every.”

Fixin v. aux. Getting ready to: “I’m fixin to leave.”

For crying out loud! exp. Well, I’ll be darned!

Gol darn (it)! exp. An expression of surprise or frustration.

Haid n. The uppermost part of a human or animal body.

His’n poss. pro. Belonging to him, as in “Are them-air boots mine, yourn or his’n.” (See “her’n” for more.)

If’n conj. Variation of “if”. (Southerners love their new suffix, -n, so much, they stick it everywhere. See young’n and his’n.

Kin to adj. Related to (someone) .

Like-to adv. Almost, nearly. “Hit like-to kilt d’man when he saw his boy a-wearin’ a kilt.”

Lord a’mercy! inter. What you say when thangs get out of control.

Mawnin n. The early part of the day.

Might could v. aux. Might be able to. Auxiliaries don’t scare Southerners they way they scare Northerners; we string them together fearlessly, “I might coulda finished choppin the wood if’n hit hadn’t rained.”

-n Suffix for creating nouns from adjectives: young-n, little-n, big-n, that-n over yonder. However, Southerners are so proud of it, they stick it on a lot of other words: if’n, his’n, her’n, sos’n, etc.

No ‘count adj. Worthless.

Pitcher n. (1) a vessel for holding and pouring water; (2) a visual representation of something, as a photograph. The “t” is silent.

Plumb adv. Completely: “Are you plumb crazy?”

Purt near adv. Nearly, close to.

Saerdy n. The sixth day of the week.

Story (tell a) Well, sorta, you know, tell a lie. For example, “That’s a story, mama! I never told his girlfriend he et snails!”

Sugar n. As in “Gimme some sugar”: affection, a chance to snuggle your neck, huggin’ or kissin’ or both.

Supper n. The meal (supposed to be) et around 5 o’clock.

Them pro. Those. “Jimmy John, where in the world did you git them pants?”

Them-air pro. Variant of “them”: “Jimmy John, where in the world did you git them-air pants?”

Uppin v. aux. To do something suddenly or unexpectedly: “I toad him we’s havin liver puddin fer dinner and he uppin left.”

Whup v. Inflict physical pain on someone younger and/or smaller than you using a leather strap or switch.

Used by permission. © 2006 The Lexiteria.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, June 22nd, 2006 at 12:39 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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