Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Southern Speak: A field guide
Here in the south, things are done at their own pace and in their own way. It's hard to understand for someone who doesn't live here. Hell, it's hard for me to understand sometimes. What got me thinking about this topic is my friend Ashley who lives in Alaska, she has lived in the south herself, so she generally gets it, but she randomly asked on Twitter "I don't understand the south. Why do you need a homemade wreath for every month??" I responded to her the best way I knew: "Oh bless your heart...because that's just how it's done Sugar. We don't question these things." Then I had the idea to create a guide for my Yankee friends who aren't as familiar with Southern Speak so they would know the appropriate usage of some phrases familiar to those of us below the Mason Dixon as they may come in handy. Let's get started.
"Mih-Cud-Do" - pronounced exactly like it's spelled, a lazy conjunction (like most southern words) of Might Could Do. You see, in the south, when we want to tell someone how to do something, we aren't always very direct. So, we tell them, what they Might Could Do, if they were so inclined. Example: "What you Mih-Cud-Do is cook that bacon in lard, ya reckon?"
"Ya Reckon?" - a question, meaning: do you concur? Example: See above
"God Willing and The Creek Don't Rise." - One of my favorites, even as a non-God fearing person. This is a phrase that is meant to imply hope that a certain outcome will end in a positive result through God's will and good fortune in a difficult situation. Example: "God willing and the creek don't rise that woman admitting she wasn't God fearing won't get her stoned to death."
"Since God Was a Boy" - This one, I use frequently. It's used to explain a large passing of time. Example: "I haven't seen a Drag Show since God was a boy!" Sidenote: I got this one from Steel Magnolias, which is my favorite movie of all time.
"Bless Your/Her/His Heart" - I saved this one for last, it's probably the most commonly used Southern Speak and the most widely known. The beautiful thing about it, is how versatile it is. It can be used to imply sympathy, gratefulness or a kind form of disapproval and even exasperation. It's genius. As such, I have multiple examples for it's usage:
"Bless his pea pickin' little heart, he never saw that coming. The bull threw him in no time."
"Bless her heart, she dresses like such a tramp though I know her Mama raised her better. It's no wonder she got pregnant."
"Bless your heart, you read this whole blog post. Thank you."
Any other southerners out there have any tried and true Southern Speaks they use on the regular? What about you Yankees? I'm friends with a few Bostonians that have more than a few.