Southern Comfort

Now that we’ve covered just a bit of Yiddish, it’s time to delve into a language called Southern.  I live in Northern Virginia, where we speak English, but if you go just 90 miles south to Richmond, you are in The Deep South.  I’m not fluent, but I speak real good broken Southern real good.

It’s really a very beautiful language.  One of my favorites is “he needed killin’ ’” (g is never pronounced in Southern).  This is a concept I can get behind; there are some people out there who for a variety of reasons just needed to be taken out of their own misery, and ours.  So sometimes, the response to news of a murder is “well he needed killin’, so…”  If we assume that he needed killin’ because of some real or perceived mental illness, you would also hear the comment “he weren’t right.”  If there’s someone that needs killin’ but nobody’s gotten around to it yet, you could give everyone a hint by saying “He ain’t right.  Might need to get himself kilt”

Also note that Southern has a unique verb set-up.  In English we might say “I’m going to the grocery store.”  In Southern we would say “I’m fixin’ to go to the grocery store.”  Pronouns are also a little different.  Whereas in English we would say “I’m going to get some food,” in Southern the correct usage would be “I’m gonna fetch me some food.”  And of course the classics; I think we all know that y’all is singular and all y’all is plural.  So I would say to one friend, “What ‘er y’all fixin’ to do tonight?” and to a group of friends “What ‘er all y’all fixin’ to do tonight?”

I’ve recently learned another Southern expression, “Swamp Angel.”  Swamp Angels are prevalent throughout the south, but according to a reliable source they have a high concentration in South Carolina, and are particularly drawn to the Bootsie’s Thrills ‘N Chills Bar.  Many tourists go to Bootsie’s for Swamp Angel Sightings, but you can spot them anywhere as they are instantly recognizable.   Look for the telltale bleached blond, crimped hair; a modified mullet with bangs teased to within an inch of their life; almost always spotted wearing a halter top, Daisy Dukes and cowboy boots.  Most, if not all, have a tattoo of a heart with the name Jim-Bob emblazoned across their backs.  Sometimes you’ll see Jim changed to Joe, and you can still make out the remnants of the original tattoo underneath.

When traveling to regions in which Southern is spoken, these English to Southern translations may come in handy:

Guess = Reckon

Restaurant = Restrunt

Restroom = Tawlet

You = Ya

Your = Yer

To = Ta

The = Tha

Boil = Ball

Ball = Bawl

Bawl = Fussin’

Best = More Better

A lot = Mess Of

Creek = Crick

Pond = Redneck Bathtub

Vegetable = Okra

Pickle = Pickled Okra

Cousin = Husband (or vice versa)

Those = Them Thar

That = That Thar

Fight = Open a Can of Whoop Ass

Ought = Ort

I reckon that thar’s about it for now.  All y’all come back now, ya hear?

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6 Responses to Southern Comfort

  1. Betsey says:

    When I first moved from NYC to Northern VA, I was shocked by the response to the question I asked the grocery clerk: “Do you have the Bumble Bee tuna that’s on sale?” He said, with a big smile and cheerful tone, “We sure don’t!” What the hell? A POSITIVE “sure” is not supposed to be used for a NEGATIVE answer! Greyhound, take me away!

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