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Sweet versus Sweetened

Living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is equal parts familiar and strange.

Coming from Missouri, I’m pretty used to the “redneck” part of this place. People get super excited about deer season, with talk being of nothing else. You see quite a bit of repair work done with duct tape. And yep, there are even lots of old cars and tractors sitting around in people’s front yards here, albeit with a bit more rust.

I’m not used to the snow. Or the dialect…who but the Finnish would know that sauna isn’t pronounced “saw-na”, which was how I’d heard it my entire life, but “sow-na”? And as if “Ishpeming” wasn’t enough of a mouthful in and of itself, it apparently has an invisible R in there somewhere, turning it to “Ish-PER-ming”. 🙂

But here’s the one that always cracks me up–my friends all drink non-sweetened iced tea in the summer. I’ve come to not mind it myself, but there’s still a bit of the Southern girl in me that insists that iced tea needs to have a bit of sweet in it. So I usually add a little bit of sugar to my tea.

One night, during a girls’ night out, my friends were teasing me about this. “You’re such a Southern girl with your sweet tea!”

“Whoa, hold it,” I said. “I do not drink sweet tea. I drink sweetened tea.”

“Is there really a difference?”

“Oh yes! Sweetened tea is just tea with a little bit of sugar or honey. Sweet tea is like drinking tea-flavored syrup.”

Of course, they laughed about the fact that I had to get so precise. But I have to be. After all, if you were raised in a place where “bless your heart” meant something entirely different than it did where you were living, wouldn’t you be nitpicky precise too? 😉

Gotta love all the different dialects and colloquialisms we Americans have come up with. 🙂

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About H. A. Titus

H. A. Titus is usually found with her nose in a book or spinning story-worlds in her head. Her love affair with fantasy began at age twelve, when her dad handed her The Lord of the Rings after listening to it on tape during a family vacation. Her stories have been published in Digital Dragon Magazine, Residential Aliens Magazine, and four anthologies: Alternative Witness; Avenir Eclectia Volume 1; The Tanist's Wife and Other Stories; and Different Dragons Volume II. In December 2013, her short story "Dragon Dance" won Honorable Mention in a Writers of the Future contest. She lives on the shores of Lake Superior with her meteorologist husband and young son, who do their best to ensure she occasionally emerges into the real world. When she's not writing, she can be found rock-climbing, skiing, or hanging out at her online home, hatitus.wordpress.com.

One comment on “Sweet versus Sweetened

  1. Soda, pop, cola, coke
    Here in Florida, thongs mean entirely different things depending on how old you are. 😉
    Great post. And yes, there is a *huge* difference between sweet and sweetened.

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