5 Comments

More Southern Versus Northern

I think I confuse people with certain phrases and words I use. Just a few weeks ago, I was planning a get-together with some friends and asked someone to bring “coke”. They asked if they could bring some other types of “soda” as well as they weren’t very fond of “Coke”. I had to explain that I lived in Texas for several years, and down there, “coke” means any type of soda, while “Coca-Cola” is used if you want that specific type of soda.

After my Sweet Versus Sweetened post a few weeks ago, I started thinking of more phrases I’ve heard or personally used that folks from other regions of the United States might chuckle at. ‘Folks’ is one, I’m sure…I know others might just say ‘people’. That’s my Texan again. 😉

Another Texan phrase I tend to use is “y’all”–and it IS “y’all”, not “ya’ll”. When my family moved to Missouri when I was 10, we realized that no one said “y’all”–it was “y’uns”. We used to joke about it, and I thought it was a bit of a weird word to use (yes, I know y’all is too, but I was so used to that one that it didn’t occur to me until years later). And if I or my mom become tired, we tend to drawl a few words–“pie” especially lends itself to a Texan drawl.

Then I moved to the Upper Peninsula. Talk about culture shock. Suddenly, every time I was around a large crowd, I could hear weird mutterings that sounded like “yah”, “da”,”eh”, “sowna”, and “owt”, not to mention the random R that popped up in the pronunciation but not the spelling of a nearby town.

Eventually I got it sorted out. “Yah” was kind of like “yeah”, “da” replaced “the”, and “eh” was used at the end of a sentence–it didn’t matter if the sentence was a statement, a question, or an exclamation, it was just there. “Sauna” was really pronounced “sow-na”, and “out” became “owt”. Another thing that still baffles me is how Yoopers add an “e” sound to words that clearly should have an “a”–“bag” morphs into “beg”, “wagon” into “way-gen”. Oh well. Yah, once Ah gowt used to da lingo, it wasn’t much differ’nt than Missour-a, eh?

And yes, that’s kind of how I sound now. No one will ever be able to guess where I’m from. 🙂

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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.

5 comments on “More Southern Versus Northern

  1. Funny! Sounds like you have an ear like mine. Wait until you put it, as I did, in a mixed student body with an international cast. The Australian dialect in particular tickled my ears and warped my palate. People started wondering where on earth I was from. Had we also a thick Scottish accent such as I encountered in a USPS office years later (and which was practically leveraging my tongue and my palate by way of my ear to fit its norms – I could actually feel it happening), I would’ve been doomed.

    Now, of course, I live in SE Texas, where the Texican ain’t quite as extreme as elsewhare, but I do say “y’all” from time to time. 😀

  2. I am from Minnesota! I can totally relate, except in reverse. As I’m in Texas now. 🙂 And it’s pop, you guys, oofta, and there’s a mess load of others of course.

  3. And it is for this very reason that I worry about how global readers will respond to an Australian author (where we are a hybrid mix of Queen’s English, American euphemisms and Australian slang – i.e it is not unusual to write “She retched as the monster roared out of her wardrobe, dragging her wrist across her mouth as she grabbed at the dagger to gank the soulless beast”). Language – it is a killer when you are trying to write a novel…

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