Please enjoy this video as a warmup for the course:
Let’s just get real and lay it all out on the table. I’m not prejudiced against Yankees…some of my best friends are Yankees. Sometimes, this becomes a problem if a Southern-born person speaks in her native dialect–it becomes (as true Yanks will attest) “wicked hahd” to comprehend. Not to worry, not to worry. I’m here to help you learn just a few key phrases to get you by. What? You thought this would be a quick course? YOU WISH. The hang of Southern speech takes years, even decades to completely unravel. We’re just getting started.
I’ll teach you a few things to help you get the hang of it, but no promises. Don’t feel that you are ready to go into the Wild South yet. Slow down there, Speed Racer.
1. Y’all: used instead of its Northern counterpart “all of you” or, as you head further towards Jersey and New York, you may hear “youse guys.”
Example: “All Y’all are gonna have to move that truck ‘fore your Daddy gets home.” Depending on how South you travel, it might sound like “Youns”: as in, “Youns stop jumpin’ on that bed now!”
2. The Ladies’: short for “ladies rest room” or bathroom.
Example: “I’m just gonna go powder my nose in the Ladies’.” A Southern lady will never talk about body functions or even pretend they exist.
3. “Fair-to-middlin'”: Ok, could be better or, as the highly sophisticated might say, “So-so.”
Example: “How are you today, Jedediah?”
“Oh, I’m fair-to-middlin.’
4. “Slower ‘n Christmas”: self-explanatory.
Example: Ol’ Margie’s gotten so old she’s slower ‘n Christmas.”
5. “Lit up” or “Lit up like a Christmas tree”: either highly intoxicated/embarrassed/royally upset
Example: When Daddy found out Julia May and Buster was dating behind his back, he was lit up like a Christmas tree.”
Example 2: After two of them Long Island Iced Teas, Georgia Ann was lit up like a Christmas tree.”
This concludes Lesson 1 on Southern Speak. Please stay tuned to learn more.
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What Southern Expressions do you love/hate/? Post them here in the comments!
One thought on “Living in the South: 5 Southern Expressions-A Translation for my Yankee Friends”
I always thought “fair – to – middlin” was a northern phrase, I had family from Michigan who always said that…hmmm, crazy! Great post!
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