Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Every nook and cranny of this wonderful country has its own dialect and words that are uniquely indigenous to a state, region, county, perhaps even a a small community.
When I was in college I majored in English. Now, you can tell right quickly after reading some of my blogs, emails or newsletter, that I was never good at grammar. But I love words. I like how some feel in my head, moving into my mouth, rolling off my tongue and resound to my ears when spoken. Some words are just FUN to say. Some words need to be reserved for just that right moment or occasion. Some words have become so overdone, they become trite and meaningless. These words of course, are the buzz words of the current generation that by the time we adults catch on, have become antiquated.
Where I live we have our own small vocabulary that is not necessarily unique to my town. However, after speaking with friends all over the nation, I have realized that not all folks understand English according this North Carolinian. So here now we have a short list of words and phrases that take on a different meaning where I live.
(DISCLAIMER: NOT ALL NORTH CAROLINIANS USE THESE WORDS. SOME ACTUALLY ARE HARDER TO DECIPHER THAN THIS. BUT IF YOU REALLY WANT TO BE BAFFLED BY WORDS, HEAD TO SOUTH CAROLINA.)
Carry - while the rest of y'all are bringing a covered dish to a function, we here CARRY something "I will carry my squash casserole to the reunion."
Tote - can be interchanged with carry
Sack- a bag to carry things in.
ill - you may consider this word to mean sick. To us it means bad mood, as in "I'm so ill, I can't even stand my own self!"
Curious- While you may consider this word to connote nosey, we know that it means people are strange! Nosey people are Nosey! "Those Blevins have always been considered right curious"
Ugly - now this one has the usual meaning as being hard on the eyes - y'all know what I mean when I say "That child was born in the ugly tree and on the way down she hit every branch" Now, it also means someone is insensitive or acting badly, such as "That was just an ugly thing to say (or do)."
Be Smart - Every good little child around these parts hear these two words every day. It means behave yourself. "Now Johnny, I want you to be smart and stop acting ugly"
Poor - not only is this word used to describe poverty such as "They are so poor they don't have a pot nor window to throw it out of" it is also used to describe a condition of appearance, as in looking sick "She still looks right poor, and she had that surgery 6 months ago."
Might would or Might should means you ought to consider doing something. It is generally a response to a question put to you. As in, "You might should ask your husband if they think that is a good idea." To which the other person would respond, "I might would"(NOTE: I have been told by folks that they could recognize a person from NC just from these two phrases!)
Of course, there are sayings that are just fun to interject in conversation - if you have a hard time believing what someone is saying you can always add the disclaimer, "Well now, that dog don't hunt"
Now y'all now by now that I love my Daddy and Momma. My Daddy is a plethora of odd sayings to suit each and every situation and circumstance. For instance, yesterday when my daughter's car broke down, she called me hysterically and I ran to where she was to wait with her for the tow truck to arrive. My Daddy also arrived and when asked where we were going to carry the car to we told him. He was not pleased, as he doesn't care for that particular mechanic. After telling us what a sorry, curious thief this person is, Daddy added that he would like to "Kick him so hard in the backside that he would need wings to fly back down to earth". We didn't have the tow truck driver tote the car to him.
I would love to hear about some colloquial expressions where you are from. Heckfire, shoot! We can come up with our own blog vocabulary.
And as a postscript: Everyone associates Teddy Roosevelt with the word "bully" but who else would say that today?