I received a letter from a reader named Patrick, in Montclair, New Jersey. Patrick is twenty-three and married to Amy, who is from Dothan, Alabama.

Patrick writes: “I cannot understand my wife when she talks! She actually uses the word ‘yonder.’

“But the weirdest thing for me is that whenever my wife leaves a store or something, she says farewell to the clerk by saying: ‘Ight now, be good.’

“WHAT IN THE WORLD DOES THAT MEAN? Help me learn Southern English, Sean.”

Patrick, you’ve come to the right person. I can help you. The first thing to do is sit down, relax, eat something with saturated fat, and listen to a Gaither Family record.

The first thing to know about Southern English is that it is all about syllables. In this part of the world, single-syllable words can become fifteen, sometimes sixteen-syllable words.

For instance, you might have heard the word “chair” pronounced as a one-syllable word in New Jersey. It’s alright, there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Your wife, however, likely pronounces this word as “CHAY-yurr.” Southerners add these extra syllables to words because this is America and you can’t tell me what to do, sucker.

Other words with extra syllables would be:

“Floor” (FLO-wurr), “tail” (TAY-yull), “God” (GAH-wud), and the name “Bill” (Willie).

Also: “Bed” (BAY-yud), “fan” (FAY-unn), “him” (HEE-yulm), “sand” (SAY-yend), “Todd” (TAH-wud), “it” (EE-yit), “leg” (LAY-yig), “Fred” (FRAY-yed), and “piano” (panner).

Keep in mind, these are not strict rules. Pronunciations may vary from region to region. One glaring exception that comes to mind would be the word “tire.”

Residents in Lower Alabama, for instance, pronounce “tire” with two syllabes (TIE-yurr). Whereas if you were to visit the Sand Mountain region, they would pronounce it as “tar” then throw a rattlesnake at you.

We also have compound words which fall under the classification of “please-repeat-yourself” words. Linguistic scientists call them P.R.Y. words for short.

These words were developed because we Southerners will often ask loved ones to repeat themselves for no apparent reason other than to shorten their lives.

After you say something to your wife, Patrick, you might hear her answer with: “do what?” This phrase is usually uttered so fast you cannot distinguish the two words. Often, it comes out sounding like, “d’wha?”

For example: “Sweetie, did you hear that Mary Sue Jo is gonna wear a maternity wedding dress?”


“Yep, I heard that her mama made the dress when she was on probation from Tutweiler.”


Another common word is “yoost-a-cud.” This word is often used by elderly men.

Example: “I can’t touch my toes no more ‘cause I ett too many tater logs, but I yoost-a-cud.”

It helps to practice these words in front of a mirror.

We also have helper words which are conversational fillers intended to assist in the expression of esoteric thought. Words like: “reggin,” or “ah-juss-bet” and “praw-luh-so.”

Example 1: “Where’s your wife today, Danny?”

“Reggin she left me ‘cause I kept playing the scratch-offs when she told me not to.”


Example 2: “I haven’t seen Jay Rod in a few weeks, have you?”

“Nope, reggin he’s hiding out after he got busted stealing copper coils from those AC units.”


There are many other words to learn, Patrick. Far too many to list. But I’ll cover a few more.

There is an entire vocabulary which comes to us from religion, even though these words aren’t used in a spiritual manner. Religion is a big part of life here, and our language reflects that.

We have words like: “Hot awmighty, and “Hoo Lowered,” and “amen‘n’amen.”


Granny might exclaim, “HOO LOWERED, Ella Sue, did you see the new bag boy at the Pig? HOT AWMIGHTY, I’d sop him up with a biscuit.”

“AMEN‘N’AMEN, Granny.”

Another church phrase would be: “‘MON NOW!” Long ago, this used to be yelled at a preacher when he was on a roll during a sermon. But today, it’s mostly shouted at Little-League games by enthusiastic, mildly psychotic parents.

“‘MON NOW, Jimmy! Hit a grand slam, Jimmy! Show some hustle! ‘MON NOW!”

It is always followed with slow clapping.

Also, “Ima” is another popular word. For instance: if your mother calls you for supper during a crucial ESPN sporting moment, you would never answer:

“Dearest Mother, I intend to join thee for supper once I hath finished watching Dale Earnhardt Jr. win the Winston Cup.”

You’d answer: “IMA BE THERE IN A SECK, MAMA!”

And you will walk with a limp for the rest of your life.

But when you get down to it, Patrick, none of the above matters. The important thing is that you relax, and be yourself. That’s the key.

Your wife loves you. And because she loves you, so do we. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, or how you talk.

If you ask me, the most important thing is that you treat people nicely; that you remove your hat indoors; that you hold the door open for females; that you don’t interrupt; that you smile often; that you shake hands with every man you meet; that you do not play with your phone at the table; and that you never attend church in Sand Mountain without a buddy.

But that is only my humble opinion.

Ight now. Be good.


  1. Marilyn Ward Vance - July 1, 2019 8:36 am

    Well, I’m from Sand Mountain and now I’m tard from all that English lesson! Pretty accurate, though!

    • Sally Pearsall - August 1, 2019 3:26 am

      Don’t you mean akrit, Marilyn?

    • Karen - February 12, 2021 2:33 am


  2. Meredith Smith - July 1, 2019 8:44 am

    Sean, you make me laugh every morning when I wake up and read your blog!! Thank you for helping me start my day with a smile and a healthy belly laugh (Out Loud too). You are just genius.
    Meredith Smith out East

  3. Ronnie - July 1, 2019 9:14 am

    Ah, you mentioned Sand Mountain, Boaz, Albertville, Crossville, Sardis, Mountainboro, used to live in that lil’ corner of Heaven. Moved to Central Florida halfway through 9th grade. If I was talking, a crowd of kids would gather around just to listen ’cause my Sand Mountain drawl was sooooo thick! Miss that beautiful area! Lived in Boaz by the way, and Albertville was pronounced “A’ertvull” LOL

  4. Gary D - July 1, 2019 9:22 am

    Hilarious! I haven’t lived in Alabama since I was twelve but by the grace of God I still have my L.A. accent. Love it!

    • Kaye - March 3, 2021 6:53 pm

      We won’t hold it against you – you got here as quick as you could!

  5. Mary Pettit - July 1, 2019 9:49 am

    My mother is from Athens, Jawja and my dad’s name was Lloyd…or as my mother would say, “Law-wed”! ??

  6. Barb Fisher - July 1, 2019 9:58 am

    Well, this transplanted Ohio Yankee can sure relate to today’s edition of the blog. Recently I had to do the annual cognitive test required by Medicare. The sweet lady gave me 3 words to remember – banana, sunrise, and “CHAY-yurr”. The first 2 came through just fine, but I said, “What was that last one again?”. She then pointed to another chair in the room. I said, “Oh, OK, I got it now.” We went on to another part of the quiz, then she asked me to repeat the words she told me. I did and said, “CHAY-yurr” – she didn’t hit me…. Even gave me a good ole Southern hug on the way out the door – those are the best!

  7. Naomi - July 1, 2019 10:44 am

    Well, Sean, I might be able to top all of this. I am a first-generation American, My mother was born in Russia and her family settled in Birmingham, Alabama. All of them spoke “Yiddish”, a derivative of High German. So, she and the rest of her family learned English in the South; they didn’t have teachers then who taught English as a second language; they had to learn English on their own. My father was born in Poland but his family settled in New York City when he was a small child. When he and my mother got married in NYC in 1940, they came back to Birmingham. I was born in 1940 and was raised primarily by my grandparents who spoke Yiddish and “broken English”. My mother spoke Yiddish and English with a Yiddish-Southern accent. My father’s accent was purely New York. When I started public school, one of my teachers told me that I didn’t pronounce my own name correctly. Also, when I started school, I didn’t understand a lot of Southern slang. After I got married, we ended up in Illinois, across the river from St. Louis. I was always teased about my Southern accent. My late husband was transferred a lot and we eventually ended up in Albany, Georgia. Albany stands alone as far as Southern accents go. Albany is pronounced “All Benny”. When you leave a friend’s house, they say, “Y’all come back to see us heah”. My mother’s older brother started a printing company in Birmingham which grew to be the largest printing company in the state; he lost all of his European accent and didn’t even have a Sothern accent. However, my mother’s younger brother moved to California in 1953. Although he was extremely smart, he never lost his Southern Yiddish accent; he pronounced “Alabama” as “Ah Lee Bama”. My current husband, who I have been married to for almost 40 years, was born and raised in Powder Springs, Georgia, His family were farmers whose ancestors dated back to the Mayflower, so I had to learn their “country accents and “country” slang. When I went to a new doctor recently, his nurse asked me if I was born in the North. I told her that I was born in Birmingham, Alabama. Evidently, I have a Yankee accent now.

    • Stacy - July 31, 2019 5:51 pm

      I was born and raised in Powder Springs. What’s your husband’s name? Did he graduate from McEachern High School? I may know him, it’s a small world! ?

  8. Carolyn Kelley - July 1, 2019 11:01 am

    Love this I have a strong TN acsent , get asked huh a lot. Lol

  9. Johnny - July 1, 2019 11:37 am

    Sean, this may be your best blawg yet. Certainly unuhdubest. Some folks just don’t git plain English. You nailed it.

  10. Laurie - July 1, 2019 11:49 am

    Being that IMA not ridge-nally from these har parts, I LOVE this post!!!!

  11. Linda clifton - July 1, 2019 11:52 am

    My Mother, god rest her soul had a Southern accent that was all her own . We lived in a little town called Ivor, Va. Right near the NC line. My Pop, god rest his soul was a Northerner from Marquette, Iowa. When we would drive to Marquette to visit Pop’s family, his relatives would gather around my Mom just to hear her tell stories of our life on the farm.
    I am still asked, Where the heck are you? I love it! I relish in being different! It’s makes me special ! My Mom didn’t ! She thought they were making fun of her & it hurt her to the core.
    The one word that has always stuck in my mind was that she called a sink, a zink. There were a lot more but this one always stuck with me.
    Love you & your writing.
    Linda Soulli Clifton

    • Donna McPherson - July 31, 2019 10:46 pm

      We lived in Suffolk for 10 years. Went to Ivor to play church softball.

  12. Rhonda - July 1, 2019 11:55 am

    As a resident of Sand Mountain, you nailed it. I heard the wedding dress conversation in the local cafe just last week along with several other D”what?!? stories. Rattlesnakes are a little hard to find sometimes but copperheads are generally within throwing distance.

    Just be ready with a poker face. You won’t have an answer for questions like, “Do pineapples come from coconuts? ….. Yes she did ask me that. God. love ’em. Which in southern means, they ain’t no hope.
    Who needs comedians? Just go to the barbershop!

  13. Caleb Halstead - July 1, 2019 11:57 am

    Amen n’amen!

  14. Joe Patterson - July 1, 2019 11:58 am


  15. Clark - July 1, 2019 12:01 pm

    My wife is a southern belle born and raised in southwest Atlanta ( ehlanna) . I was an army brat born in Ottumwa, Iowa. (See Radar O’reilly) There were two words she used which I completely misunderstood: pilot was pronounced palette, and smile was pronounced smell. But she loved hearing me say pool ( puul) and car ( cahr).
    BTW Sean, your columns are getting better all the time. I enjoy them and look forward to reading them every day. Thanks!!

  16. Debbie Harbin Hining - July 1, 2019 12:22 pm

    Loved this!! You’re speakin’ my language! I had a smile on my face the whole time I was reading this!! I even laughed out loud several times!! I was born and raised in the south and I’m mighty proud of it! I married a yankee boy who moved to Atlanta when he was in high school but over the years he has learned to speak Southern rather well! He fits right in now and you’d never believe he wasn’t born here! ?

  17. Terri - July 1, 2019 12:23 pm

    American by birth, Southern by the Grace of God!

  18. Alison - July 1, 2019 12:46 pm

    You hit it out of the park with this one Sean! You got my Monday off to a right good start.

  19. Connie Havard Ryland - July 1, 2019 1:22 pm

    Laugh out loud for real this morning. I’m from Mobile, and to me I don’t have an accent. But I work in an office where I speak to people from all over and they just love to hear me talk. Love and hugs.

  20. Shelton A. - July 1, 2019 1:27 pm

    Hilarious! Thanks for explaining the unexplainable to our friend from New Jersey. I expect he’ll be duckin’ rocks for the rest of his life…but when L. A. and NJ meet, there’s no tellin’ what may occur!

  21. Marilyn - July 1, 2019 1:41 pm

    This one brought to mind the one word I have had to practice to get right. You see, I’m from Ohio and when we do dishes, we “warsh” them. So I have to remember to leave out the “r”.
    Keep your stories coming. They do brighten our day.

  22. dinnerdee - July 1, 2019 2:00 pm

    Oh Sean, Momr-n-nem ‘dbe so proud a yoo, helpin’ that poor boy understand his wahf! Bless you!

  23. Tim House - July 1, 2019 2:16 pm

    Hilarious! And darned close to the truth. 🙂

  24. Jimpa - July 1, 2019 2:22 pm

    Or as Jimmy Buffet says, “Southernese”.

  25. John Humphries - July 1, 2019 2:30 pm

    Don’t forget “Fix’n to”… as in, “It’s fix’n to come up a storm”.

    • Lyman Fite - February 12, 2021 1:51 am

      And fixin to becomes fittin ta

  26. Jeanne Butler - July 1, 2019 2:42 pm

    Love this. I love Southern talk and accents. One of my last bosses was from Alabama. And I picked up y’all and dang from him. I retired in 2005 and still use those words. So y’all have a nice dang day. Love you Sean

  27. Pat - July 1, 2019 2:55 pm

    Soooo funny. I certainly saw myself. I am so proud to be a southern girl!

  28. William H Clark - July 1, 2019 3:07 pm

    i loved this post my ownself!!! So perfect, so true!! In my hometown of Abbeville, Lower Alabama the Piggly Wiggly morphed into the undoubtedly Yankee originated “Food Giant” some years ago. In my family it will forever and a day be “The Pig”!! I remember going with my Grandma (MeMama) and my Great Grandma (Ma). A normal 15 minute shopping trip became a 3 hour dizzily slow tour of the Pig where they had to stop and talk to everyone they “hadn’t seen in a coon’s age”. Lord how I miss those days!!! Bless you Sean. You warm my heart every day!! Will Clark

  29. Brett Campbell - July 1, 2019 3:17 pm

    Hoo-wee, that’n wuz funny, rat dere.

  30. Linda Moon - July 1, 2019 3:50 pm

    I know all about those Sand Mountain words and phrases. There’s only one phrase I have yet to figure out: “As To Here”. Some transplanted Ohioans I know converted linguistically. “Y’all” became “You Guys”. AARGH!! You know what they say about Ohio accents and birth control….right?? I say, make more babies by speaking Sweet Southern Drawl!

  31. Phyllis Stallings - July 1, 2019 3:55 pm

    I am a southerner from North Carolina and I understood most of your southern words. We also use fixing to. We use out yonder! I always enjoy your stories!

  32. Janet Mary Lee - July 1, 2019 4:33 pm

    I was born in Ohio but transplanted to South Carolina when 17. Moved with the Air Force for 20 years. Lived in Montana, Colorado, Mississippi, Louisiana Germany twice, and retired in Alabama. I always picked up the local accent. I laugh when people tell me I have a Southern accent,( like relatives) . People here always would ain’t from round here…where yore fo’ks from? Proudly, no one says that anymore. I like “fixin’ to” attached to a 10 dollar word. I think that shows class!! My favorite southern accent is a slow very distinct and gracious honey dripped accent, for lack of better description somewhat akin to the Miss Sugarbaker accent. It is a particularly small region spoke in around eastern Al and western Georgia if others. A lady that has that accent, and I would give anything to remember what she called it, said it is old and disappearing now with this generation. I hate that!!

    But love this post! This had me rolling! What would we do without you!!

    • Linda Moon - July 1, 2019 8:03 pm

      Janet – I often say those exact words, “What would we do without you!!” to my oldest grandson and to my smallest cat. I guess that means Sean ranks right up there with my grandson and cat!

  33. Ken Dunn - July 1, 2019 4:43 pm

    Patrick is a blessed man to have married a sweet young thing from L.A.- lower Alabama- and to be from Dothan makes it doubly good. Pretty soon he will be talking like us and probably want to move to Dothan.
    I remember as I was to start the 2nd grade my family moved from Graceville, Fl. to Troy, Ohio. Mothers of the kids in my class would bring us treats which was a trick because they just wanted to hear me talk and see the only kid in overalls. The 1st day it snowed the teacher let me and a buddy go outside and see it as I had never seen snow. The rest of the class stood at the windows and laughed at me. At recess we all got to play in the snow.

    Patrick, enjoy your new bride and treat her like a queen because if she is from Dothan she is a jewel !

  34. Johnny - July 1, 2019 5:45 pm

    Now Shyawn, I got a chicken bone to pick with ya. In the last few days you have blawged ’bout all kinds uh tomater’s. And today you revealed sum knowledge of Sand Mountain, Alabama. But you never mentioned anything ’bout Sand Mountain tomaters, the very best tomaters in the world. Just thought I would help you connect the dots.

  35. Ala Red Clay Girl - July 1, 2019 5:58 pm

    And polite Southern manners would have you ask upon seeing someone you haven’t seen in a coon’s age, “How’s yor mama n’em?” I loved this post and could identify with all of it.

  36. North Alabama ain’t even close to Tennessee. Thankfully. - July 1, 2019 6:00 pm

    This is fuuuuunny to me because just yesterday my wife And I discussed the way she says toy. Which is toe-wee. And she denies saying it like that. Listen to me “toe-wee….. toe-wee” she said.
    There’s only been like 7 people die of snake bites in Alabama since 1900. That includes sand mountain. One must realize that there are two regions of sand mountain. The dividing line is around Fyffe. South of Fyffe is more like little Mexico. Albertville, Boaz, Sardis, Geraldine….. now, north of Fyfee is where the snake handlers be… or yoostabe. Ain’t many left no more. Sylvania, Henager, Section, Dutton, up near Rosalie mostly just Baptist and few Church of Gods.
    If they’s a snake handlin church left that handles em regular… it’s prolly on Skyline.

  37. Ladybug - July 1, 2019 6:04 pm

    As a resident of Sand Mountain, I would like to inform you that not many places have Rattlesnakes in their church services. There are only a few of them that I know of.
    So please don’t be afraid to come to Sand Mountain, it is a very nice place.

  38. Kristy Zinna - July 1, 2019 6:55 pm

    I was born in Dothan, and lived in Marianna, FL until I was about 9 or 10 years old. I am now a resident of Manatee County, FL and everyone thinks it is hilarious when I use the word “haint” instead of “ghost”.

  39. Bubba - July 1, 2019 8:23 pm

    That was awesome and being from Sand Mountain the words are
    so familiar…

  40. Annak - July 1, 2019 8:27 pm

    I’m a native-born South Georgian who has lived in Lower Alabama and the Florida Panhandle and several other southern locales, and I just love all the different southernisms that tie us together. The funniest one ever, though, to me, comes from my country/small town upbringing here in Georgia: Any time a new person moves in or visits, the first question out of someone’s mouth is always, “Who you some of?”

  41. Diane s copeland - July 1, 2019 10:55 pm

    I am from Talladega and apparently we have our own version of a southern accent. I live in Sarasota Florida now and everyday someone asked me where I’m from. Lived near Chicago for 5 years and you cannot imagine how many time I had to repeat a sentence. Lordy, Lordy come on people half the country talks like this or at least a version of it! Listen closely!!!

  42. Melanie - July 2, 2019 4:11 am

    Patrick. Listen to me. Do not stay in Montclair. Pack your gorgeous Dothan wife (home of my mother, my aunts, uncles, zillions of cousins, etc) and move to the South. You will never regret it. My Massachusetts father took his beautiful Dothan bride to Boston to live. It ended badly. Very badly. You will have a much better life in the South. Have you been to the beach in Destin yet? Move and don’t look back. And please say Hey to your Dothan bride. ❤️

  43. Kathie Kerr - July 2, 2019 6:07 am

    Gotta go. It’s coming up a storm

  44. Jack Darnell - July 2, 2019 1:17 pm

    Well bless your heart. ‘At was good. Well correct anyway!
    Sherry and jack over heah.

  45. Mary T. - July 2, 2019 3:44 pm

    I had never heard of a Piggly Wiggly until I visited my aunt and uncle in Abbeville in the late ’40’s. We children thought it was such a funny name. I grew to love the Pig. I was an adult before I realized that “ke-arn” and carrion are the same thing!!

  46. Steve Hewitt - July 2, 2019 4:33 pm

    I read you daily since I moved/retired here from NC and made friends with Mark Stewart. He emails you to me each day.
    I’m told by locals that my accent is definitely Southern but slightly different. I live just south of Nashville in Franklin now, actually College Grove, TN. Out in the country a few miles.
    Where I was born in NC the country accent was flavored with Mill Hill talk!
    My county, Rutherford, has a county seat named Rutherfordton (pronounced Ruftun). There were 5 cotton mills located throughout and a large part of the work force was employed by these textile companies, until they weren’t! Yep, moved overseas and left good hard working folks unemployed. I have tons of folksy stories but I’ll leave you with a word that you may not know. The Dope Wagon was the refreshment cart that moved from department to department selling its goodies to cotton dust covered folks.
    The reason it was called “Dope Wagon” is a whole Nuther story! See you drekly now.
    Steven Hewitt

  47. Martha Black - July 31, 2019 10:25 am

    Unct you relax or, as my grandbaby says “belax” (not a southern thang, just baby talk) & get yust to it, you’ll jine ‘ight in and start to copperend (No not copper head, whole different thang. Eventually yull love it, embrace it , and daily hone your new language skill set, not to be confused with skill saw, which is how we will light into you if you make fun of us (unless the buzz saw is more readily availabe).

  48. Susan DuBose - July 31, 2019 10:54 am

    Sean, my husband and I, too, have a mixed marriage of North and South. I’m really from the Midwest, but I’m still a Yankee to his family. I’d like to see you address the pronunciation of days of the week. My man says, Mundy, Chewsdy, Winsdy, Thursdy, Frahdy, Sarahdy and Sundy. I’ve worked with him over these 20+ years but I’m convinced it’s a lost cause, bless ‘im.

  49. Cindy Young - July 31, 2019 11:48 am

    Mama was born in TN (1919) but moved to D’troit in 1927 or so. She was enrolled in speech therapy class (on account of her Southern accent)! When I was in my 20’s (in the ’80’s) I went to NYC; people would stop me and ask me to talk, just to hear my TN accent. (I grew up very near Jack Daniel’s establishment)

  50. Mary Ann Massey - July 31, 2019 12:09 pm

    Oh Lawd! I ‘member growin’ up on my Granny an’ Papaws’ farm at the foot uv Flagpole Mountain just outside uv C’Burg, Al….they taught me stuff that I’d ah never lernd anywheres else…

    I’m very proud of my Southern heritage and wouldn’t trade it fer nuttin !!!!! ???

    Have a great day Sean….you surely made my morning shine brightly!

  51. Beth Latham - July 31, 2019 12:45 pm

    Love it! And live it! Proud to have that Southern heritage, language, & accent—-so they say!

  52. Carolyn Molyneux - July 31, 2019 1:51 pm

    Sounds ’bout right. Now I’m fixin to get a nuther cup a coffee.

  53. Marilyn - July 31, 2019 2:16 pm

    Loved this ! I am from Ohio with friends and inlaws who have German ancestry. Many words with an “s” are pronounced with a “z”. zink for sink, Anzonia for Ansonia etc. The plural for more than one pair of pants was pantzez! That one really think takes the cake, so to speak.

  54. Nancy - July 31, 2019 4:00 pm

    I’m from the NW corner of Alabama. When my nephew was little, he would say “Me and my day-uh-dy” referring to his dad.

  55. Devonne Ellis - July 31, 2019 6:25 pm

    Thank you Sean for all your dear articles! I was born in Louisiana. Moved to Birmingham,AL when I was twelve and later moved to Dothan in 1992. My Father made me take speech classes when we moved to Birmingham to rid my cajun slow speech. It only grew worse. I am now a speaker for gardeners across the state. No one seems to mind the way I talk now.

  56. Ava McCurley - August 1, 2019 6:27 pm

    We took our grandson to Disney World when he was six. On one of the buses, headed into the park, a Yankee was listening to him talk. “Wow,” he said. “It will take him a long time to lose that accent!” I gave him a cold, hard stare and said,” If he’s lucky he never will.” The Yankee, properly admonished, replied “Yes, ma”am.” He knew he had stepped in it.

  57. Roger Brothers - February 12, 2021 1:43 am

    Note: much of this is copied from my personal notes.

    Long live our Southern manner of speech!

    Our Southern English is beautiful, useful, expressive, interesting, poetic and entertaining. It has it’s roots in Elizabethan English, the language of Shakespeare and the King James Bible with influence from the “Broad Scots” of our Scot- Irish fore bearers along with a strong African influence. It also contains a smattering of Native American and Acadian influence.

    People that belittle us for using it are rootless, self-rightous, ignorant, boorish cretins that have abandoned any real folk culture they may have once had.

    Every yankee or yankeefied school marm I ever had all the way from first grade through college tried to harangue and ridicule me and force me to abandon that outward sign of my roots too and I resented every minute of it. Seems I knew instinctively that it was an important part of who I am and a visceral link to my culture and those “days of auld Lang syne”

    Hope all those old school marms read this and then go to hell, if they ain’t already there. Over the years I have found myself actually exaggerating my native speech so I guess they failed in their “holy mission” to deracinate me!

    We have been unfairly maligned and denigrated by yankees and yankeefied outsiders because of our manner of speech for generations.

    Our speech rather than being something to be ashamed of is really something to take pride in and keep around.

    We need to make a conscious effort to keep it and pass it on to our children and grandchildren.

    And BTW as Sean indicates “our Southern manner of speech” is far from homogeneous even within the State of Alabama there are several distinct variations. (And yes my native sand mountain is an easily identifiable one)

    If your roots run deeper than a single generation in Bamer, I can usually guess the region you’re from after a couple of minutes of conversation and sometimes even the county.

    Years ago we got a new extension agent and I went down to meet him (knew nothing about him) he had not much more than opened his mouth when I said “you’re from Clay county ain’t you?” Of course he was. (Lineville)

  58. Sharon Brock - February 12, 2021 2:01 am

    Yankees. Bless their hearts. Both sets of grandparents lived in Texas and I was raised in central Kentucky.
    Hawaii–How ah ya
    Louisville—-Loo Ah Vul
    Pecan—Peh Kahn. Accent on Kahn
    Versailles: Vur Sales
    Milan: My Lan. Accent on My.
    Madrid: Mad Rid. Accent on Mad

  59. Amy - February 12, 2021 5:41 am

    Any idea where “warsh” came from? Gotta git the warsh up onna line!

    • Rocky Davis - August 3, 2021 10:25 pm

      My grandmother was from Ohio and said “warsh” for “wash”, she also said she had to “red up” the dishes, prior to warshing them. Apparently meant “ready up”…ie clear table.

  60. Cathy Arney - February 12, 2021 5:49 am

    In the 1980’s I left the panhandle of Florida ( LA…lower Alabama] to move to the washing DC area to work at NIH. Now, be a blond, with A Deep South accent in a work area surrounded by NE Yankees see if you get treated with any respect. They actual would slow down when talking and explain things to me in little small words. I had to tell one of them once, I was Southern , not stupid. I was the only Southerner until I was joined by another associate from Mississippi. Lord have mercy I was glad to see that boy.

  61. Peggy - February 12, 2021 1:20 pm

    Not discussed but implied is that while we may add syllables we drop a lot of them too. My mother’s name was Margaret. But was pronounced Maaaah-grit in South Georgia.

  62. Fred - February 12, 2021 2:12 pm

    I was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky.
    Louisville is pronounced Loo-A-Vull by residents.
    I moved down the Ohio River and across to the other side to a much smaller city, Evansville, for work.
    While working there, I soon learned that a number of co-workers were from the other side of the river in Western Kentucky.
    They too talk a little different.
    One day after having drive a company car through a road project, where they were putting tar down on the road before the finish paving, I was walking back to the office building.
    I noticed a coworker walking on the other side of the street.
    She worked in the fleet garage and was from Muhlenberg County, “down the by Green River, where Paradise lay”.
    Anyway, I hollered over at her, “Can you get someone to get the tar off the side of the car?”
    She hollered back, “Which tar [tire] is it?”
    I hollered back, “No. It’s black tar on the side of the car.”
    She hollered back, “Well, they’re all black!”
    I hollered back, “Never mind!”
    I saw her later and explained what I was trying to tell her.
    We still laugh about that one.

  63. OmaLinda - February 12, 2021 4:13 pm

    Our neighbor in Baton Rouge used to say “ax” instead of ask, and “beleeth” for believe – is that normal? LOL!

  64. Kathie Barr - February 12, 2021 4:48 pm

    I just love the way Paula Deen pronounces “OIL” being a northerner I cannot for the life of me pronounce that word in her “Southernglish”

  65. Sandy - February 12, 2021 4:57 pm

    Love this!! I had an ex-boyfriend who used to correct me all the time…it’s ka’ak not ki-yak”. He would routinely remind me that my southern dialect was completely bastardizing the English language. A few years later there was certainly no correction required when I said to “hit the road”. 😂

  66. Sissy Paycheck - February 12, 2021 6:30 pm

    Years ago I took my in-laws to meet my grandmother in NW Alabama. When she was introduced to my husband’s brother, she got an odd look on her face. Later, she dragged me into another room and asked “Whut is WRONG with that boy? He ain’t right!” To be fair he was a pretty odd duck, but to this day the phrase “he ain’t right” has come up a lot, especially when watching a certain famous person’s antics on TV.

  67. Cindy - February 12, 2021 6:36 pm

    This is great! Another saying is doochjusdid.(do what you just did) and when your kid comes in covered in red clay you say, “Chiiiihhhhl?” (Child)

  68. Kaye - March 3, 2021 6:57 pm

    How about- ya momen em (your mama and them)
    Or – wid ya didgya ( you didn’t bring your kid with you did you)

  69. Matt - April 6, 2021 2:27 am

    On the Alfa commercials, is Sean of the south exaggerating his southern accent? I’ve never heard anyone from Walton County talk like that…


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