38 thoughts on “Another great Southernism

  • February 14, 2005 at 12:01 pm
    Permalink

    ” ‘Preciatecha’ “

    Reply
  • February 14, 2005 at 12:06 pm
    Permalink

    Yes, you’re right, I should have mentioned that the spelling I used above is only for clarity’s sake. I have only ever heard anyone say it the way you spelled it. 🙂

    Reply
  • February 14, 2005 at 12:19 pm
    Permalink

    Ah sure do appreciate it.

    (This is not me being snarky, this is something, through having a Southern-by-birth father and coming up on 20 years in VA, that I actually say.)

    Reply
  • February 14, 2005 at 12:27 pm
    Permalink

    Some of favorite “Southern-isms” :

    “Well, I be dog!”: translation- I am so surprised by that!
    “stob”: translation – a short, thick stick.
    “muchoblige”: translation – thank you very much. (see also: ” ‘preciatecha’ “

    Reply
  • February 14, 2005 at 1:44 pm
    Permalink

    I love “fixin’ to” – about to perform an action. As in, “I’m fixin’ to g’eat some barbecue.” 🙂

    Reply
  • February 14, 2005 at 2:42 pm
    Permalink

    The first one just doesn’t read right without the quasi-phonetic spelling: “wellAH beDOWG” and said with a first rising and then falling intonation. 🙂

    “Stob”?! I haven’t run across that one. That’s funny. I’ve heard the other two, though.

    Reply
  • February 14, 2005 at 3:00 pm
    Permalink

    My sister says this all the time. Along with what I find to be the single most confusing Southernism: “I wouldn’t care to” used in the positive, to mean “I wouldn’t mind”.

    “I wouldn’t care to set the table if you’re making dinner.” WHA?

    Reply
  • February 14, 2005 at 3:47 pm
    Permalink

    HA! I’ll just stick to using my Canuck slang, like “eh”. 🙂

    Reply
  • February 14, 2005 at 4:09 pm
    Permalink

    I’m amused that the things that I’ve said all of my life are oddities to others. 😀 I’m proud to know it. (and yes, that’s another one. “I’m proud ta know ya” has been heard upon occasion.

    Reply
  • February 14, 2005 at 4:45 pm
    Permalink

    Way down south we say ‘no mames cabron!’.

    Reply
  • February 14, 2005 at 5:58 pm
    Permalink

    My dad will say “might could” and “might should”

    Is “low and behold?” Southern. It has a rythm to it, kind of like “wellAH beDOWG” When I was really little, I thought people were saying “low in the hole”.

    Reply
  • February 14, 2005 at 7:13 pm
    Permalink

    I didn’t realize you were from such an enlightened area. 😉

    Reply
  • February 14, 2005 at 7:14 pm
    Permalink

    Ah yes, the double modal. I hear it at work all the time. I’ve even had to fight the instinct to begin using it from time to time.

    I don’t think “lo and behold” is a Southern thing, but “low in the hole” is funny. 🙂

    Reply
  • February 14, 2005 at 7:16 pm
    Permalink

    Ah sure would like to hear you say it. 🙂

    Reply
  • February 14, 2005 at 7:17 pm
    Permalink

    Yeah, that’s a good one, but I was already familiar with that expression in the Frozen North as a Black English expression, so the only thing that sounds funny about it down here is hearing white people say it. 🙂

    Reply
  • February 14, 2005 at 7:18 pm
    Permalink

    Wow, that’s one I haven’t heard. That is confusing. WAY confusing. Huh.

    Reply
  • February 14, 2005 at 7:19 pm
    Permalink

    Y’all really do say that a lot, eh?

    Reply
  • February 14, 2005 at 7:23 pm
    Permalink

    “Proud to know ya,” yep, I’ve heard that. And they’re not so much oddities as they are fun little discoveries. When we moved down here two years ago, I learned quickly that prospering here would be a matter of learning the culture and the language — and I regard it with the same curiosity as I would any language I’m trying to learn. (Except that it’s a dialect, not a language, but you know what I mean. 🙂 )

    Reply
  • February 14, 2005 at 8:48 pm
    Permalink

    The first time I heard the word “stob,” a friend of my dad’s was explaining how his wife hurt her foot: “We’s out walking, and she done went and stepped on a stob!”

    Oh damn! I can’t believe I forgot “yawn’to?” (do you want to?) and “yart’not” (you ought not.)

    Reply
  • February 14, 2005 at 9:28 pm
    Permalink

    Stob is just the way the word “stub” is pronounced.

    Reply
  • February 14, 2005 at 9:43 pm
    Permalink

    It’s not just another way to say “thank you”. In the South, “thank you” can mean anything from “I’m acknowledging what you did but still want to see your guts wrapped around an outhouse” to “I’m impressed with your generosity and wish I was more like you”. Southern courtesy has turned the words into a sort of neutral shield. It’s the bare minimum acknowledgement.

    “Preciatechya” has a different nuance. It acknowledges a favor, and implies at the minimum that one sees the person being thanked as being worthy of some praise and at the most it implies the possibility that the person being thanked can claim a minor debt of gratitude (politely never requested, of course).

    “Preciatechya” is much less common than “I ‘preciate it”, which focuses the praise on the act without reflecting on the character of the person who did it.

    “Much Obliged” Means that there is a standing debt of gratitude. It’s usually tacit that if given this praise that it would be rude to presume upon it for a return favor, but it definitely opens the door.

    If this seems a lot more subtle and complex than you were expecting from us “Southern Hicks”, you’re right. Stereotyping masks the subtleties of a culture. Southern culture is based on a blend of self-sufficiency and mutual assistance, with complex social dynamics more like a feudal society than an egalitarian one.

    Reply
  • February 14, 2005 at 10:01 pm
    Permalink

    That’s because saying “He doesn’t care” means “he’s not opposed to it”. Thus, “I wouldn’t care to set the table if (and that’s an important ‘if’. This phrase only works with a condition) you’re making dinner” means “I’m not opposed to setting the table if you’re making dinner”. The response, if one wishes them to do it, is simply “Please”, or “If you don’t mind”.

    Again, this reflects the importance of social hierarchy and interpersonal diplomacy in Southern culture. It’s all organized to avoid offense and acknowledge the other person’s status as an equal. Think of two neighboring feudal duchesses and you’ll see the forms are almost identical to that level of courtesy. If one wished to express displeasure or enforce dominance, the phrases would be much different.

    Reply
  • February 14, 2005 at 10:12 pm
    Permalink

    But it doesn’t just mean “I’m about to do X”. It means “I’m preparing to do something (even if it’s just mental preparation). Using this phrase implies that there is still time for intercession or interruption without hard conflict.

    If a Southern man says “I’m fixin’ to go to town” and someone says “But the chores ain’t done”, the man might change his mind or argue or put conditions on his going to town, and would not “lose face” because, after all, he just said he was “fixin’ to”.

    However, if a man says “I’m goin’ to town” and someone objects, then the objector finds himself in direct opposition to the man’s will, and the man also (in cases of extreme opposition) can be said to have “given his word” about what he was doing, making it really just a fact that hadn’t happened yet, and lending the weight of personal honor to his determination. Contradicting a Southerner’s plainly stated word can get ugly, very quickly.

    Reply
  • February 14, 2005 at 10:16 pm
    Permalink

    You realize that the addition of the word “might” means that the person is admitting that there is some uncertainty and is not closed to correction. It can also be used to soften a declaration when speaking to someone you should socially defer to. If used to someone who should defer to you, it is considered a warm and friendly manner of speech, because you could have been more forceful but chose not to be.

    Reply
  • February 14, 2005 at 10:19 pm
    Permalink

    We do have electricity and a few lightbulbs. Votive candles too and when necessary we burn witches and such.

    Reply
  • February 14, 2005 at 10:26 pm
    Permalink

    It occurred to me that in order to understand Southern language, one needs to know where this social phenomenon of “universal assumed gentry” comes from.

    Dr. Simonds said in A Student’s History of American Literature (1902)

    Following the execution of Charles I, and the establishment of the Puritan Protectorate, hundreds of the exiled Cavaliers migrated to Virginia with their families and traditions. These new colonists stamped the character of the dominion that was to be. The best blood of England was thus infused into the new enterprise, and the spirit of the South was determined. In 1650, the population of Virginia was 15,000; twenty years later, it was 40,000.

    This was just the first quotable mention that came up on Google. Other sources will confirm the influx of exiled Cavaliers into the Southern colonies.

    Reply
  • February 15, 2005 at 5:33 am
    Permalink

    If this seems a lot more subtle and complex than you were expecting from us “Southern Hicks”, you’re right. Stereotyping masks the subtleties of a culture.

    Excuse me? Who the hell are you and what are you doing busting my chops in my journal over something I’m absolutely not about?

    Get over yourself, and kindly leave me alone.

    Reply
  • February 15, 2005 at 5:37 am
    Permalink

    And goats? How do they fit into the equation? (Besides sexually, of course.)

    Reply
  • February 15, 2005 at 7:37 am
    Permalink

    Tell them for giving their valuable input.

    Reply
  • February 15, 2005 at 8:30 am
    Permalink

    Why would you want a goat? Other than sexually that is. I don’t get it. They don’t burn too good. On the other hand they like to spoon afterwards and never expect you to call back.

    Reply
  • February 15, 2005 at 8:32 am
    Permalink

    Burn the Witch!!!

    Reply
  • February 15, 2005 at 10:11 am
    Permalink

    Is this another of your quaint customs, or am I stereotyping? Wouldn’t want to mask the subtleties of your culture.

    Reply
  • February 15, 2005 at 10:16 am
    Permalink

    It’s more of a pastime that’s making a huge comeback. I think someone’s trying to organize a Witch Burning League and they are just waiting for the paperwork to go through. I don’t have much time to do it right now, but I did buy a brand new pitchfork and will try to get out there on weekends… need to get some exercise.

    Reply
  • February 15, 2005 at 1:06 pm
    Permalink

    My favorite usage of “stob” is in Sling Blade, when Carl says, “Hey, boy. Whatcha doin’ diggin’ with that stob?”

    stobstobstob. I think I could say it all day…

    Reply
  • February 15, 2005 at 1:25 pm
    Permalink

    When you take it out of the rest and lay it out like that, it does look like I’m “busting your chops”. It wasn’t intended that way. I meant it as a wry humorous nod and failed miserably by using the personal “you” when I should have said “one”, because I certainly didn’t mean you specifically. I was speaking rhetorically and screwed up and made it sound personal. I do apologize.

    I don’t think you really care who I am, though I hope you will accept that I have a background in communications psychology, and that percieved chop-busting aside, I was making a serious attempt at explaining the “Southernisms” that were mentioned in your journal.

    And I’ve been following your journal for a while. I have no idea where I encountered you first, or why I added you to my friends list. This being the case, and having brought your displeasure down upon myself, I will wish you a happy and prosperous future and cease following your journal.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.