Friday, March 20, 2009
The Southernisms in my part of the south came mainly from Scotch-Irish immigrants who immigrated to America for political and economic reasons. Beginning in 1750 they arrived in large numbers, many coming through the port of Philadelphia which was the largest port in the country at that time. They found that land along the coasts had already been taken so they found open areas that suited them in the uplands of the Piedmont and along the rivers and streams of the Appalachian and Allegheny Mountains. Continuing migration filled in the inland South.
Okay, enough history. This isn’t a history lesson. All I want to do is share a few southern expressions with you. This might be helpful if you ever visit the South because we still say some of these. However, don’t be saying too many of them. TV and newcomers have influenced the South, and diluted our regional dialect. People might think you were mocking them.
1. ya’ll This means you all and is PLURAL. How are ya’ll doing means you AND your family.
2. kin to-related to. Are you kin to Robert?
3. idnit-isn’t it. The weather is fine idnit?
4. fixin-getting ready to do something. I’m fixin to go to the store.
5. hissy fit- you lost your temper and carried on. She had a hissy fit when she found out about the car.
6. sorry-no account. He’s about as sorry as they come.
7. thang-any object I almost broke that thang.
8. thank-think I thank I left it at Joe’s house.
9. caint-can’t I caint solve this problem.
10. frazzle-fatigue, nervousness His nerves are frazzled.
Here are some expressions I’ve heard older people say, but younger people don’t use them regularly.
Holler-a small valley
Spell- a stretch of time
Study-think about it
What about the rest of you Southerners? What words would you add to the list?