Language fascinates me. You might think that since I’m no longer living in a country with a different language that my obsession would die down.
Nope, not one bit. There are so many regional differences with regards to language in the U.S. that I can stay plenty entertained.
First of all, there’s the accent. And I’m not talking about other people’s accents, but MINE!
I’ve had people tell me the following after hearing me speak:
“Aww, you must be from up north!”
“You’re from New England, aren’t you?”
“I love your accent!”
“You sound like you’re from up north.”
Here I was, thinking that I sound neutral, when in fact, according to people down here, the Northerners have an accent, not the other way around.
Then there are phrases that I’ve never heard before.
Stay vs. Live
This isn’t something I always here, but in the past couple of weeks I’ve heard it a bunch of times. Instead of asking someone where they live, you ask them where they “stay.” Now to me, “stay” means something not permanent, like for example you “stay” at a hotel, or you “stay” with your parents while you’re saving up money to move out. Whereas “live” means a more permanent situation. But here, people use “stay” for their permanent living situation.
Bless your heart.
I’ve heard this phrase only a few times before, and I thought it was said after someone did something nice. For example:
“Johnny came over today and cooked me dinner because I was sick.”
“Aww, bless his heart.”
Now I hear it all the time, usually after you tell about some sort of hardship. For example, today I was at the gynecologist (TMI?) and she was asking me about my health history. I told her about my surgery and she kept saying “bless your heart” over and over again and I didn’t know how to respond! I mean, I know it was well-intended, but I just didn’t understand why she kept saying it.
Fuss out/Cuss out
Apparently this means to scold someone (side note: I had to look up “retar” in the Spanish-English dictionary, because I couldn’t think of its equivalent in English). My roommate uses it all the time, and I’ve heard it from other people too.
If you live down here, what are some other phrases that I should be aware of? Test my knowledge of Southern slang!