Ya’ll speak different

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!


6 thoughts on “Ya’ll speak different

  1. Each state has their own list of sayings. In the South, some will be universal, but others are region-specific. Back home in Texas, my best friend’s mother used to exclaim, “Well, ah’ll swan!” whenever something surprised or confounded her.

    A couple of my favorites are “All hat and no cattle” and “She don’t know if she’s a-washin’ or a-hangin’.”

  2. Kevin is from Alabama and he says that in the south you can say anything bad about anyone as long as you say “bless her heart” afterwards. For example, “he sure isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, bless his heart.” When we visit his family sometimes people also say to me “you must be from up north.” But Kevin has been living out of the south for so long you can hardly tell he has an accent anymore. He does say “put up” instead of put away. Like, “can you put up the leftovers from dinner?”

    • Yeah that’s more of the meaning of “bless your heart” that I was thinking of. I just couldn’t understand why the doctor was saying it to me! I haven’t heard “put up” in NC but I have heard “get a shower” instead of “take a shower” which just sounds like they are going to Home Depot to buy a shower.

  3. Hahaha. I get a kick out of working with Mexicans, Americans and Australians – Not only because of the accent but because of the different ways of saying things. I adore the way Americans in general speak but hearing the different accents are fab! 😀 Especially when they attempt to copy certain British words I say and sound hilarious.

    • The other day I heard Emma Watson imitating an American accent and it WAS funny. I’ve always secretly wished I had a British accent. I may or may not watch episodes of Downton Abbey and then try to imitate the character’s accents…

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