Southern Anecdotes Part II!


Another fond and interesting memory I have of growing up in a Southern dialect is the time my mother came home from work outraged that she was expected to teach her kindergartners that the word ‘dog’ rhymes with ‘log’. Where I come from, dog is pronounced ‘dawg’. Any other way is absolutely blasphemous and ridiculously upsetting. She had a hard time reconciling herself to teaching the children something that would ultimately get them made fun of and ridiculed, despite the fact that technically dog does rhyme with log. (#southernproblems – are we hashtagging in blog posts yet?)

Recently, Jimmy has started complaining about a particular Southern phrase that really irks him. Down here, many of us will say the following: “I’m fixin’ to!”. We say fixin’ in place of about. So we’re always fixin’ to do this and fixin’ to do that. And yes, we know that fixing means something entirely different, but we don’t care. Adapt or get left behind, Mr. Hubs.

When I used to frequent Panama City Beach, Florida (Redneck Riviera!) during spring break back in high school, there were always a ton of kids from the Midwest vacationing there as well. My friends and I once stumbled across a group of college boys from Wisconsin who literally spent thirty minutes giving us phrases to say in ‘our language’ as they called it. Their favorite, hands down, was ‘Oh my god’. To this day, I still don’t get it.

At the end of college, I made a concerted effort to change the way I said certain words. I wanted to sound not less Southern but just more correct. These words included: water, catch, and on. I drop far fewer ‘g’s off the ends of words. And I’ll even admit that my ‘dog’ sounds a lot more like ‘log’ than it used to. Unless, of course, I’m shouting ‘Go Dawgs!’ which will NEVER CHANGE.

Now I want to hear all of your funny, quirky accent stories – no matter your accent! Any words you’ve tried to correct in your daily speech? Any words you refuse to correct? What are the most common phrases specific to your area? I love hearing about dialects and nuances of speech so do tell!!

11 thoughts on “Southern Anecdotes Part II!

  1. Ha–I use “fixin’ to”, too,, despite the fact that I no longer say it with a particularly Southern accent. Another phrase that I have NO idea where it comes from but my mother has always used is “to go jukin'”, which basically means to run errands around town. I still use this one all the time, although I can’t say that I’ve ever heard another person use it outside of my family. My mom is from Carrollton not far from the Alabama border, so it may be an Alabama thing.

      • Yes! I think that’s probably the way it’s meant to be used, but our family just morphed it into meaning anytime you go out of the house to do something. I actually did an internet search after reading this post to see if I could find a reference to it, and it apparently comes from the same source as a ‘juke joint’, which is “believed to derive from the Gullah word joog, meaning rowdy or disorderly” (thank you, Wikipedia).

        • That’s so fascinating! I never take the time to look up small things like this, but you can learn a lot. Joog is an awesome word. I need to find ways to use it.

    • There are definitely Southern accents that are hard to understand. The Canadian accent fascinates me with their long vowels. Southerns draw out their vowels too, but we sound so drastically different.

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