Southern English (as natural as I please)

O'Bruadair   Sat Mar 10, 2007 3:40 am GMT
Any other "Southern English" speakers here?

If so here is a question for you:

How many of these words from the Southern dialect can you translate into “standard English”?

Here is a hint: The words on this list that have an exact counterpart in “Standard English” don’t necessarily have the same meaning. For example “lights” in “Southern” means lungs (usually pig lungs)

BTW if you can not translate ‘Dreckley’ and ‘chittlins’ I would most certainly question whether or not you are truly Southern at all!

Adder, Ax, Awmos, Bade, Beknown, Bestest, Bout, Bwile, Chimbley, Chittlens, Clim, Cuz, Didden, Dollop, Drawed, Dreckley, Drubbin, Fair t'middlin, Finnikee, Fuddled, Ghostisiz, Grammer, Gwain, Hizzen, Hold wi', Holler, Hollerday, Idden, Larn, Leastways, Leb'm, Lights, Mind, Mussen, Ourn, Peart, Piller, Privy, Purdy, Ramshackle, Spec, spoase, Swaller, Taiters, Tuther , Turbul, Warshin, Wuss, Yorn, Zackly,
zzz   Sat Mar 10, 2007 3:56 am GMT
Grammar = grammar
warshin = washing
ax = axe
bestest = best
bout = about
cuz = because
dollop = amount
drawed = drew
fair t'middlin = average
finnikee = changeable/unstable
fuddled = confused
hizzen = his
holler = shout
Hollerday = holiday
mind = obey
purdy = pretty
ramshackle = run down
swaller = swallow
wuss = chump
O'Bruadair   Sat Mar 10, 2007 4:09 am GMT
Purdy good!

Of the ones you took a shot at you only missed Grammar (Grandmother) ax (ask) dollop (close on this but should be small amount)
Finnikee (close on this too, a Southern synonym would be particular, meaning choosy or hard to please) and wuss (this one is a little confusing and perhaps should have been spelled wuz, meaning was).

You are British aren’t you?
kappy   Sat Mar 10, 2007 5:19 am GMT
uh... those are all pretty much correct.
zzz   Sat Mar 10, 2007 5:25 am GMT
>> You are British aren’t you? <<

Nope. I'm American. From the Northwest. My mother actually uses a lot of those expressions, and she has never lived in the South. She's lived in the West all her life. I wonder how she picked them up.
Guest   Sat Mar 10, 2007 5:42 am GMT
"finicky", "holler", "cuz", and "mind ( as in "mind your manners") are definitely used in more than just the South.
O'Bruadair   Sat Mar 10, 2007 2:57 pm GMT
Your assuming ax was a misspelling of axe and your usage of ‘chump’ threw me off! The only time I’ve ever heard an American use ‘chump’, he was speaking of an inept boxer.

Not trying to be forward or personal here. Just interested in how regional dialects developed (especially the Southern one since it is what I speak). Where is your mother’s family from? Is she of Southern descent? Is she of British descent? If so which “British”? (Irish, Scot, Scot-Irish, English, Welsh).
Uriel   Sun Mar 11, 2007 12:21 am GMT
Adder -- snake
Ax -- ask
Awmos -- almost
Bade -- told to, directed
Beknown -- known, understood
Bestest -- better than best
Bout -- short for about, or a spell (a bout of the flu)
Bwile -- no idea!
Chimbley -- chimney
Chittlens -- ugh! (intestines, scraped and boiled)
Clim -- climbed
Cuz -- cousin
Didden -- didn't
Dollop -- a little spoonful (hardly just a southern word, either)
Drawed -- drew
Dreckley -- directly
Drubbin -- a beating
Fair t'middlin -- so-so
Finnikee -- finicky
Fuddled -- confused
Ghostisiz -- ghosts
Grammer -- grandma
Gwain -- going
Hizzen -- his
Hold wi' -- agree with, condone
Holler -- hollow (geographical), ravine
Hollerday -- holiday
Idden -- isn't
Larn -- learn
Leastways -- anyways
Leb'm -- eleven
Lights -- do you mean as in "by our lights"? -- standards, morals
Mind -- listen to, behave
Mussen -- mustn't
Ourn -- ours
Peart -- no idea
Piller -- pillow
Privy -- bathroom -- especially if located outdoors
Purdy -- pretty
Ramshackle -- broke-down (not just a southern word)
Spec -- expect
spoase -- suppose
Swaller -- swallow
Taiters -- potatoes
Tuther -- the other
Turbul --- terrible
Warshin -- washing
Wuss -- coward, weakling
Yorn -- yours
Zackly -- exactly
O'Bruadair   Sun Mar 11, 2007 5:49 pm GMT
Well you got most of them. I splained “lights” in my original post. In “Southern” it is pig’s lungs (for human consumption). “Lights” is also used to mean glass as in “winder pane”. Yeah, “adder” could be a snake, as in “spreadin adder” (AKA hog nose snake) but I was looking for after, as in “adder while” (later).

Bwile is boil. Peart is nearly or close to as in “peart near”.

Are you Southern or have you spent a lot of time around Southerners?
Uriel   Mon Mar 12, 2007 4:11 am GMT
My mother's side of the family is southern. Although I don't know that I've ever heard them use most of these terms -- I just picked them up from other popular sources, I guess.

Technically, a pane of glass IS correctly called a "lite" of glass -- which I learned during a brief stint in a frame shop.

I would have spelled your "peart" as "purt'" -- short for "purty". The spelling threw me off!

I've heard of eating pig's feet, but pig's lungs? I guess you DO "use every part except the squeal"!
O'Bruadair   Mon Mar 12, 2007 1:18 pm GMT
“I guess you DO "use every part except the squeal"

Yeah, that is true. If you are gonna eat intestines (chittlins) and “mountain oysters” why not lungs? It’s all pork ain’t it?

I attended a football game a few years ago at a predominately African American high school in the rural South. Outside the little concession stand they were grilling pig tails on a stick. I had three. They were delicious!

Thanks for the info on “window lites”. I found this in wikipedia. “Lites - Pieces of glass used in place of a panel, essentially giving the door a window. (also known as a "lights")”

This adds to my list of “Southernisms” that have “legitimate” origins (as opposed to being “corruptions” of “standard English”.
OBruadair   Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:01 am GMT
Well I’m going to come clean here before this thread gets any further down the list.

This little exercise may seem silly and superfluous to some and it IS fun (at least to me) but it does have a serious purpose too (again, at least to me).

Americans have always been led to believe that Southern speech is nothing but a bastard way of speaking that arose out of simple ignorance, isolation, laziness and poverty. Our children are taught that their manner of speech is something to be ashamed of and they are expected to learn how to “talk like the man on the six o’clock news” in order to "fit in" in the modern world. No variation in English is considered "correct" unless it is "standard American English" and that just as Mr. Webster envisioned it mind you! Quite frankly yankees and yankeefied Americans of other ethnic backgrounds can be more culturally chauvinistic than the snootiest Englishman or Frenchman that ever lived!

Turns out that the standard yankee explanations of the origins of Southern English are a load of bull. The "dictionary" that I pulled the "Southernisms" above from is not Southern at all. It ain't even American. These words are from the "Somerset dictionary" (see link below). Somerset of course is a county in Southwest England. The larger dialect is called the "West Country Dialect" (which has been discussed on other threads on this board) and is thought to be derived directly from "Old English" and not a corruption of the "Queen's English" (or Modern English) at all. The "West Country Dialect" has also been described as a "slow drawl". Sound familiar?

Are there any other Americans here who are starting to question what "conventional wisdom" has taught you about the origins of "Southern English"? Southern speech has of course been enriched by many influences (Scottish, Welsh, Irish, African, French, German, Hispanic, and Native American) and I’m not saying that “Southern” and “West Country” are one and the same. They are not. There are many differences and there are many words in the Somerset dictionary that I did not recognize.

I AM saying though, that the main root of the Southern dialect is in the Southwest of England. I’m saying also that the Southern dialect is a true dialect that developed separately from “American English” (really yankee English) and is definitely NOT simply a corruption of “real English”.
mxsmanic   Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:13 am GMT
Both the American Southern dialect and the British West County dialects are substandard.
O'Bruadair   Tue Mar 13, 2007 1:12 pm GMT
Thanks for so succinctly illustrating my point!
O'Bruadair   Tue Mar 13, 2007 1:22 pm GMT
Oh by the by yank, I believe it is “west COUNTRY” not “west COUNTY”.