I was born in New Jersey. Although I didn’t even live there a year, I’ve been told, on several occasions, I have a “Northern Accent” and cute things like “they took the girl out of Jersey but couldn’t take the Jersey out of the girl.” I have also been
accused of told that I drive like a Yankee (no turn signals, gestures, etc).
That being said, there are some things
we others say here in the South that tend to drive everyone not from here crazy. Here is a sampling:
“I’m fixin’ to”
“Bless your heart”
“I might could”
“But for” (or as my college writing professor Sarah Messer used to write it on people’s workshop pieces “butt 4”)
“Are you puny?” (Puny means sick. When my brother, the largest child ever born on the Eastern seaboard (not really, but close), was two and sick, my Dad took him to the doctor who asked, “Michael are you puny today?” My father looked at the doctor like he had two heads. This kid? Puny?)
We “cut” the lights off.
We use “buggys” at the grocery store.
We call people we don’t know “honey” and “shug.”
If we pass you on the road, even if we’ve never seen you before we wave. (okay, so that’s not something we say, it’s something we do, but it still drives folks crazy.)
Addressing all adults as “sir” and “ma’am” regardless of age.
And that’s a small sampling. Feel free to share more in the comments section.
What motivated this post was a post this week from Jimmy Akin at NCR about referring to the Pope as Pope Ratzinger or Pope Wojtyla and his feeling, initially, that it was a crude and disrespectful way to address the Pope. Upon further investigation, he found that is was actually a very common tradition in Europe and considered more respectful there and that it even appears in Vatican writing. I came away thinking, well, it’s not my way, but I don’t find it disrespectful.
Where I live in the South is a hotbed for Northern transplants. Particularly retirees. I find quite a few of them in the position where the constantly criticize the way things are done in the South and the speaking patterns etc. My general response to this is: go back where you like it better. But, I think it bears saying that just because someone speaks in a different way or might have more courses for dinner or serve greens on the table at every meal doesn’t mean they are wrong or better or worse. Just different. There are things I like better in the South and things I like better in the North. But neither one is better or worse than the other necessarily. So, if you’ve moved to a new area and feel like an alien landing from outer space, just try to get used to the way things are done. If you spend all your time bemoaning what you miss, you will find yourself missing out on some great new experiences and people.
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