Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Big Daddy Possum mentioned Southern speech today in passing, so I thought this would be a could time to throw out a few examples of the local idiom. That's idiom, not idiot. There is a fine distinction there somewhere...

Somewhere. That's a good place to start. Most of the old folks around here say sommers as a sort of shorthand for somewhere.

Example: "I cain't play cards with you boys tonight 'cause I gotta to be sommers else."

Interested. Inn'r-stid. As in "I believe that ole boy is inn'rstid in buyin' them cows from you."

Like. Lack. "How much you like being done with that?"

Like. Almost. "I like t'shot my finger off with that danged ole .44."

Harrow. Hi-arrr, Hire or Harrr (y'gotta roll that "r" a bit). A harrow is a farm implement. I hesitate to call it a plow, because it's really not, nor is it a cultivator. It performs some of the functions of a plow and some of the functions of a cultivator. There are three distinct varieties of harrows. There are Spring-Tooth harrows, Drag harrows and Disk harrows (of which there are subtypes, such as Bog harrows, Offset harrows and Smoothing harrows). The most common type around here is the Disk harrow, which is known far and wide as a Cuttin' Hi-arrr.

"I believe you need to put some new pans (disks) on that cuttin' hi-arrr."

That one used to drive the Englishman crazy. I don't think I've ever mentioned the Englishman. He was a good friend of mine who passed away several years ago. He'd lived in London most of his life, retired from some sort of muckety-muck position at a corporation and moved over here to become a farmer. No kidding. He bought an old Fordson Dexta and planted sweet corn out the wazoo. He loved to sit by the side of the road and sell it. Said he couldn't do that in England, that they'd run him him out of town. I think he mostly did it so he could talk to folks. I seem to be digressing just a bit. I will throw out something else that drove him batty and leave this topic for the time being.

"Here while back." A while ago. "I plumb buried mah truck in t'creek here while back."

He really hated that phrase, mostly because it took him two years to figure out that it could mean last week, or it could mean ten years ago. To someone who isn't a native, I can see where this could be maddening.

And yes I still talk like this, or more properly, I still speak this way. I can (and do) speak proper English when I choose to, but I will admit it takes a conscious effort to do so.