Monday, April 18, 2016

Accents & Colloquialisms - Real or Wrong??

Hello! I've been missing you!

I was born in Arkansas and lived there until was 11(?).

Then I lived in Oklahoma for 31 years, followed by 6 years in Kansas City, and now 10 years in Michigan.

When I'm having a lot of fun, talking really fast, or I am really mad, you can tell I'm from somewhere south of the Mason Dixon Line.

At least I think the Mason Dixon Line.

I don't actually know where the Mason Dixon Line is.

One thing I know from living in the south and southwest during my tender years, is that people of the south and southwest have accents. 

But not all the same accent.

People in Michigan have accents. As do people in Kansas, Missouri, New York, Massachusetts, California, Florida, North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Illinois . . .

Perhaps you get my point.

There are some things I know.

People tend to think if you have a southern accent you are not as smart as those without a southern accent. 

My Michigan friend told me this.

People paint a VERY broad stroke when they talk about southern accents.

When Hollywood tries to emulate southern accents (all 135 of them) they almost always get it wrong.

I know this because I go to the movies.

Did you ever see the movie Twister?

Man oh man, did they get that Oklahoma accent wrong! Wow! 

They pretty much always get Oklahoma accents wrong.

Or maybe they don't. 

In Oklahoma, and most other states, there tends to be a big difference in the accents of those that live in the bigger cities and those that live in smaller towns.

When I hear most movie people talk in movies depicting Oklahoma I find myself thinking, "I've never known anyone that talks like that!" 

But the weird thing is that now that there is reality TV, I have the same problem.

I still have "never known anyone that talks like that."

But these people - with these accents - are real. 

(does anyone remember the Survivor contestant that called America "mare-cuh"?

Maybe I don't know them but someone does.

I know this because I've been binge watching Texas Flip n Move on the DIY Network.

Have you seen this show?

It's not listed on the DIY network homepage as one of their 'Hot Network Shows' or 'Fan Favorites'. And the stars aren't part of the 'Featured DIY Network Stars' section. 

But when I started hearing the commercials for this show I had to find out what it was all about!

The opening of the show starts out like this - "Down in Ft Worth, Texas there's a housing boom" - and ends like this - "It's flippin' and movin', Texas style."

So just what IS flippin' and movin' Texas style?


In one sentence it means you go to one of the little towns outside of the Dallas/Ft Worth area and buy one of the itty-bitty houses that are up for auction, pick it up and move it (by, coincidentally, your family who owns a house moving company) to a big lot full of other itty-bity moved homes, remodel it, stage it, and then put it up for auction for someone to buy and then move wherever they want to use it.  

How about that for a sentence?

Typically, the original sellers of the house are selling it so the buyer will remove it from the property. Then they can build a new giant Texas sized house. It saves them thousands in demolition costs and they get anywhere from $100 to a few thousand dollars to boot.

Let me introduce you to the stars of the show.

First, there's Randy - The Lone Wolf. A big chested, brown overall wearin', late middle-aged guy, with a fluffy Fu Manchu mustache and a heart big as Dallas. Rumor has it he has 44 grandchildren. 44!!!!

Then there's The Snow Sisters. Two hard-working, middle-aged Texas chicks without a fru-fru bone in their bodies. Think anti-Junk Gypsies.

And last, The Young Guns. A couple with bling. Think Vanilla Ice for him and blonde, tan, makeup, and heels for her. He has a BIG mouth. Most of the trash talk on this show comes from him.

The show takes you from the auction where the dwellings are purchased through the remodel, the staging, and finally, the auction where they are sold to a thrilled buyer  - for anywhere from $20,000 to $55,000, depending on the house and the audience.

Most of the small houses are purchased as guest houses, hunting cabins, or lake escapes. Sometimes a young couple is buying the house to be their family home on property they already own

In addition to traditional houses I've seen them do shipping containers, old school annex buildings, a silo, and even a boat.

Anyway, the whole point of this is THESE PEOPLE HAVE TEXAS ACCENTS! 

And they are REAL!

The question that remains for me is regarding the colloquialisms that are part of the narration, and less often, the conversation on the show. 

I find myself thinking once again, can this be REAL????

The only real colloquialism that I grew up around was 'well bless her haaart'. Younger (than me) people mostly use this in jest, and sometimes as an passive-aggressive way to judge or criticize someone. Perhaps because I was young and didn't get the joke as a child, I always thought this was what you said when you really empathized with someone. Like when a stranger's child has a melt-down in the Walmart and has to take him/her to the restroom for an attitude adjustment and gets all flustered and has a little melt-down of her own. That's when you murmur to yourself, "well bless her heart." 

When I was in college I had a roommate that said "she was on it like a rat on a cheeto!!!" in her very best exaggerated Oklahoma accent. That always made people laugh out loud. Many years later, I still find myself saying that one.

When my kids were young we had a neighbor who used colloquialisms like "fuller than an old dog tick" and "stick a fork in me (cuz I'm done)."  Again, these were done with an exaggerated accent.

As a joke. 

Colloquialisms serve to illicit images in your mind that make you smile. Or even laugh. I can't hear or even think about these sayings without laughing on the inside just a little - or a lot.

So I have mixed emotions when I hear the never-heard-before colloquialisms used on this show. They make me laugh. But then I think "aren't they a bit much?"

I wrote some of them down.

You must read aloud. In your best Texas accent. With many, many exclamation marks.  Never should a 'hard g' be heard. (Puttin', panelin', movin') Say the words in italics louder, with emphasis.

"Busier than a hound dog in flea season"

"Disapperin' faster than a sneeze through a screen door"

"Madder than spit on a grill"

"This (smell) is enough to knock a vulture off a gut wagon"  (I've never even heard of a gut wagon. Do you think it might be the truck that goes around and cleans dead animals off the highway?)

One of the Snow sisters is quite the spitfire. She say's things like, "he needs to build a bridge and get over himself!" and "you need to put the shut in his up!." But I don't really consider these colloquialisms. 

It seems like the most recent episodes of the show have less exaggerated "Texasness"  than the earlier episodes (or maybe I'm just getting used to it). It makes me wonder if viewers from Texas called in a said "I've never even known anyone that says that stuff!"  

Who knows?

I encourage you to get fascinated with Texas Move n Flip like I am. It's the anti-Fixer Upper. (I do LOVE me some Fixer Upper, by the way.) 

Do you, or people you know talk like this?

Do you or people you know use colloquialisms?

Tell me what they are!

So I can smile, and laugh on the inside.


Patricia @ 9th and Denver said...

Oh my word!
You know I'm from Texas, right?
1. I've never- EVER seen that show. 'cause I ain't have cable.
2. I type like I talk... sometimes.
3. I do use colloquialisms! ...'cause well, sometimes it's just easier than drawin' a picture! or pruning the cactus.
4. My kids, my brother and some of my friends ... all say... I can't hide my Texan-ness. They all talk trash about you when your back is turned too.

Here are a handful just to give you an idea.
... He looked at me like a calf, lookin' at a new gate. (which is how most people that don't talk Texan look at me)
... Oh, poor thang, got an onion on his tater! It's sympathy, really. {that's for those times when ice is required to keep the swellin' down)
... If you don't like my rules, don't swing on my gate. (we don't like your kind 'round here."the rule breakin'kind" ) It's rule no. 1, of course!
... I'm gonna go outside and feed the mosquitoes (sittin' on the porch)
... drivin 'round on may-pops. (car won't pass inspection 'cause the tires are bald) ...they 'may pop' any second.
... it's like brushin your teeth with bob-war [spelled: barded-wire] (this one is pretty new to me, but has to do with anything you just can't stand doing) You know, like college algebra, any problem that contains fractions and so forth. Which brings me to---
... I'd rather take a whoopin'

That's it, you can stick a fork in me, I'm done!

Art and Sand said...

I didn't know I had a California accent. I think I sound pretty much like people from Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Utah ... I

I love meeting people with a strong accent and trying to figure out where they might be from - we have some Swedish people renting on our lane right now and I love to listen to them.

I don't have cable so I can't watch all the HGTV shows - I bought each season of Fixer Upper on Apple TV. One thing I notice about the show is that neither Chip or Joanna have strong Texas accents although Chip uses colloquialisms.

And, finally, I can't think of any colloquialisms that I use. Now I will be on the "listen" for them.

Cheryl in Wisconsin said...

When one of my friends gets tipsy she starts talkin' suuuthennn, and for some reason when I get frustrated I develop a Canadian accent, "Get oat of my way!".
(I'm borrowing some of Patricia's examples from above, especially may-pops.)

Teddee Grace said...

The Mason–Dixon line, also called Mason's and Dixon's line, was surveyed between 1763 and 1767 by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon in the resolution of a border dispute involving Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware in Colonial America. It is still a demarcation line among four U.S. states, forming part of the borders of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and West Virginia (originally part of Virginia). Wikipedia

mary scott said...

I've lived in TX since 1961. My favorite TX colloquialism is "Serious as a rattlesnake on the floorboard during rush hour." I had forgotten about may pops! Thanks for a good laugh today!

Unknown said...

People up here had never heard "Cock of the Walk" and when I used it at work they looked at me as if I had sprouted a second head.

Of course, they all have door-walls.

Bliss said...

I might not even know what 'cher talking about.

Cecilia said...

I'm a born and raised Texas girl and the only ones I've heard was the bridge one and stick a fork in me. East Texans sound different from West Texans, city Texans from country Texans...I have to laugh at some of the accents...I don't know if they are for real or exaggerated. I wonder what I sound like to other people. LOL.
My favorite from my Arkansas MIL is "get in the floor" as in "I'm going to get in the floor to play with the grandkids". Still cracks me up. My mom used to say "Maz as well" for "may as well".
This has been too funny. Thanks for the laughs.

At Rivercrest Cottage said...

I'm a native norther Californian girl who married a 5th generation Texan. I've lived in Texas for 12 years. I can tell you it takes a long time to understand the language of a true Texan. My sister visited in 2005 and she kept a paper in her pocket to write down things she didn't understand. She'd take the paper out at night and I'd explain them. She really didn't get: Might-Not-Could (may not); Ahlsop (oil stop); Over Yonder (a distance away usually aided by a hand wave in the direction)

My father-in-law's favorite saying is: Happier than a muddy pig in sunshine.


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