Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Speaking Texan

When I was in middle school, I had a group video project for history class. I was in charge of editing and when I was reviewing one of the recordings I had made, I realized that I had a very noticeable southern accent. I was mortified because I thought I sounded like the stereotypical Texan portrayed in movies. From then on, I was very careful with the way I spoke. When I went on my mission to Nevada, people often had trouble believing that I had been born and raised in Texas (and this was a mission whose missionaries were largely Texans, Canadians, and Washingtonians). While I attribute this somewhat to being raised in a college town in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex (one of those "Dallas snobs with their Mercedes"), I think my careful attention to my speech had an impact. This background is why the latest from Business Insider caught my attention. The article features 22 maps on regional linguistics. The following few struck a chord with me as a born-and-raised Texan:

Apparently, Texas and Washington D.C. are the only ones who pronounce it "boo-wee" instead of "boh-wee." As the article explains, "Bowie, MD" is pronounced "boo-wee." Also, Jim Bowie's (the knife's designer) last name is supposedly pronounced "boo-wee," though I've even heard it pronounced "boy." But if people want to pronounce it "boh-wee" as in David, I have no objections.

Moving on:

While I say "loyer," I hear "law-yer" quite a bit. Kind of like "nay-ked" and "nekkid" (it's "nay-ked," even if southern-born Justin Timberlake wants you "nekkid by the end of this song").

I have no shame in saying "y'all," though I use "you all" just as much. "You guys" is rare for me. But before one dismisses "y'all" as nothing more than redneck lingo, it might be worth taking into account that it is considered African-American vernacular by linguists (surely no one wants to get slapped with the racist label while making fun of southerners).

And finally:

When I make the suggestion to "go get a Coke" it could virtually mean anything, even if I literally would be getting a Coke (brand loyalty all the way). I've moved away from it some and tend to say, "Let's get a drink." Oddly enough, many Texans seem to prefer the Waco-born Dr. Pepper to Atlanta's Coca-Cola.

1 comment:

  1. Fun article! My favourite part about languages is regional dialects (followed closely by cant). America- particularly Southern states- preserves a lot of archaic features of the English language. Axe a question, double negatives, that sort of thing.