Southern Talk 101

I grew up in Kentucky, lived in D.C. for eighteen months, and for the past seventeen years, have called Athens, Georgia  home. Most folks would say I’m a Southerner. I say most because some denizens of the Deep South don’t consider Kentucky or D.C. part of the South. Blame the War of Northern Aggression, or what you might know as the Civil War

Folks down here have a different way of talking. In fact, some outside of the region have a hard time understanding what we say. Part of it is the accent, but the words we use can be confusing too. Here’s a guide for folks outside the region..

Anem. Everyone, as in, “How’s yer momma anem durrin?”

Bless his/her heart. Although sometimes intended as a statement of kindness, it more often means he or she is just pathetic and can’t help it. “He lost another job, bless his heart.”

Directly. Eventually, but sooner rather than later. “I’ll get to it directly.”

Druthers. Preference. “If I had my druthers, I’d have cornbread with my pinto beans.”

Durrin’. Getting along. “How y’all durrin’?”

Filth. The fraction equal to twenty percent. “If you go to the liquor store, fetch me a filth of bourbon.”

Fixin’ to. Getting ready or about to do something. “I’m fixin’ to run to mini mart.”

Hankerin’. Craving. “I got a hankerin’ for some black-eyed peas and collard greens.”

Howbowchu. And you? “I’m doing well, thanks, howbouchou?”

Jeet? Query about sustenance. “What jeet up at the Cracker Barrel?”

Pertnear. Nearly. “I pertnear finished that book I’s reading.”

Pitcher. Photograph. “That’s a right purty pitcher of you.”

Plumb. Extremely. “I’m plumb tuckered out.”

Put up. Preserve, usually by canning. “Granny put up some maters and okrie last week.”

Riecheer. Specific location. “I left my wallet riecheer. Where’d it go to?”

Sorry. Pathetic or worthless, often followed by a derogatory name. “That sorry son of a bitch.”

Swan. Declare or swear. ‘I swan, it sure is a putty day out.”

Yaller. Primary color. “She planted yaller daffodils around her mailbox.”

That’s all I have for today. If you have any words or expressions you’d like explained, just let me know in the comments. I’ll respond directly.

4 responses to “Southern Talk 101”

  1. I grew up in the Blue Ridge in Southwest Virginia.

    Until I was probably in college – maybe even later – I said I wrote with a “pin.” I’d never heard of a “pen” -or at least, I couldn’t hear the difference. Along those same lines, people collected eggs from the hinhouse and tin was the number that came after nine.

    A haint (haunt) was a ghost.

    If you helped someone in the past, you “holp”.

    My grandfather didn’t cuss, but there were dadblamed problems and exclamations of “Dadburnit!” and “Confound it!”

    “It” was pronounced “hit,” and drove all of our elementary school teachers crazy.

    • Ha! I’m sure other regions have a vocabulary, but there’s no place like the South!

  2. I was born and raised, not reared, in Kentucky. I can never get help from Siri because she cannot understand my hillbilly accent.

    • Ha! There’s a fine line between Southern and country. And then there’s mountain…. Thanks for stopping by!