Posts from the ‘Language Skills’ Category

Expressions That Make You Fit to be Tied & Other Southern-isms to Ponder

Some of you are aware that I have a certain affection for a damned Yankee and regularly immerse myself in travels to the great north for an infusion of ummm..Northern hospitality (yeah, we’ll go with that for now). I realize that male/female interactions in and of themselves can be a bit of a challenge under the best of circumstances..throw in a few regional and cultural differences and it’s not only like we are from Mars and Venus, but from different galaxies altogether. (mine, of COURSE, being the totally normal, sane universe and his being full of nuts, but I digress)

Now, while I can be and often am, an intellectual snot in regard to grammar or in my manner of speech, there are times..albeit few and far between..when my Southern roots and upbringing take over. (I know, it’s a great shock…stick with me on this) It seems that when I get excited, agitated or irritated, I can become a tiny bit regional in the way I express myself. Apparently during these times, I might have an itty bitty tendency to utter a phrase or two that those living above the Mason Dixon line do not employ in their day-to-day communications.

I know, I know!! It’s hard to imagine, but amazingly true. Different areas of the country have trouble understanding the true meaning behind some of our more beloved Southern phrases. Personally, I think we are simply a descriptive, imaginative group of people who just choose to use particularly apt colorful words to express ourselves on occasion. I just don’t see where the confusion comes from. In my eyes, we’re very easy to understand! Fiddle-dee-dee!

I always know that I’ve managed to befuddle the poor man and crossed the communication great divide when I hear a silence on the other end of the phone line, or when I’ve sent a text message and finally get a reply questioning my sanity. Of course, to be fair, he tends to question my sanity with frequent regularity even when I’m making perfect sense. If I’m being totally honest, I will admit that at times (not often, mind you), when I’m visiting New York and Connecticut..I “might” turn on my Southerness a bit more, just for effect. I can’t help it, Yankees are so much fun to play with. It becomes almost a challenge to take some of the stoic out of those that need a stick-ectomy (for those of you that can’t figure that one out, it encompasses taking the stick out of one’s butt and learning to laugh at one’s self rather than being so serious all the time). Besides, I’m constantly fielding requests when there to just “say something” so they can hear my “cute little accent”. So, being the polite compliant belle I am..I oblige them in my own sweet little innocent way!  Bless their hearts.

So, I send a perfectly innocent little text message to the Connecticut Yankee..something along the lines of..

” I swanny (and yes that actually IS a word, albeit a Southern one, you Yankee smartass..she says with great affection) I am going to have to kill you yet..wink”

Okay, that isn’t along the lines of, that IS the actual text message. There is silence for about 5 minutes, then I get this in return from said Yankee..

What the HELL kind of word is that??” 

I then had to send the definition of the word “swanny”, using it in what I thought was a great sentence that entailed describing a certain body part that can be truthfully declared as something I find VERY appealing. For those of you that don’t know, the definition of swanny is to declare, affirm or swear something. I’ll let y’all use your massive imaginations to fill in the blanks about the actual content of my text or to construct your own sentences…I don’t text and tell.

It must take very little to amuse me, because I was literally laughing out loud (and not in an emoticon type of way), but rather in a manner that made everyone on the train from the airport look at me like I had lost my mind. I hate to tell them, but I misplaced any sanity I had a long, LONG time ago and have found I don’t miss my mind at all anymore. I’m better off without it and fixin’ to get even more outrageous with age. I want to be a “character” when I grow up. (i.e.-“She’s a real character, isn’t she?”)

Now I ask you…if you heard these phrases, wouldn’t they bring to mind a picture that is MUCH more descriptive and easy to understand than conventional speech?  Here is just a small sampling of a few things you might hear come from a Southerners mouth…

“she was as ugly as the backside of a barn”… or

“you look like you’ve been ridden hard and put up wet”…

“It smells like something done crawled up here and died!” or

“that girl needs some meat on her bones, bless her heart”…

“we’re smack dab in the middle of something good”

“That’s about as useful as a trap door on a canoe!”

“You look about as happy as a tick on a fat dog.”

“He’s busier than a one-legged man at a butt kickin’ contest!”

“Don’t you piss on my leg and tell me it’s rainin’!”

“Excuses are like backsides. Everybody’s got one and they all stink.”

“You could start an argument in an empty house.”

“That boy’s more slippery than snot on a glass doorknob” 

“If his brains were dynamite, he couldn’t blow his nose”

“You could start an argument in an empty house.”

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I know, by now you’re all fit to be tied and bless your hearts, probably in a tizzy..but butter my buns and call me a biscuit..I just don’t think this is such a conundrum. Dang, most of you are as wild as all get out and this ain’t your first rodeo..so go with the flow and get yourself all gussied up. Good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise, tomorrow is another day.

Don’t go throwing a hissy fit, it’s not worth getting in a pickle over! Daggumit, Lawd have mercy! Goodness gracious and shoot fire, it ain’t nothing that can’t be fixed with a glass of sweet tea…join me on the porch and we’ll mull it over. Butter would melt in my mouth when I set my mind to somethin’!

Have a good ‘un and y’all come back to see us, you hear?

Now I ask you…HOW simple is that?? It’s JUST plain boring English after all!  Feel free to use any of the above “Southern-isms”.  Don’t mind the occasional strange looks that might follow, they’re just jealous they aren’t so inventive and descriptive!

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Tongue in cheek Disclaimer:  No one living above the Mason Dixon line was targeted or harmed in the writing of this bit of fluff andit is all in fun.  I happen to absolutely adore and delight in the differences of personality that all the regions in our country produce.  It’s a small part of what makes life an interesting adventure.

(For the record, this particular bit of writing seemed to send spell check into a tizzy of its own, apparently IT doesn’t speak plain, simple English either!!)

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Come Play With Me

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I love to play…

with words. (What did you THINK I was going to say?? I don’t kiss and tell! Well, not the details anyway…but I digress.

Okay, back to the subject at hand. Anyone that really knows me, as well as every student I’ve ever had from kindergarten through high school, has heard me speak often and passionately about the art of using language well. I’ve always had a love affair with words, both in written form and the spoken variety of communication. I firmly believe that if you have a good command of language that the world is yours. I believe it opens doors for you that might otherwise be left closed. I KNOW for sure, the way you present yourself through the way you speak…whether to possible employers, friends or potential lovers, often times makes a huge difference in your life or the paths you end up traveling.

I will admit to being “somewhat” of a grammar snob. I’m not sure if it’s the teacher in me, or if I became a teacher to try to improve my little corner of the world where I can…but I will often look at the way someone communicates before I let them too close to me. The constant misuse of words or misspelling of things like “there” and “their” or “your” and “you’re” drives me absolutely nuts. I realize that no one has perfect grammar, even me (stop laughing!! I’m perfect in other areas!)…but if someone obviously takes no care in how they express themselves, I know myself and know that either consciously or unconsciously, I’ll end up distancing myself from them so I don’t start correcting them. (which I still do on occasion when I just can’t stand it anymore)

Beyond that, if you have an interesting vocabulary, it’s just plain sexy. The “art” of flirting is slowly dying. No one takes the time anymore to practice verbal seduction or to use double entrendres that are meant to convey more than one meaning in conversations, either casually or with a more intense intent. Everything seems to be rapidly moving to the obvious, in-your-face type of communication, that frankly tends to leave me cold. Now granted, there ARE times when graphic, raw words are hot…times when they can and are used to enhance situations or to heighten the senses. I too, like to employ those words and phrases. They are not however, over-used in my world. When I utter something in this manner, it’s because I mean business…because they drive the point (so to speak) home with great gusto.

Word play. Some words have texture.  They convey depth just from their mere use. I have so many favorite words. I love to write. I compose everything from love letters, to short stories, to erotic tales. I find great pleasure in putting words together in a way that paints a picture in another person’s imagination when they read them. There are some words that are innocent enough on their surface, but when used can bring to mind images of much more.

You can write that you are  “eating a strawberry”…or instead, you can be about to “savor a succulent, ruby red, ripe strawberry dripping with juice”. (I love the word “succulent”) Some words are so rich and full of potential. They can bring more than one thing to mind when used. You can be “interested” in someone, or “immersed” in them. You can “think” about someone all the time, or instead, you’re “consumed” by the mere thought of them. The difference in what comes to mind is amazing depending on the word or phrases used. The meaning can still be totally innocent, but the possibility of more is there. It makes the mind wander or wonder. It engages the soul and captures the attention of whomever it’s directed at.

Learn to play with your words (ummmm…extra hint here…playing with your food can make for some pretty lively communication too, especially when naked, but that is a subject for another day). Make your conversations interesting. Practice the lost skills of seduction and flirting. If nothing else…try to learn a new word every few days that you can work into a conversation. Use these new skills not only with lovers or partners, but with friends or people at work. You’ll find that people start to look at you differently. Stretch your language skills. Take a few chances…pay attention to your grammar or the way you express yourself.

You might just be surprised at the changes that come your way or in the people that start to pay attention to you that might not have before. If nothing else, you might just have some fun along the way. Employ the flirting in the bedroom or over a romantic dinner.

In the new age of online interactions, don’t be so ridiculously obvious. Don’t come (cum) up to a total stranger online or on a dating site flashing all your goodies (or in the case of many of you, your shortcomings or goods WAY past their expiration date) with an accompanyingoh, so attractive offer of…Wanna F*CK?? Trust me, anyone that takes you up on that right off the bat, is either desperate or challenged in some way. Take a little time, “try” to act as if you might be interested in more than seeing their tits or penis…you never know, you just may find something special. Everything doesn’t have to be serious, but you don’t have to treat potential “conquests” as trivial, disposable objects either. By all means, do NOT lie, but at the same time…don’t be a goober or an insensitive bore either. Learn to use your WORDS!

So boys and girls, go ahead and play amongst yourselves. Whisper something sweet and suggestive either figuratively in prose or by way of the spoken word. Lean in close and take a chance with a well placed clever hint or amusing play on words. Be a rebel. Dare to be intriguing and beguiling. Practice your skill, hone your talent…tantalize and tease…tempt and be tempestuous. Learn how to leave something up for interpretation, leave them guessing as to the possibilities of what could be. Paint vivid, full pictures in the imaginations of those you meet and interact with. At the very least, don’t be predictable, dare to stand out from a very large crowd.

 Put at least the same effort into the manner of your contact with others that you would in choosing your next car or place to live.  In these times where we are depending more and more on electronic modes of socializing with others rather than engagaing in face-to-face interactions that are more vibrant and alive, albeit more work, language skills are even more important.  Don’t be left in the dust. Have the courage to be remarkable and don’t settle for being a pale verision of what you could be.  One more in a herd of those being left behind and losing their basic language skills.

Trust me, we’ll ALL thank you for it.