Learning the Language

Hey y’all!

No matter where you live, if you’re there long enough, eventually you’ll pick up the language. This was certainly the case for me growing up in Tennessee. I never considered how thick my accent was until I was immersed in the North. But it didn’t take long for the jokes to start and the endless mocking.

For those of you that plan on moving above the Mason Dixon Line, prepare yourself. Not only do Northerners pronounce things a lot different, but they have a certain set of slang terms they use as well. I’ve provided you with some of the language “do’s and don’ts” in an attempt to help you avoid the almost inevitable question, “are you from the south?”


Design by Anderson Group Studio

Design by Anderson Group Studio

Y’all is a habit I will never be able to break. Its way more convenient than saying “guys” or “everyone,” but it’s my biggest give away to let people know I’m from the South. It’s almost a guarantee that when I say “y’all,” it will be repeated/mocked back to me in an obnoxious southern drawl. Luckily for me, my roommate is also from the South, and we provide everyone who visits our house some helpful hints to the proper use of the word. You can find this hanging in our bathroom, and it couldn’t be more accurate. While I’ve ridded my vocabulary of certain southern terms, y’all is here to stay.

Coke, Pop, or Soda?

I haven’t quite figured out which one Wisconsinites usually choose, and according to Pop vs. Soda, neither can they, but pop and soda are terms used in the North that are never used in the South. In Tennessee, everything is a coke. When a waitress comes by she’ll simply ask, “would anyone like a coke?” and it’s perfectly acceptable to order a Sprite. However, my northern friends don’t think the same way. Firstly, it’s almost impossible to find Coca-Cola in the North. For the most part, everywhere sells Pepsi products. Secondly, everyone tells me how illogical I am to call everything a coke. This has been a difficult habit to break, but I can promise you that I will never call it pop. Where’s the logic in that?

Fixin’ to

This phrase is probably the one that gets me the most laughs. And no, this has nothing to do with construction, and I don’t need a tool kit to be fixin’.  Fixin’ to means I’m about to do something. For example, I’m fixin’ to post this blog or I’m fixin’ to go to the store. The funny stares are endless for this comment, so I suggest trying to weed this out of your vocabulary before going northbound.

Fitting in

There are numerous other slang terms and phrases that differ from Wisconsin to Tennessee, and for your convenience, I’ve provided a short list of translations below. But as long as you hold your vowels a little longer and say “oh yeah” frequently, you’ll fit in soon enough my Southern friends.

1. buggy = shopping cart

2. water fountain= bubbler

3. reckon= suppose

4. britches= pants

5. ruckus= loud noise

6. yonder= over there

7. sugar= kiss

8. hissy fit= tantrum

9. dern near= almost

10. fixins= side dishes for a meal.

For more translations, visit http://www.alphadictionary.com/articles/southernese.html

Until next time,




9 thoughts on “Learning the Language

  1. Having read this I believed it was really informative.
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  4. Love all of you're posts and love hearing about all you're adventures in Wisconsin and how it's so different from the south! on said:

    Love all of you’re posts and love hearing about all you’re adventures in Wisconsin and how it’s so different from the south!

  5. Good blog! I truly love how it is simple on my eyes and the data are well written. I am wondering how I could be notified whenever a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your feed which must do the trick! Have a nice day!

  6. Good call with the pop vs soda debate! I still don’t know which to use but I’m definitely more of a Pepsi drinker than Coca-Cola 😛

  7. I am laughing at your list of translations. I don’t think I would know how to respond if someone came up to me and said half of those words! And I have to say, I am from Illinois and I say it is most definitely pop not soda. Great blog!

  8. Great Blog! I too can relate with the y’all and especially the part about a buggy equals shopping cart. My roommates get a kick out of it every time we are in Walmart and I ask them to get a buggy!!

  9. I think I can be charged guilty for giving some weird looks if I heard those words! I like how you provided translations, helped a lot! Especially if I ever take a trip down south, I will know what everyone is talking about! ..and its Pop! 🙂

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