I moved to the south almost 8 years ago. Since arriving I've noticed a few of the quirky phrases they use down here have slowly been creeping into my vocabulary. In honor of my brother Vinnie moving to Texas (psshhh, whatever!) I thought I'd share a few with all of you to better prepare him for what he is about to encounter. In short these are some "translations" that may come in handy.
Y'all - "You guys"..."people"..."dudes"..."YO!"
This is by far the most used phrase and the one I adapted to rather quickly. People in the south, particularly women, do not respond well to dudes or you guys. They either ignore you completely or look at you like your nuts. Some of them will humor you but it is mildly offensive to your typical southern belle to be referred to as a dude or guy.
Fixin' to - (verb) "I'm going to..."
Abruptly after I arrived, my Aunt forbid me from using this one and for the most part I've successfully avoided it, my boys, Kolby in particular, will occasionally whip this one out. It makes me giggle every time.
Bless her heart - There really is no English translation for this one, it is pretty exclusively... southern. It is a phrase your typical southerner will whip out during a gossip session to make themselves not look quite so nasty. For example: "Did you see what she was wearin' in church last week? Bless her heart!"
Sometimes no explanation or gossip is even present at the time, they may just see someone in the distance who has had a found themselves in an unfortunate predicament and the "sweet" southern women will just let a "Bless their heart" fly.
Fussin' - "bugging me"..."whining"..."yelling or complaining" "Why are you fussin' at me?"
I'm guilty of this using this one a lot simply because I'm a Mom and that is part of the job description. My kids are always fussin' at me.
I'm gonna wear you out! - "I'm going to kick your butt!"..."Your about to get a spankin'"
Typically this one follows the previous statement. Again, as a mother this one flies around my house quite a bit.
I'll tell you what - "In my opinion"..."I think"
Steve uses this one more than me, it is usually used to add emphasis before a heavily opinionated statement is about to be made.
Whoop around - U-turn.
Simple enough, but still good to know. We don't make U-turns in the south we do a "whoop around". Also when getting directions from a southerner you need to know that they don't use street names or distances "You go up this here road for about 2 minutes and then yer gonna wanna make a left at the Waffle House", they use landmarks, not street names and distance is measured in minutes.
High - "expensive" "That restaurant is high."
Never heard that one until I moved here.
I've slept since then - "I forgot"..."You can't honestly expect me to remember"
This one makes me laugh because it exemplifies how transparent southerners can be.
Ink Pen - "pen"
The reason they put the 'ink' first is because they say pen like pin. They have to have a way to differentiate between the two.
Buggy - "shopping cart"
I have no idea where this came from but it is kinda cute.
I hate to pull the tick off yer dog - "I hate to disappoint you"
My good friend Deb whipped this one out. I laughed SO hard because she is the least likely person for that phrase to be heard from.
Dumber than a box of rocks - self-explanatory.
Usually followed by a "bless her heart".
Want in one hand…spit in the other…see which one fills up first - "Not likely"..."Keep wishing"
I've never used this one but I'm eager to give it a try.
Yankee Biscuit - That would be a bagel.
Wally-World - Wal-Mart
That's where you go on a Friday night when there is nothin' else ta do.
Coke - "carbonated soft drink"
Regardless of the flavor it's a coke. Southerners drink it at 8:00 in the morning!
Sweet Tea - Iced tea with a ridiculous amount of sugar added, seriously...A LOT of sugar!! It is the main beverage here in the south, it is appropriate any time of day and they start drinking it when they're about two years old.