My 16 Favorite Southern Expressions and Words

I’ve lived in California all my life and had never ventured past the West coast or even anywhere near the Mountain Time Zone. What I knew about the South was what I saw in Forrest Gump and public school history books. Is there still racism? Sure there is. But it seems that the people here aren’t as inhibited as people are in other regions. It took me a while to overcome the language barrier, but even now a little help from Google Translate can help to get fully past the barrier. My observations aren’t meant to mock or offend, but to point out my favorite linguistic distinctions. No, not everyone uses the words and expressions below, to be fair. But many do. Here’s my list:

16. Sair-dee. Say it again. Do you hear it? It’s the phonetic pronunciation of Saturday. Isn’t that adorable? It really tickles me to hear that. No matter what day of the week it is.

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15. Chiiiiiiiiiild. Depending on the age of the speaker, you may also hear, “Giiiiiiiiiirl” which is used by your peers, or “Hooooooooooney” which I’ve heard being used between two older women. Therefore, “chiiiiiiiiiild” is usually said by an older woman to a younger person. The drawing out of these terms of endearment usually precedes a piece of advice or a profound fact.

Example: “Why did I get in trouble for eating one piece of chocolate? The new guy ate half the box and the boss didn’t say jack to him!” The supervisor rolls her eyes and says to me, “Chiiiiiiiiiild, he’s the boss’ nephew. You’ll learn soon enough.”

14. Might could. Might could replaces “might (or may) be able to.” Example: “I can’t go to the wedding ceremony, but I might could go to the reception.”

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