Thursday, July 15, 2010

Flashback Friday: Accent? Me?

What sort of sayings, colloquialisms, or proverbs did your family say when you were growing up? When were they used? What do you find yourself saying that you vowed you would never say? What do you say that drives your kids nuts? Is there a regional aspect to your speech? Do you have an accent and were you ever teased about it?
Oh, boy . . . this one has Susan written all over it. The accent thing, that is. I'll start with that and move to the colloquialisms and family proverbs.

I have a deep Southern accent. I was born in Newport, RI, to a US Navy sailor from South Carolina. We moved back to SC when I was small and I grew up there. After I married, I spent 3 years in South Dakota, but then we moved to Texas, where we spent 14 years. So yes, I have an accent! We now live in Canada, and my accent really stands out here. I am asked all the time where I'm from, and it provides a wonderful opportunity to tell why we're here (my husband is a pastor, so we're here for him to pastor a church), which can lead to opportunities to be a witness and/or invite people to church. But I am still very conscious of my accent and have tried to change it. It's not nearly as thick as it once was, but it's thick enough that people do a double-take when they hear me! It does come back even thicker when I've been on the phone with family from home or when we go to visit. I can even hear it myself when I've been out to SC! 

Several years ago an area church was performing a play that needed people with southern accents. The pastor asked Wes and me to help out, so I pulled out all the stops and really let my deep-down southern accent come out. People were amazed! They just thought they'd heard my southern accent before that night! LOL They would ask how I did that, and I told 'em the truth: I just turned it loose.

I was not teased about my accent as a child because most everyone I knew sounded the same as I did. We made fun of Yankees! They were the ones with the accent!

Things often heard in my family:
  • Pretty is as pretty does.
  • If everyone else jumps off a bridge, are you going to do it too?
  • You got many more biscuit to eat. (said to remind me I wasn't quite as big as I thought I was)
  • You're just a bit too big for your britches, young lady. (said when my attitude was bigger than I was)
  • You catch a lot more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.
  • Stop crying. You wouldn't want your face to freeze like that.
  • This place is lit up like a Christmas tree!
  • Do you think money grows on trees?
  • Why didn't you think/I don't pay you to think (depending on whether I said "I didn't think . . ." or "but I thought . . ."
  • If I've told you once I've told you a thousand times . . .
  • I have eyes in the back of my head.
  • Hop up and try it again (when I had fallen or gotten mildly hurt)
The one colloquialism that comes to mind is that every carbonated beverage was a Coke, no matter what brand it was:

"You wanna Coke?"
"What kind?"
"A Sprite."

The one thing I thought I would never say was "If everybody else jumps off a bridge, are you going to do it too?" I hated that when I was a child, but I heard it come out of my mouth when my children were growing up. Now I tell them to "remember who you are." They are not only representing their family name, but also their Savior - and I want them to remember that it only takes a second to destroy the good reputation they have among their friends and their parents' friends. They don't exactly hate that statement, but they usually just mumble an "I will" as they walk out the door. And so far they have! :)


  1. LOL! I can relate to this as well. I was born in Ohio, but we moved to FL before I was two. I grew up there and my Southern accent was formed by hearing how others talked. However, since my mom was from the North, we had some odd sayings that the Southerners didn't get. For instance, we would say: "Do you want a pop?"
    "What kind?"
    My Yankee uncle used to tease me and ask, "How come you talk like that? You're a Yankee!" LOL! Funny, but I always denied being a Yankee. :D

  2. This was fun to read today. I grew up mostly in NJ but went to uni in Tennessee and lived in the south for a few years. I picked up an accent after about 5 minutes and although I haven't lived in the south in over 10 years I still have traces of it. And when we visit family there it comes back in full force.

    Have a nice weekend!

  3. From one souther girl to another, hey there! I don't do FF every Friday but I had to toss my thoughts on the pile today!

    I love the "Remember who you are!" You are so right it only takes a second to let bad judgement send the wrong message.

    I really enjoyed your answers!


  4. Susan ~ what a cute post that I can totally identify with! Would you believe that I have a southern accent, too?? LOL!! EVERYBODY and his brother asks me where I'm from! My accent is more North Carolinian than Virginian because my hometown was about 30 min from the North Carolina I guess everyone around South Boston talks like me!

    Most all of your family sayings I'm familiar with except the third one about biscuits--never heard that one! Another favorite of mine is, "It's comin' up a cloud." That means it's going to storm, and Tom did a double-take the first time he heard me say that. And now everyone makes fun of me whenever we have dark skies, and they say in the southern-est accent imaginable, "It's a comin' up a cloud, y'all!" They are rascals mocking me!

    We also said something similar for every carbonated beverage. It was always a "drink" (actually a "drank"). Not soda, not coke, just a drink. "You wanna drink? What kind?" "A Coke." Drink always stood for a carbonated beverage, and sometimes now I'll say, "I sure could use a carbonated beverage." And all my mockers will say, "You mean you wanna drank?" LOL!!!

    I loved your post!

  5. This was great! Good for you for taking a little Southern charm up to Canada!

    I've heard other folks talk about Coke being the catch-all phrase. We called it soda pop.

  6. OH! I really enjoyed your post! I'm from GA so I grew up hearing most of those same sayings :) I especially loved the one about every drink being a "coke"--so true! And I can certainly identify with a southern accent(or as I say, drawl) LOL Have a great day :)

  7. Accents are fun and I always wished I had one. LOL

    We had missionaries come through our church once (when I lived at home w/ my parents) and they were from Maine. Cute accent! My sisters and I asked the missionary's wife what we sounded like to her and she said like the people on tv!

  8. This is so funny! My Mom still tells me to remember who I am! And she was born in Tennessee. She's changed her accent, but when she's around her Mom and sister, Watch out! The southern accent is definitely there!
    I love it!

  9. I heard many of the same saying. :-) Never heard the biscuit one, though. Love "Remember who you are" -- that sums up so much.

  10. Loved this post! Many of the sayings you mentioned are familiar to me too. I'm from Manitoba and we called everything coke too...I guess coke should be proud of their advertising!

  11. This was a fun post to write, and apparently this subject touched a chord with lots of us! LOL Thank you all for your comments!

  12. fun answers...i sooo related to many things you said

  13. I'm thinking about this post and will get back with you later. It is interesting.

  14. Susan, I know exactly how you sound. I have the same accent. Except the way I sound is a little peculiar to the area I live in. I don't speak english, I speak Southern!

  15. We have a very dear transplanted Southern gal in our community. Her husband calls her "sweet thing", she would probably say it 'thang'. We all love her.

  16. What a cute post! I've always thought I didn't have an accent growing up on the west coast then living in NYC and NJ but I've had several people tell I have one since we moved Georgia! Those things often heard in your family are the same for me except the biscuit one!


  17. that was a fun post! I haven't been by your blog in over a year! It's good to be back! My parents moved from the mountains of WV to Cali when I was two. She was always so self conscious of her country accent out there in the west
    I have a southern drawl, somewhat. I remember sitting around the dining table with one dishtowel which we all used as or napkin, except we called it - ok, don't laugh, the "rag". We'd say, " Could you please pass the rag." My dad was a student in Bob Jones University, so we didn't have money to buy napkins or papertowels every week.

  18. What a FUN post this was! I enjoyed it so much! I also wanted to tell you how GORGEOUS your purse is....well "was" since you sent it off. I really liked it. Your colors were perfect and the workmanship looked perfect!! I am not at all good at bags or purses, but I do love and appreciate them.


Thanks for taking a minute to read my ramblings and leave a comment! I appreciate it!

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