Friday, September 5, 2008

Soda Pop

Sometimes, I forget where I'm at and fall back on old habits when talking to people. I tend to assimilate pretty well in new places, picking up the local dialect and customs. I guess it's because I like learning new things and new experiences. Sometimes I use the expressions and accents without even realizing it until someone points it out.

I picked up some friends from Arizona and I was going to show them around the area for a few days. I hadn't seen them in a few years, but we've kept in touch with letters, emails, and the occasional phone calls. I told them I was going to take them to the Alamo in San Antonio, because well, it's symbolic of Texas, just like the Liberty Bell is to Philly or the Statue of Liberty is to New York. I was somewhat surprised when my friends burst out in laughter as I didn't think I said anything funny.

So when my friends saw the confused look on my face, one of them said, "Dude, you really are a Texan now."

I didn't get it, so his wife explained, "You've got a twang in your accent and said 'San Antone' instead of San Antonio, and you kept using 'y'all' and 'fittin to'."

Ah, well then, I explained I didn't realize that I was saying 'San Antone'; and that 'y'all' and 'fittin to' were things I picked up while living in Georgia. That got more laughter. When my friend finally calmed down, she said, "You even sound funnier saying 'JoeJaw' instead of Georgia!"

Hey, when I lived in Georgia, that's how we pronounced it, JoeJaw! Still, that got me thinking about some of the other phrases and expressions I've picked up over the years. In California one summer, I picked up 'you was' instead of 'you were', and I still make that slip every now and then:

Friend, "I was just at the mall."

Me, "You was?" And if I don't get a funny look, I don't even realize I've said it.

Now, I don't always pick up on all the local customs. Sometimes, old habits die hard; I still use 'fittin to' instead of the 'fixin to' they say in Texas. I also make a conscious effort to resist some terms. But it does help to know what they mean to minimize confusion. Take the word soda, for example. I call it soda. But when I was visiting a friend in Chicago, I asked for a soda, and got a raised eyebrow from the waiter. My friend had to explain that I wanted a 'pop'. And when I first moved to Texas, I learned they called it a 'coke', which was confusing as hell the first time I heard friends ordering them during lunch.

Waitress, "What you like to drink?"

Friend 1, "A coke."

Waitress, "What kind?"

Friend, "A coke."

Waitress, "And you, sir?"

Friend 2, "A coke."

Waitress, "What kind?"

Friend 2, "A Pepsi."

And I'm sitting there thinking, did I just hear that? I still call it a soda. I refuse to call it coke or pop; and I will not compromise and use soda-pop!

The rest of the day, my Arizona visitors made fun of how I said 'cain't' instead of 'can't', 'perrty' instead of 'pretty', and then asked me to explain what 'ain't' means. They about done wore me out. Bastards! Still, it's great having them here, and I'm perrty sure when it's time to say good-bye, I won't be able to resist saying, "Y'all come back now, ya hear?"

 Related Links:
The Boys of Summer
Brothers and Sisters
Once was enough
I say again, once was enough
The Good Intentioned Samaritan


  1. That whole "coke" story though cracks me the hell up. I would have been so confused. I say pop and can't bear to say soda, but at least if I heard someone order a soda I would know what they meant.

    Very cool how you pick up various accents and local sayings. I am the type who never fits in! I do have Scottish sayings and words sprinkled in my vocab though due to immigrant parents.

  2. Snooze, I was confused as hell when I heard the coke orders in Texas! I luv different accents and learning new things! That's so cool you've a Scottish heritage.

    One of my fave movies is Trainspotting, and thank goodness for closed captioning because I had a hard time understanding them at the beginning of the movie!

    Patrick x3, It appears you've forgotten to use the PREVIEW button to check if your post will show; now, you've done repeated yourself. Also, I tend to skip ALL CAPS because it's just too tedious to read. It's also considered rude, but I think it's just too hard to read and it's sloppy, so I don't bother.

    Matthew 6:1 Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

    Matthew 5:11-12 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

    Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

    Matthew 7:15 Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly, they are ferocious wolves

    Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

    Luke 6: 37-38 Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

    Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

  3. I love the coke debacle.

    "I'll have a Pepsi" - priceless!

    That last sentence is fantastic! I'd expect no less if I came over

  4. CP, that coke order was hilarious! I was flabbergasted when I heard it! And it still gives me a kick everytime I eat out and I see tourists get all confused when they order sodas! It's funny to see my visiting friends get all discombobulated, too!

    And you better believe you're going to hear that last line from me if you visit!

  5. What we have here is a failyer to com-me-you-nee-cate

    I blame those gawdamn uppity movie 'diwrecktors' for training the general public to presume that a Merkin' Suthernor sounds 'stee-you-pid',
    while a "BBC Proper" upper-class twittering is the cinematic zenith of sounding intelligent..don't you know.

    Here in the centre of Canada, we locals speak the perfect blend of all the various Anglische dialects...our tongue is ridiculously free of intonation or cadence..just pure 100% wordage without any hint or trace of origin.

    Weird eh?

    Would somebody please put you-know-who out of his frickin' misery...
    how utterly tedious.

  6. least we Northeastern Ohioans, say the word "pop" too. Someone once told me that the southern states like Florida use the word "Cola". Can't we all just get along? ;)

    I find that I like saying and writing "yawl", although I've never lived in any other state but Ohio. I think it might be because "Do you all want some pop?" comes out better by saying, "Do yawl want some pop?"

    My brother, who went to college in Louisiana, laughed at me once because our dog was barking and I meant to ask, "What's that dog barking at?" but it came out, "What dat dog barkin' at?" He asked me if I was from Louisiana.

  7. Donnnnn, I've been able to spot out Canadians just by them saying 'about', sounding like a quick 'a boat'! I think the increasing speed and ease of travel and expanding world wide communication will eventually start to erase some accents and expand some vocabularies. And if Hollywood keeps making movies, we're all going to speak with a Valley accent.

    As a good host, I am trying to be patient with the passionate guest, but at some point I'm going to have throw him out if the behavior deteriorates. I'm giving them a chance.

    Tara, that's hilarious! I'm laughing at picturing you saying that about the dog barking!

    That's right about Florida and Alabama and Mississippi using the word 'Cola' for soda pop. The weirdest name for soda I came across was from a Boston friend who asked for a 'tonic', and I was like, "I don't have any gin to go with that".

  8. MJ, I said soda. No CAKE.

    Patrick, I see you're using the PREVIEW button again to prevent making the mistake of repeated postings. Good job. No ALL CAPS and no repeat postings; I appreciate the efforts made to be a respectful guest, and I shall continue to treat you with the same respect.

    Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

    1 Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

  9. Re Corinthans 13:11:

    How boring did he yikes! Poor people who had to be around him

  10. I love the southern accents - probably because of Trip Tucker from Enterprise, but now because of your last paragraph!

    Here in the UK, we have a similar situation with our various regional dialects and languages. The Norfolk accent (which I only sometimes lapse into, despite living all my life here) is probably most similar sounding to the Texan or Georgian accents: It's drawn-out in places and amalgamates seperate words into new ones.
    For example: "Have you not drunk that yet?" becomes "Hent yew drunk 'at?" and,
    "Do you have a light, sir?" becomes "Ha'yer got a loight, boy?"

    Would someone tell Patrick that he's barking up the wrong tree in his attempts to convert Eros from the dark brown side.

  11. I suppose its inevitable that the best selling brand becomes the generic name for the whole product. ie Vacuum cleaners are all called Hoovers in the uk . You will hear people say is that Hoover a Dyson. The southern US accent sounds almost musical :-)

  12. I used to not like the southern accent much but over the last five years or so I've found it pretty damn sexy

  13. IDV, it is kind of entertaining when coming across regional dialects. It's fun to kind of try and figure out what exactly people are trying to say; I luv that, "Hent yew drunk 'at?"! It sounds very Southern and East Texan.

    It's funny, because Texas is so big, you can kind of guess what part of Texas people're from just by listening to how they pronounce words and what phrases they use.

    Beast, it's true about the best brand becoming the generic name for a product. As for the musical nature of the Southern accents, I can assure you that some of the sub-Southern dialects sound like crappy music! Best tune 'em out before your ears pop! Few are quite pleasing to the ear, though.

    CP, some accents are sexy. Others, not so much. Some are just too weird but fascinating, like those Scots! Like that movie, Trainspotting, I didn't know what the heck they were saying the first half of the movie! Thank goodness for closed captioning!