I’ve been in Charleston for almost three years and it’s no secret I’ve enjoyed my time in the South. I never would have thought in a million years I would not only live here, but love it. I love the big changes – weather, food, living by the beach, etc – but I also love some of the little things. Namely, clothing and vernacular.
Southern girls wear their summer dresses to just about every event. Concert? Baseball game? Night out on the town? Doesn’t matter.
The vernacular is probably my favorite thing about the South. Here is a small sampling (aka what I could remember on a moment’s notice) of Southernisms.
Ya’ll – The classic. The collective you is just too damn confusing for Southerns, so they created this word to make things easier.
Bo’ – I’m not sure of the “proper” spelling of this term, but Southerns use it to mean “boy” or “buddy.” They’ll say things like “You got that right, Bo’!”
Box – Synonym for fight/punch. “I’m gonna box him in the face!” “I’m gonna box him!”
Might Could do – Another way to say “could do.” “That’s a good idea, but we might could do this instead”
Raise Cain – To cause trouble
Sir/ma’am – Although all regions of the country are familiar with these words, Southerns overuse them. I’m called “sir” about 80 times a day and I’m expected to call all adults sir or ma’am and respond to people’s questions with a “Yes, sir” or “No, ma’am.”
Fixin – Planning on, about to. “I’m fixin to get some food.”
Tore Up – Messed up/broken up. “I hurt my leg earlier. It’s all tore up.”
Lowcountry/Low Country – Term for the South Carolina coastal region.
Yankee vs. Damn Yankee – 1. Yes, they really do call us Yankees. 2. A Yankee is a Northern who currently lives in the North. A Damn Yankee is a born-Northern who moved to the South.
Piazza – It’s a porch, but on the side of the house. Do not call it a porch.
Joggling board – Couldn’t explain it if I wanted to.
She Crab Soup – If you like crab, this is excellent.
Sweetgrass Baskets – They sell these everywhere.
Pecan Pie – I still haven’t tried it
Boiled Peanuts – Acquired taste.
Double staircases – I heard each side was designated for each gender.
Fried-green tomatoes – Not a fan.
Bricks – Every damn building downtown is made of bricks
BBQ – When Southerns (at least in the Carolinas) say BBQ, it can encompass a lot of things, but it’s really about the pork, not the chicken
BBQ Sauce – Carolina folk seem to prefer the yellow, mustard-based BBQ sauce as opposed to the sweet, tangy red sauces.
Grandma – The liquor of choice. It’s short for Grand Marnier.
Sweet Tea – It’s iced tea but with a crapload of sugar. True Southerns just call it tea as it’s the norm down here.
Grits – A southern staple. It’s kind of a combination of rice and oatmeal…and all gross.
Dislike of people from Ohio – Surprisingly, Ohioans really draw the ire of the people of Charleston. They seem to hate them more than the Damn Yankees.
Phew….I hope to continue this list as I think of more….