Monday, November 08, 2010


My Dad
 My dad was a stickler for proper speech. He said, and I believe rightfully so, that people judge you by your speech. If you’ve lived in one area most of your life, you can spot a newcomer not only by the sound of his or her voice, but also by the phrases and words used. In Texas, which is where I grew up and currently live, we have a lot of, um, I’ll say unusual phrases and words.

We never say “Forgetaboutit” unless we’ve been around someone from the Northeast—or watched one of the movies like “Mickey Blue Eyes” that use the phrase. Texas is part of the Southwest but also part of the South. We don’t use the F or S word as freely as those in some parts of the country—at least the people with whom I socialize don’t use them.

Texas, or tejas, is the Native American word (borrowed from the Spanish) for friendly, as in the now disappeared Tejas Indians. Guess it doesn't pay to be too friendly to Anglos if you have all that nice land. Like most Southerners, we Texans value smiles and good manners. Oh, we may stab you in the back, but we will do so graciously and with a polite smile. Note: You've been warned.

I digress. This weekend, I was reminded of some of our unusual words by another author critiquing my work. I’ll share that one and others with you now.

Helping my plate – taking a serving of food and placing it on my plate.

Fixin’ to – I will in a minute.

Fixin’ to get ready to start – I’m not feeling peppy, but I’ll get it done as soon as I can force myself out of this chair.

Bless Your Heart!

Bless your heart – usually means you are simply too stupid to live and I feel so sorry for you.

Bless you – means the literal bless your heart

Nothing but a barbed wire fence between here and the North Pole – that north wind is freezing me

Gonna – going to

Gotta – I have to

Hafta – same as gotta

Lookee yonder. That
fella's come a fur piece
Fur piece – a long way

Yonder – not a long way, you can probably see it from here

Those are only a few of our peculiar colloquialisms. For true western slang, see Marin Thomas’ post at

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