Texisms

phyliss_miranda.jpgLast year my daughter and I went to New York City on business.  We stayed at a hotel right off Times Square and on our walk back to the hotel every evening we stopped to goggle some larrupin’ good delicacies at a bakery.  We resisted until the night before we left when we stopped.  After a minute or two of discussing which item we wanted and realizing the owner had been watching us stop each night, we placed our order.  The gentlemen, while wrapping up our goodies, simply asked, “You don’t have these in your country?”  I was surprised but I think he was more surprised that we live in Texas and Texas is in the USA.

As a disclaimer, I was born and raised in the Texas Panhandle and I’ve never kicked my Texisms nor have I tried.

The second incident that made me wonder about the Texisms that I think are normal but may not seem so to other people was a review of The Tycoon and the Texan.  Now keep in mind that this contemporary romance begins out in California with my hero and heroine working together, but the last third to half wraps up their relationship in the panhandle of Texas on the Johnson-LeDoux Ranch.  If you followed my western historical anthologies with Linda Broday, DeWanna Pace and Jodi Thomas, you’ll recognize the LeDoux Ranch at Kasota Spring, Texas.

The first book of my new series “Kasota Springs Romance Series” The Troubled Texan hasThe Troubled Texan Good lots of 4th and 5th generation Kasotans.

A couple of reviews on The Tycoon and the Texan were particularly harsh about my Texisms.  One wrote that she or he had never heard half of the words I used and doubt they were real words that people in Texas use today.  After I got out of my poor pity party, I realized that there are many areas of the US who don’t understand our Texisms and certainly don’t realize that we still use words and phrases that were used in the mid-1800’s.  But then let’s not forget that this part of Texas wasn’t settled until around 1875 … that’s less than a century and a half ago.  As a matter of fact, many of our ranches are owned by the original families.  The bank we do business with is still owned and operated by the same family who founded it in the 1800’s.

Well, all of this put together gave me cause for thought.  Maybe you all might like the definitions of some of the words and phrases we use … so here goes.

Y’all or you all is both singular, plural or plural possessive.

Y’all come back, you hear. We don’t want an answer, but are inviting them individually and collectively to come back.

Now, all you all is definitely plural. Adding the all is self-explanatory.

We put y’all’s packages under the Christmas tree.

bull riderMosey is an interesting word, depending on how it’s used.  It can mean to move quickly or slowly.  A two thousand pound Brahma bull moseys pretty dern slow, while a cowboy moseying toward a honky-tonk for a cold beer would mosey that direction pretty quick.

I’ve written this before, but in case you missed it and plan a trip to the south please remember that you can’t just order a coke … you need to explain whether you want a Coca-Cola, Pepsi, 7Up, Dr Pepper or Root Beer.  We typically don’t use soda or pop, but I’ve heard a coke called a soda-pop.

Fixin’ can be a noun, verb or adverb depending on how it’s used:  I’m fixin’ to be in a fix because I’m missing some of the fixin’s for dinner, so I’m fixin’ to head for the grocery store.

For your wordsmith’s out there, here’s a regional note from the dictionary which I found interesting:  “Fixing to” ranks with y’all as one of the best known markers of Southern dialects, although it seems to be making its way into the informal speech and writing of non-Southerners.  “Fixing to” means “to be on the verge of or in preparation for doing a given thing,” but like a modal auxiliary (can, may, must, ought, shall, should, will and would, that are characteristically used with other verbs to express mood or tense), it has only a single invariant form and is not fully inflected like other verbs.  Its form is always the present participle followed by the infinitive marker to: They are “fixing to” leave without us.  Semantically, “fixing to” can refer only to events that immediately follow the speaker’s point of reference. Hell fire and brimstone, bring on the matches we all thought it was everyday language in Texas and are sure glad it’s made it’s way into the dictionary!”

Aren’t we glad someone went to all the trouble to explain fixing, except they obviously aren’t from Texas ‘cause we drop that useless “g” at the end?

I’ll leave you with a couple of Texisms you must know if you mosey into Texas and plan on stayin’ a spell.

Only a true Texan knows the difference between a hissie fit and a conniption fit.

A true Texan can point out the general direction of catawampus.

A true Texan grew up knowing the difference between “pert near” and “a right far piece. If all you all will keep these little ditties in mind when you are in Texas, it’ll likely keep you

Mobeetie Strap-Iron Jailfrom spending your vacation in the hoosegow.  An example, if you ask to buy some coke from the wrong party, you’ll definitely end up in the pokey.

Do you have a regional phrase, word, or saying you’d like to share with all of us?

To one lucky winner, I will give you an eBook of either The Tycoon and the Texan or The Troubled Texan.

TheTycoonAndTheTexaneBook

Phyliss
A native Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Phyliss Miranda still believes in the Code of the Old West and loves to share her love for antiques, the lost art of quilting, and the Wild West.

Visit her at phylissmiranda.com
Updated: April 9, 2014 — 8:13 pm

29 Comments

  1. I rolled my eyes when you wrote that the bakery owner thought you lived in another country. Although, my husband & I moved from Rhode Island to Florida 14 years ago, I still tend to drop my “r’s” and to me a grinder is what people here call a sub and a cabinet is a milkshake.

    And what really cracks me up is the number of people (adults) who think Little Rhody is in New York!

    I could go on, but…

    I loved The Tycoon and the Texan and would be thrilled to add The Troubled Texan to my Kindle library.

  2. I’ve lived in Wisconsin my whole life, but I use “y’all” occasionally just because I can. 😀

  3. I love your post! I have been a Texas girl all my life, born and raised, so the Texisms made perfect sense to me. I have had many a stranger poke fun at my wording and “Southern drawl” but I am who I am!

  4. I’m from a Swedish community in Kansas so we really have some good combinations here.
    So, tack så mycket (thanks)for your Texas post today.

  5. When I first transplanted from California to Texas, I was bound and determined not to be sucked into those Texisms. Especially y’all. I made a point to always use my California vernacular of “you guys” instead. It also used to make me made when people I knew back in the day would tell me I now spoke with a Texas accent. I certainly did not!

    Ha! After living here for over twenty years, I can finally admit that I’m proud to be a Texan. And if a little twang works its way into my speech, well, that’s just dandy. And if a “y’all” slips past my lips these days, I grin. Most Texisms don’t come as naturally to me as they do to you, Phyliss, since I wasn’t raised here, but all my kids are Texas bred, and I’m proud to have them claim that heritage.

    Long Live Texas!!!

  6. Love this! We have relatives in TX and I just adore visiting them and listening to them talk. I have heard many times that us MI people have our own way of speaking. I know we say “guys” for everything – as in “you guys”. Every kind of carbonated beverage is pop here.

  7. Hi Phyliss – I absolutely loved this. Having relatives in Texas,it really helped me write my westerns. I remember one lady saying, “I’m tryin’ to catch a cold.” Why would anyone TRY to do that? Then I got it. She didn’t mean that she WANTED to catch a cold, but that she thought it was happening. I love Texisms. They add color to every story!

  8. Thanks for your post! I have read your books and even though I’m not from Texas I thoroughly enjoyed the way you wrote them and the wordage you used (Texisms)! Anyway I’m not sure this counts but growing up my family and I would say “pop” for what others call “soda”. So when I moved to California with my husband when I said “pop” and people thought I was crazy. For so long I kept trying to make them accept my word hahaha, but now my kiddos say “soda” hahah.

  9. Thanks for the fun post!!! LOL… I have 2 aunts that have lived in Texas and we laugh at their Texanisms! Can’t think of anything specific for our area, other than the pop vs soda debate 🙂

  10. Hi Phyliss, I love Texisms and yep, I use them in my books! The joy of writing historicals is you can use as many as you want and get away with it. Thank you for sharing. BTW: That’s a might sexy cover.

  11. I’m from the KS where there is some mighty good bird hunting. My husband and I use the phrase “That dog’ll hunt” frequently.

  12. Hi Phyliss, I’ve used Texisms all my life so it seems really normal. There are tons of ’em. One thing my mama always said was “wall-eyed fit.” Wall-eyed made it lots worse than just a plain fit. Another was “Don’t get your panties in a wad.” She had so many but of course I can’t think of any more at the moment.

    Wishing you much success with your new book. It’s really good.

  13. Alisa, how funny about people thinking Rhode Island is part of NY. That’s kinda the way it is here. When I was working full time before I began writing, I’d have secretaries call to schedule a deposition here in Amarillo and ask which city is the closest to fly into and drive to Amarillo — Dallas or Houston. Well, it depends … 7 hours from Dallas without much traffic and probably 14 to Houston (I forgot). Duh, and we do have an airport with major airlines. I love that up in NY Houston is pronounced House ton which in Texas it’s Hustone. And, I absolutely love Florida. We used to go there every summer but haven’t gone in a few years. I’m so happy that you enjoyed “The Tycoon and the Texan”. I actually wrote it as a category romance for HQ, but when Kensington wanted a new book, I rewrote it. It is definitely a book a reader loves or hates, but that’s the way category romances are. I still had fun writing it and it layed the groundwork for “The Troubled Texan” thus the series. I hope you win, so you can get an e-Book. Thanks for dropping by. Hugs, Phyliss

  14. Faith, I’m with you — sometimes we should do things just because we can. I think a lot of the middle section of the US use a lot of slang specific to ranchers and cowboys. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Hugs, Phyliss

  15. Well, I’m not surprised at the ignorance discovered in NYC… They think that Indiana is part of the wild west and expect to see cowboys riding in the streets…

  16. Melanie, I totally agree. Be who you are regardless! That’s a good trait, unless you’re serial killer then I’d think twice. Stick in there … be who you are. Hugs, Phyliss

  17. Over the weekend I watched a great 2 hour program called: YOU DON’T KNOW DIXIE. Being from California, I didn’t know that much, but was fascinated by what I learned. I wish everyone could watch it. “You don’t have that in your country?” And just what country is that???? There are people who think New Mexico is Mexico. Another reason to hate California. Remember that? Great post.

  18. Enjoyed reading about Texisms. I was born in the southeastern corner of Colorado where I lived on my grandparents farm until about age 7 and remember my grandparents saying similar things to your Texisms.But then a lot of Texans would come to visit or live there and I guess they brought the sayings to that part of Colorado. It’s hard to change how we pronounce words . I remember my sister and I visiting St Paul, Minn. once when we were in high school and a clerk in a store said we had the neatest accent where were we from? gee at the time I lived in Arizona…..and we never thought of ourselves as having accents living in Arizona. So we really hammed it up…well, we were high schoolers…..and pronounced Rodeo and words that Westerners say in a really drawn out way. What fun we “Accented Arizonans” had that day.

  19. Linda H, how neat living in a Swedish community. May I ask where? My daughter and son-in-law and the family just moved to Derby outside of Wichita with Textron. If I could go anywhere in Europe, I believe I’d love to go to Sweden and Denmark. Have a great evening. Hugs, Phyliss

  20. Hi Karen W, where in California did you live? My oldest daughter and family live in Santa Barbara County. This is their second stint out there, so I really do love it. I actually wrote “The Tycoon and the Texan” when they lived there the first time and wrote it out there. That’s why I knew the story of Agnes on Harris Grade. Now they live at the foot of the grade up on the top of the hill. Yelp, it’s a well known fact that if you wear out a pair of boots in Texas, you’ll never leave. Abilene has a lot of the panhandle influence or rather Amarillo has a lot of theirs. I’m glad you settled here and I know your kids will be happy too. Take care, sister filly. Hugs, Phyliss

  21. Hi Susan, okay I’ve had my Coke (and I drink Coke-Cola, always have and always will), so have a pop on me tonight. When I was growing up, and this will tell my age as if my picture doesn’t, we’d go on Coke dates. I think now with as many beverages as there are out there, people are more attuned to specifying exactly what coke they want! LOL Now what drives me crazy is when I order a hamburger and they ask if I want cheese. Geeze, if I wanted cheese, I’d order a cheese-burger!! LOL Have a great even. Hugs, Phyliss

  22. Charlene, I had to read your post twice because I thought to myself what is wrong with “trying” to catch a cold? LOL I guess in reality it should be I’m trying not to catch a cold. Oh well. That is cute and I’ve always said that. Have a great evening sister filly. Hugs, Phyliss

  23. Cori, I’m laughing out loud. That’s cute. When I go out to see my kids in California, I’ll have to see if the youngun’ have changed over to pop or soda. My daddy was from Ohio and Mama from Louisiana, although she moved here as a teenager, so I kinda got some of both of the worlds; however, living here all of my life and being around my granny and mother’s family, the Texisms won out. Thanks for the compliment. My syntex comes naturally although when I first began to write, I wrote very stilted (coming from the legal field.) My editor sometimes think I go too far with the Texisms, and I know I do, but thank you for the compliment. Have a great evening. Hugs, Phyliss

  24. erinf1, thanks for stopping by. I bet there are some differences but they are so normal to you all (like they are to us) unless someone brings it to your attention.

    Hi Margaret, thank you, sister filly, for the compliment on the cover. I was disappointed in “Tycoon’s” cover because I had an image in my mind of what my H and H looked like and I thought my cover model looked about17 and fair when Nick was the typical tall, dark and handsome. I love the second cover. It’s sexy in a neat way. Have a great evening. Hugs, Phyliss

  25. Hi sister, Linda, I’m like you, we just accept our sayings as everyday verbage. I’d forgotten about an wall-eyed fit. There are just so many. Love you tons, friend. P

    Tami, I love your saying. I’ve heard it, but haven’t used it much. Thanks for sharing.

    Thanks, Mary J. Great saying. You all have a great evening, you hear? Hugs, Phyliss

  26. Jackie W, love your story. That’s one thing about accents, they can be played up or down as needed! Have a great evening. Hugs, P

  27. Phyliss,
    Lindsborg KS, known as Little Sweden USA, south of Salina.
    http://www.lindsborgcity.org/
    It’s a little over an hour from Derby, so head up I-135 and enjoy the town.

  28. I’ve always used the term prit near, but my family’s roots are southern Ohio. I once had a contest judge “correct” me on the term, but my story’s setting was southern Ohio so I ignored the advice.
    I’ve also wanted to leave off those silly g’s at the end of -ing words in my dialogue, but then I chicken out and put them in most of the time.
    Great post!

  29. Always enjoy your posts. Can’t think of any regional phrases where I grew up. Here in Tennessee where we live now, many of your Texisms are in use.
    My husband has relatives in Mass. and I remember the first time I visited, they offered me a pop instead of soda. When we moved here, I noticed I would order a Coke and they would list the sodas they carried. In northern NY where I grew up, you order what you want – a Coke means a Coke not other types of soda. If I wanted Pepsi, 7-UP, or root beer, that is what I would order. I have also noticed that bag and sack are in scattered usage around the country.

Comments are closed.