Last 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.
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.
Mosey 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
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.