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Dialects or thereabouts

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As we become questionably more educated hereabouts, words such as hereabouts are quickly becoming educated into extinction.

I personally spent the first half of my life trying to rid my vocabulary of the many words which quickly pegged me as coming from a corn farm somewhere north and west of wherever civilization--and proper English--ended. I regret the ridding. Would like to reverse it.

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One of the first words that I'd like to see brought back into daily use is the word "et," as in the answer to the question: "Do you want to eat?"

"No, thank you. I've already et."

Why'd that one go away and "ain't" get to stay? I think that's unfair.

Matter of fact, one of the basic problems with any language is the frustrating inconsistency of verb conjugation, and of course the accompanying complexity of the singular-plural thing. Like a lot of people, I seen that as a problem while I was still in grade school. It's still around, the "seen" misuse, and "et" is gone. Not fair again.

Then I went off to college, and that were a shock, that learning verb stuff.

As soon as I've et, I'm going to pay some special attention to pronounciation, try to get some flavor back into my everyday language use, some of the flavor that society stole from me.

For example, when I've et my aigs, I'm gonna warsh some clothes. Nope, I'm not going to pronounce "aigs" as "eeeegggghhhhs," or "warsh" as "waaaaash." Aig and warsh give a simple statement some style, some body, some indication of geographical origin. They say: "I'm from the country, and you ain't. Poor you."

In my next life, I hope to meet up with my college speech teacher, because thanks to folks like him, there ain't no one left talkin' like me. We got institutions of higher learning distracting us with the extinction of the spotted own and the uncommon newt, while common folks like me are having a whole dialect stolen from us.

I remember well finishing my first speech in that college speech class. I believe it was a rather sparkling analysis of the merits of one kind of seed corn over another--well, he said make the speech about something you know about. How was I to know some people didn't even know what seed corn was?

I was finished. The speech teacher asked, "What's an aig?"

Ay aig, I replied? Of course, I said, it's somethin' chickens lay."

"No," he said. "That's a...excuse...me...an.....eeeeeeegggggg." He had kind of a superior look on his face that looked like something my daddy said a good slap along side one ear might correct, if only temporarily. Plus, him almost using the wrong indefinite article of "a" was kind of irritating him. It didn't much matter no way, cause he really wasn't saying "a" correctly anyway. "A" should be pronounced to rhyme with "hay." See? It makes the sentence work, kind of, and now we only need one indefinite article in ay sentence, which isn't ay impossibility. Keep life simple.

Needless to say, I lost that and every ensuing encounter with that speech teacher, who began to focus his life's work on me and my speech.

I was in South Carolina once, a place that still maintains some pride in its dialect and manner of speaking, and where common folks talk just like educated folks, no matter whether you're discussing the Daytona 500, or the latest price of boiled peanuts (Goobers, that is, which is what boiled peanuts are called by everyone down there. No geographical area that uses the word goobers for something they eat is ever all bad, no matter what.) Somehow the word "et" just naturally goes well with goobers, don't it.

Down there, "you all" is, with no doubt at all, one of the all-time great pronouns of the English language, as long as it's used properly. "Yawl" is pretty close to how it sounds to us Yankees, and will suffice somewhat in most retail establishments, at least until they discover you're a Yankee trying to disguise himself as a Southern, and then they're going to make fun of you, and point you out to other employees, and say stuff like: "You talk funny," or "You're not from around here, air you!"

"Yawl" of course, is singular; "Yawl come" infers that the speaker is inviting one and only one person to do something, or come somewhere. If the speaker is inviting everyone, he or she uses the plural form of "yawl," which is "allyawl." Allyawl. Beautiful.

I admit to having had some trouble with some of their words. Take the word "tire." It's pronounced down there as "tar." "Fire" is "far." Unfortunately, "fair" is also pronounced "far."

Say you're the local fire department, and you answer the phone. Ay voice says, "Hep (help)! Allyawl come ay-runnin'. My tar's on far."

My old speech instructor, rot his soul, would have said: "Tar? You say your bituminous asphalt is in flames?"

The voice would have said: "?????????" Then it would have said: "Whut? Whut the h-e-double-ell is bitu....whatever yawl just said? My tar's bernin'! I were at the far in my car when the tar catched ay-far!"

Pure poetry gone ay-beggin'. Makin' its last stand in the Deep South.

Ay-men.

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