The Grammar Belle

Spiffing y'all up, one typo at a time

Today’s Post: More “Belle,” Less “Grammar”

Hey, y’all!

Hope you had a lovely Easter/Passover/spring weekend. We spent ours in Hope, Arkansas. That’s where my mama was born and raised. It also happens to be the home of the world’s largest watermelon and the birthplace of one William Jefferson Clinton. But, for my girls and me, it’s simply where we get to visit with aunts and uncles and cousins and other kinfolk, play dominoes and card games (Spoons is a particular favorite), and eat homemade goodies until we’re stuffed. We had the prerequisite large-family-gathering fish fry, complete with outdoor propane cooker. In case you’ve never seen one of those:

Actor portrayal of my Cousin Joe and my Uncle J.D. cooking fish. (Photo courtesy of

Actor portrayal of my cousin Joe cooking fish. (Photo courtesy of

I hear some of y’all out there think Southern accents are all alike. I’m here to tell you they really aren’t. You’ve probably heard the distinctive drawl of Georgia (pronounce “online” as “own-line” and you’ll see what I mean) and the Texas twang (so magnificently displayed by Matthew McConaughey). Did you know that my name, when said by a native Arkansan, often sounds like “Brain-dy”? Nahth Caruhlahnuh = “North Carolina” for anyone not from there. And then there’s that Louisiana sound. That mix of French Canada and the Deep South is unlike anything else in the world.

Best Texas Twang Ever (Sigh.) (Photo courtesy of

Best Texas Twang Ever (Sigh.) (Photo courtesy of

Yes, I’m making generalizations. But if you listen closely to my Southern brethren, you can hear the differences. Just as a Chicagoan doesn’t sound like a New Yorker who doesn’t sound like a Bostonian, all drawls and twangs are not created equal.

My girls and I have slight Texas accents—my Yankee and Canadian friends would disagree with the “slight” part. We’re city folk, and that usually gives you a different sound from folks from the sticks. This weekend in Hope, one of my cousin’s daughters’ boyfriends said to my younger daughter, “You sound like you’re from up north someplace.” To which my (very bright) 10-year-old responded, “Dude, we live farther south than you do.”

It’s all a matter perspective, isn’t it?


Can't you just hear him saying your name in that distinctive drawl of his? (Photo courtesy of

Can’t you just hear him saying your name in that distinctive drawl of his? (Photo courtesy of

One more for good measure. It's my blog and I can post all the gratuitous pictures of MM that I want. This may be my favorite thing about blogging. (Photo courtesy of

One more for good measure. It’s my blog and I can post all the gratuitous pictures of MM that I want. This may be my favorite thing about blogging. (Photo courtesy of

19 comments on “Today’s Post: More “Belle,” Less “Grammar”

  1. mdlinnenburger
    April 2, 2013

    This transplanted Texan used her outdoor propane cooker to brew beer this past weekend. 🙂

  2. outlawmama
    April 2, 2013

    Now I’m all hot and bothered thinking about Texas accents and Matt Mc. He’s dirty and naughty, but if he called me on the phone, I would do anything he said. Any. Thing.

    • The Grammar Belle
      April 2, 2013

      Make ya wanna move back to Texas? Even one tiny bit? Thanks for reading my fluff today, BTW, after your amazing and deep post. It’s magnificent. I have it tabbed while I figure out all the folks with whom I’d like to share it.

  3. fransiweinstein
    April 2, 2013

    So true. It IS a matter of perspective. I remember going to an American summer camp. One of my bunk mates was from the Bronx. She told me I had an accent. All I could think was, “Are you kidding me?????” Well, to her, I did. Just like she did, to me. Although I still maintain, she would to anyone, no matter where you might live. Me? Well, maybe not. Not so much, anyway. It’s all a matter of perspective.

    • The Grammar Belle
      April 2, 2013

      That reminds me of when I was in the publishing biz. I went to spend a week with a client in Parsippany, NJ. All week long they went on and on about my accent. And all I could think was, “MY accent? Have you listened to yourselves?” Thanks for that memory jogger!

      • fransiweinstein
        April 2, 2013


  4. Karen Evans Tate
    April 2, 2013

    In St. Albans, WV (where I grew up), we put diphthongs where they don’t belong and leave them out when a word has one. For example: PIE is pronounced without the diphthong but “HELL” is “hey-ull”. Also, if an “i” has a consonant after it, then we pronounce the diphthong, but it an “i” is followed by a vowel then we leave the diphthong out. Example: PIE is pronounced “paah” (sort of), but NIGHT is “nah-eet”. It’s a definite “twang” (which Ms. Belle knows since she’s heard me talk). We also say “you all” instead of “y’all”.

  5. winsomebulldog
    April 2, 2013

    I was born and raised in the Mid-South, but never had as much of an accent as some of my family and friends. Still, when I moved north – for the love of a Yankee – everyone made a big deal about my accent. After being here for a while, my friends back home started teasing me because they said I was starting to sound like a Yankee. Now, a bit over 20 years later, my husband still likes to laugh at the way I say some things. “Why,” is a word that pretty much always gets him going. I’m not even going to try to write out a phonetic spelling of how I pronounce it. LOL I do notice that the moment I get around anyone with a thick Southern accent, mine immediately begins to thicken and become more pronounced as well. Get me on the phone with my sister, and I suddenly sound like an extra from the cast of “Gone With the Wind.” 😀

    • The Grammar Belle
      April 2, 2013

      My girls and I have spent the last couple of days trying to shake off our Arkansas!

  6. ourmom
    April 2, 2013

    You probably won’t be surprised, I have one of those fish cookers. I love and share that “It’s my blog” attitude. Loved to read a little more “Belle” and less “Grammar”. I could share some accent stories but I think you guys covered it very well.

    • The Grammar Belle
      April 3, 2013

      I’d be shocked if you DIDN’T have one of those fish cookers! Thanks for reading, Dave!

  7. Larissa
    April 3, 2013

    Alright, alright, alright.

  8. Peggy Gram
    June 5, 2013

    No doubt you’ve seen this, but just in case you missed it take a look: Peggy

    • The Grammar Belle
      June 5, 2013

      I haven’t, Peggy. I’ll go check it out! Thanks for stopping by . . . and good luck bowling Friday! Don’t let Dale embarrass herself (us) too much. 😉

  9. Pingback: WSWH: A Fish Tale | The Grammar Belle

  10. Pingback: An Alien Concept? | The Grammar Belle

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This entry was posted on April 2, 2013 by in Southernisms and tagged , , , , .

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