Friday, November 28, 2003


Scholars--God love 'em--are trying to figure out why Texans talk the way they do:
[It's] part of an ambitious National Geographic Society survey of Texas speech, with its "y'alls," "might-coulds" and "fixin' to's," are helping language investigators throw a scientific light on a mythologized and sometimes ridiculed mainstay of Americana: the Texas twang.

Among the unexpected findings, said Guy Bailey, a linguistics professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio and a leading scholar in the studies with his wife, Jan Tillery, is that in Texas more than elsewhere, how you talk says a lot about how you feel about your home state.

But doesn't everyone say 'fixin' to' and 'yall'? The unique thing about Texas speech seemed to me to be the inclusion of Spanish terms. Otherwise they generally talk like most normal people I know.

You have to appreciate Texans, though. My favorite was this:
Other idiosyncrasies have all but vanished over time. Texans for the most part no longer pray to the "Lard," replacing the "o" with an "a," or "warsh" their clothes. How the interloping "r" crept in remains an especially intriguing question, Dr. Bailey said. Trying to trace the peculiarity, he asked Texans to name the capital of the United States, often drawing the unhelpful answer "Austin."

Properly designed to drive a Yankee nuts.

This scholar's conclusion is that Texans talk fine. It's the Yankees that have the problem.

No comments: