Monday, July 14, 2008

PO-TAE-TOS……..or TATERS ??


In 1978 I moved to North Carolina from New York State with my husband and three children. Everything in my life changed with that move. I had to adjust to a completely different way of life and it took time and an opening of the mind. This was definitely a gentler, softer way of living and I’m ashamed to say that I missed the competition and the rush of life that we had left behind.

One of the areas of challenge was the language. I had a terrible time trying to understand what the native North Carolinians were saying. A simple name, such as Bill, became Bee-ull and “get up with” meant that I would “meet you at a specified time”.

Now it is 28 years later and I am happy to say that my immersion into the South is complete. I have found that people are people wherever I go and that some of the best of them are right here where I live. Simply put: I love it here.

No wonder that I got a big chuckle out of an NPR interview a few years back. The author, a Southerner, had written a book about the different dialects of the South. She related this story:

Seems that a young man left his small town in North Carolina to go North and make his fortune. He did well and came back a few years later driving a Lexus and flashing his bank-roll. He went back to the small family-run restaurant that he had frequented in the past and in a distinct and pompous tone he ordered “PO-TAE-TOS and TO-MAE-TOES”. He ate with relish and then asked for the bill. The owner was very annoyed with his pretensions and decided to charge him top dollar for his food. The young man took one look at the bill and shouted with rage, “This much for TATERs and MATERs?”

Proof of the old adage: “You can take the man out of the South but you can’t take the South out of the man.”

14 Comments:

Blogger KGMom said...

It is amazing that for all the people who speak "English" there are SO many variations in pronunciation!
And in attitude.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Beverly said...

Hi, Ginnie,
I saw your comment over at KGMom's about "Life Is Beautiful."
I believe I've seen your name at Kenju's also. Do you live in Raleigh? My daughter went to Mount Olive College. I've met Kenju a couple of times...a neat lady.

6:25 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I have read that you can divide the country by whether they say greasy or greezy (or something like that). I imagine you live in greezy territory.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

Yep, we are in the "greezy" category down here, AC, much to my chagrin.

1:41 PM  
Blogger Chancy said...

Here in Atlanta Georgia we are also in the greeZy group.

I love regional accents and trying to guess where someone is from by their accent.

4:59 PM  
Blogger molly said...

i LOVE living in the South (mississippi) - i can't imagine livig anywhere else. have a lovely evening ms ginnie!

6:24 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

Believe it or not, I, too, had trouble with accents when moving here to Raleigh. Once you get past them, though, you realize that we are all "brothers under the skin".

8:53 PM  
OpenID Big John said...

I've never had too much trouble understanding most US accents when I've travelled over there, but most Americans have problems with my Sarf Lundun speach. I lost count of how many times I heard the words "Beg pardon?". :-)

7:36 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

OMG - Ginnie that is so unbelivable!
One-that she does not read my blog often enough to have seen your picture.
Two-What a tiny world we live in!!!
Oh she is sooo wonderful, and yes it's not fast enough for her!
And my brother is soo wonderful too, although a "normie".
Isn't this amazing????

10:30 AM  
Blogger Syd said...

There are so many different dialects. The coastal part of NC, SC, and VA have a different dialect than the inland areas. Take a listen to some one from Harker's Island talk and you'll think that you're in England.

6:53 PM  
Blogger Bud said...

Ginnie, I've been here for 16 years and I just want you to know that " I still paaaark my caaar in the haaarvard yard.

2:31 AM  
Blogger Scott W said...

I love me some taters, but am not fond of the maters!

6:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How very true!
I've given you a blogging award today over at my blog, so go check it out and collect it.
The reason: Because of your wonderful writing and inspirational words that never fail to touch me in some way and of course, because you're such a nice person.
Terri
http://www.islandwriter.net

9:28 AM  
Blogger seventh sister said...

And do folks in your necothewoods say 'youins'?

1:04 PM  

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