I'll start out by saying this: I live in Texas. Texas is not Southern. Yes, there may be cowboys. There are lots of cattle shows and rodeos. There may be the occasional restaurant that serves sweet tea here in Waco (though not in San Antonio where we once lived). But I just don't think the majority of Texas is Southern. I think there are parts...particularly in East Texas, I think...though I don't really know from experience.
I'm proud to say that I am Southern. I grew up in Alabama and have the accent. Though sometimes my accent drifts away from its slow drawl, it quickly returns with a quick phone call to my sweet momma. :o) How easy it is to slip back into the comfort of multi-syllabic words...even if they're not supposed to be. :o)
My little girl, on the other hand, is not quite a Southern girl. Sure, she's a Texas girl...but not a Southern girl. Here's how I decided: We were driving home today and there was a man cutting the grass in his front yard. She said, "Look, Mommy! Do you see that man? He's mowing the lawn." Oh. My. Word. She totally got that from her daddy because this momma would never say that! Ha!
I made a status update (about the above mentioned comment) on my Facebook page that sparked a few replies and got me to thinking. I know, scary, huh?! :o) Here's my question (and if you have any thoughts about it, please comment! You can always comment anonymously if you don't have a Google account!):
What states do you consider "The South"...what states do you consider "Southern"?
Let me just tell you how I figure whether or not a state is worthy to be called "Southern"...yes, worthy! First and foremost, if it is a true Southern state, I should be able to go into practically any restaurant and order sweet tea. Or maybe just order tea and then immediately be asked "sweet or unsweet". And I don't mean driving through your local Sonic or Chick-fil-A--they're going to have it regardless. Sidenote: One summer I was in Chicago and went to CFA...I got to order sweet tea! It was the first sweet tea I had had all summer b/c we were in Illinois all summer! Definitely not a Southern state! :o) So that's my first prerequisite for being a Southern state.
Secondly, the following phrases should be said and widely understood (I'll translate--um, write what my husband...definitely not Southern would say--them for all of y'all who aren't Southern--heehee). I should also give a disclaimer...I grew up in a tee-tiny town in Alabama, so it's quite possible that these phrases are only said in my small hometown. Still...I consider them Southern phrases. :o)
1. Let me make your picture. (Let me take a picture of you.)
2. It's coming a storm! (It's about to storm.)
3. Are all y'all coming to the party? (Are all of you coming to the party?)
4. Here, carry this box to the car. (Take this box to the car.)
5. She is a mess! (She's a stinker and a handful, but tremendously loved.)
6. I really need to cut the grass. (I need to mow the lawn.)
7. He egged him on. (He urged him to continue doing that.)
8. I'm fit to be tied! (I'm really angry!)
9. I'm fixin' to go to the store. (I'm about to go to the store.)
10. That milk is no count. (That milk is no good.)
11. He lives over yonder. (He lives down the street.)
I'm certain there are a million others I just can't think of right now! :o)
Lastly, a true Southern accent has a lovely drawl to it...nice and slow. Two syllable words become four syllables. It's a lovely, harmonious sound. I love it.
So, here are the states I consider to be Southern:
Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, South Carolina, and North Carolina (though I'm not sure if it's all of North Carolina or not)...and perhaps Virginia, I'm undecided on that one.
What states do you consider to be Southern? :o)