Being born and raised in Florida, but finding our true home in the Smoky Mountains, our dialect isn’t extensive. And, the south tends to be stereotyped based on the way we speak. We assumed that the transition from the dirty south to the rural mountains would flow smoothly, but there is even differences within the Dixieland.
When you’re dealing with true Floridians, which are practically extinct now, there are two distinct dialects, north Florida and south Florida. North Florida has that pure southern twang, while the south is slightly muddled from the onslaught of tourists that bring their own accents. North Florida has a lot of y’all (you all), fixin’ (about), mater (tomato), whale (will) and our all time favorite, geddon ovacheea (get on over here/ come here).
Though moving to western North Carolina wasn’t a culture shock, we could see the differences. A beautiful mixture of a country drawl with a splash of pre-Civil War, mountain sway. You hear words like, you’ins (you all), over-yonder (over there), juzbout (just about) and our favorite, goda (go to).
As we began our writing team, four years ago, we realized that our dialect was going to be a problem, given two of our main characters weren’t southern. We began to notice that we were writing the way we spoke… doesn’t everybody… and came to the conclusion that we needed to shed our laid-back slang.
And, so we started our arduous journey on re-educating ourselves. It helped having a New Yorker in the house to buffer our southern terminologies, and the fact that we were constantly exposed to new slang. We called on fellow authors in our writing club to aid us in this venture, but most of the members had the same problem, citing the fact that there was just something homey and comforting about a southern drawl. There was a much heated debate, mostly about the origin of the word fixin’, a few tears were shed, lines were drawn and alliances were formed.
We have yet to resolve the, “Fixin’ Issue of 2012”, but Inion N. Mathair has come to grips with the fact that we are a couple of country girls with a lot of learning to do. Though we yearn to perfect our craft, there’s no reason why we can’t embrace our dialect and Southern tradition while telling a beautifully crafted story. Like anything in this life, we just need to know when to use it, and when to rein it in.
Y’all come back now, ya here.