When I, on the other hand, talk about rewtbeer (a popular kind of soda) in a bayug going out to the parking garage, there’s no way anyone would mistake me for a Minnesotan. And I was definitely never confused with a Louisiana native when teaching in the South. It was often hard to understand the accent and phrases of South Louisiana, and many people I met didn’t really know what to make of my speech patterns. “Excuse me,” a police officer once asked me as I sat at a diner with my dad, chatting away in our non-Boston Massachusetts-ese (i.e. normal pronunciation). “We’ve got a bet going here –are you in telemarketing?”
When I started teaching in Louisiana, what I knew as a backpack containing some crayons and a mechanical pencil became a booksack with colors and a pencil-pen. The air conditioning and lights could be “cut on” rather than “turned on” and a stapler morphed into a staple machine. Southerners are always “fixin’ to” go somewhere or do something, or sometimes even just “fi’in to.” At the grocery store, “fixin’ to put some cold drinks in the buggy” translated into non-Southern speak as being “about to put some soda in the shopping cart.” Those carbonated sugary drinks in cans sure do come in a wide variety of names!
What are the particularly funny (or supposedly “normal”) pronunciations or words where you live?