Once in a while, I’m asked if I still have a copy of some column or other, but sometimes these are columns which appeared years ago.

If the column is too old to still be on the computer, I probably don’t have it, or the date it was in print. I don’t always remember the column myself, but last week I was asked about a column dealing with my Ozark vocabulary.

Well, I don’t have the column, but I most certainly still have the words in my head. So for what it’s worth, here’s a lot of what I “tock,” an why.

Now I had my upbringin’ in the south — south Lancaster, that is. But my Gramma Nettie was from the Missouri Ozarks, and my mother learned to “tock” from her and I learned to “tock” from Mom, so ...

For me, things don’t occur “pretty nearly.” Stuff “comes pert nigh” in my Ozark twang (yep, it’s a twang, not a drawl). When Gramma Nettie was less than impressed with someon’ts appearance, they were said to “look like somthin’ been smoked out of a log.”

I was told to never forget who I was and where I came from, and encouraged to be proud of that, but not too durn proud. I was warned “don’t get above yer raisin’.”

Viewing a somewhat sloppy-looking front yard, Mom noted that when her grandson, James, got a lawnmower in this hands, he was “like a mad dog in a meat house.”

There’s “chirrun” and “youngsers.” There’s many words that are intended to be one syllable, but are two syllables for me. F’rinstance:

Cow — kay-ow.

Owl — ow-wull.

Cat — kay-utt.

Mouse — may-ous, and so on.

Some words or phrases are simply changed in sound by Ozarkian. There are things I just caint do, so I might’s will not try. I love all uh yawl who read my column, but if ya don’t care for it, tain’t no skin offa my nose.

I got lotsa kin in this neckah the woords; It’s been kwat a whall since I saw yawl.

Mine eyes — salid dressin’; Lookee yander ... there’s somthin’ worth seein’ over there; Yes, there, not thar.

Some of my ancestors were borned, not born, and took it for granted you’d know that a chew meant a type of tobacco. But it was chew, never heard any of them say chaw.

There were limits to how rednecky our tock got. The music about which I’ve been passionate all my life, I still don’t call country. That music is still hillbilly, and on a back-roadin’ drive, so am I.

Yes, I say holler, not hollow, and if you and I don’t think the same about somethin’, you got another think comin’. That’s right, another think, not another thought. This phraseology once confused one of my favorite nephews; however: The phrase is not limited to the southern or near-south people. Lots of Americans say it.

Rat cheer, not right here; Over yander, also not right here.

There’s a lot more Ozarkian in my vocabulary, but let’s face it: I’m also inclined to put my own interpretation on more recent technology abbreviations. Sometimes I apply the tock to myself.

LOL — litle ol’ lady; BFF — big fat fanny; OMG — ol’ moth-eaten granny; UFO — unidentified frying object. And so it goes.

Then there’s language I just caint wrap my mind around. Like “reality TV.” I don’t know whose reality these shows depict, but thanks to the Powers That Be, it ain’t mine.

“Civil War.” I caint think what’s less civil.

“Veteran politician.” If more politicians were actually veterans, maybe they’d think twice (or more) before putting our current military boots on the ground. One non-veteran politician in particular. Ooops, sorry. This was supposed to be about the south in my mouth, not the wind in his own sails.

But if you think this ol’ redneck has changed her basic opinion of you-know-who, well, you know whatcha got comin’. Now the good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise, I’ll keep writin’ and I hope yawl keep readin’, hear?

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.