I’m fascinated by linguistics, especially the colloquialisms specific to a certain region. We all have them, and those little words can give an indication of where you grew up, or lived for many years.
Also when you grew up.
A friend is visiting from Minnesota. He’s never been to California so I’m showing him the sights. The other day I used the word ‘dude’ when relaying some meaningless important story to him.
Yes, maybe I’m a hopelessly outdated Californian, but that’s not the point.
He’s been here three weeks and I’m the first person who’s said ‘dude’ to him. WTF?
Ok, maybe that is the point.
Crap, I am hopelessly outdated. I had no idea I was that far behind the times.
Apparently they never say dude in Minnesota. They didn’t think we really did, either.
He was so surprised to hear the word ‘dude’ that he actually stopped me in the middle of my awesome story y’all to say, “You just said ‘dude’!”
Me: *blink blink* (In my head, “And your point is..?”)
Him: “When joking around with my friends before I left Minnesota, I told them I was going to hear people in California say things like, ‘Surf’s up, dude’! I didn’t think I would actually hear it!” *laughs*
Really, how do you answer that?
Do Californians come across as stoned surfers in Hollywood depictions??? Apparently we do.
Fuckin’ Hollywood strikes again.
Great. Just great. Yet another stereo-type I’m perpetuating. *sigh* You can take the pot out of the girl, but you can’t take the stoner out. Apparently.
And I just totally confirmed that label for us all. Sorry, California.
Like ‘dude’, we also say ‘hecka’ and ‘hella’. These nightmares of ebonics useful words are specific to northern California. There’s even a Facebook page to establish ‘Hella’ as the SI Prefix for 10^27. That’s 10 to the 27th power.
Used in a sentence: Duuude, that’s a hella lot of numbers.*takes a hit off a joint* *cough, cough*
I also say y’all.
I’ve never lived in the south. I don’t know why I say it. I just feel ‘southern’, ok? Like a demure southern belle. HA (If you know me, you’re rolling your eyes. If you don’t know what I mean, see this NSFW post to remove all doubt.)
A female blogger in Texas, Dru, recently posted about being called “Bro”. She didn’t care for it. At all. I can see how, since she’s a girl. In California, “Bro” was (as in past tense, ’cause it’s outdated) used as a friendly greeting from one guy to another, “Hey Bro, what’s up?”
But in Texas it has a very different meaning. To quote Dru, ‘…“Bro” is a mildly rude way of categorizing someone as a no-brain jock/failure at life.’
Holy Hell, I’d be pissed, too.
Most of you have probably seen the movie Fargo. Awesome movie, go get it if you haven’t seen it. Another friend, who happens to be from North Dakota, considers this movie to be slightly derogatory towards North Dakotans. This movie is full of local sayings. You betcha.
Minnesota is right next to North Dakota, doncha know. Ya, sure.
So, in doing many hours minutes of research for this post, you know, to BE INFORMATIVE for y’all, I found this gem of a colloquialism attributed to, I kid you not, English speakers: “cold enough to freeze the balls off (or on) a brass monkey”. Complete with this picture of a brass monkey. With brass balls, y’all! At an Australian Post Office! I just fell in love with all of Australia.
Gosh, we ‘English speakers’ are linguistic geniuses, aren’t we?!
I’m sure I’ve never made any reference to brass balls and such – er, uh, before now. Ok, well maybe a loooong time ago. Like when I wrote my About page a few months back. That’s a long time. No? Ok, then think about it in these terms: You haven’t “gotten any” in three months. See, now three months seems like a long time.
And NO, despite what you may have heard, I do not have a pair of brass balls on a key chain.
They’re from an old watch fob. I swear.
So now I’ve just confirmed what Minnesotans previously considered a fabricated Hollywood depiction of stoned surfer-dude Californians. My friend is going to go back home to tell his friends in Minnesota how true it all is. Then all of Minnesota, and then the world, will know we’re all stoned surfer ‘dudes’ out here in California.
We’re so screwed. (Is ‘screwed’ a local colloquialism, too?! Fuck. Oh GREAT. What about ‘fuck’? Where the fuck is fuck from?)
Dude, I give up.