Thursday, March 13, 2008

Speak Easy

Last night, my parents and I had a long discussion about regional phrases and words. It all started by talking about the chiffarobes in To Kill A Mockingbird. Of course, this led to a little teasing about our family's use of 'chester drawers' which we've discussed before here on the blog. I know there's an overwhelming amount of vocabularly here on the blog in the past two days. But, maybe, just maybe, you can sort these out if you're not quite clear on all of them. I know I wasn't last night.

colloquial - pertaining to words or expressions more suitable for speech than writing; in informal, conversational style.

euphemism - the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt (as passing away for dying.)

vernacular - using plain, everyday, ordinary language; the native speech or language of a place; the language or vocabulary peculiar to a class or profession.

cliche - a trite, stereotyped expression; a sentence or phrase, usually expressing a popular or common thought or idea, that has lost originality, ingenuity, and impact by long overuse.

proverbial - of, pertaining to, or characteristic of a proverb; having become an object of common mention or reference.

idiom - an expression whose meaning is not predictable from the usual meanings of its constituent elements (as kick the bucket or hang one's head) or from the general grammatical rules of a language (as the table round for the round table) and that is not a constituent of a larger expression of like characteristics; a language, dialect, or style of speaking peculiar to a people.

platitude - a flat, dull, or trite remark, especially one uttered as if it were fresh or profound.


Kelly Spezzano said...

I had to go back and read your previous post (about What did you just say?) I was cracking up! I do have to say that a lot of the pronunciations (if I read them correctly) are how I pronounce them (with the exception of 'Chester Drawers') :) One of the words my family gets teased about is the word crayon (we all pronounce it 'crowns' but apparently, it isn't the correct pronunciation... it's supposed to be cray-ons...
When I lived in TN I was working at a Hobby Lobby and while still trying to familiarize myself with the deep southern drawl, this customer asked me where the pillars were. So I took her to our home decor section and was telling her about the great sale on all home decorator pillows and she said "They are quite lovely, but I am looking for pillars- you know, like pedastals" (Boy, did I feel like an idiot!) LOL

Elizabeth said...

Oh, Kelly, that's hilarious!

My brother and I discussed this not too long ago, and he was telling me how he thought the weed-eater was called a "weed deeder" (something that obviously deeds the weeds).

It's kind of surprising that we can even communicate across our varying regions, and varying vernaculars (Is vernaculars a word?)

Jeremy Sarber said...

I took a quiz not long ago to determine where my accent was from. It was a good quiz and I was just trying to find it to share but I haven't yet. I'll keep looking. By the way, my accent was 73% southern while the majority of the remaining percentage was Midwestern.

Elizabeth said...

Interestingly enough, Jeremy, I went on an accent quiz hunt and got the same results: 73% southern and the rest midwestern or neutral

strem said...

Kelly, that cracks me up too. I know a few folks who say 'crowns'... and also some who say 'crens'. When I first read that the customer was looking for pillars, my mind jumped ahead to think, "Oh boy, Kelly is going to show them pedestals and what they'll really want is pillows." It was hilarious to realize it was the opposite that happened. So funny.

strem said...

Here are my results from the quiz I took: NEUTRAL

"You`re not Northern, Southern, or Western, you`re just plain -American. Your national identity is more important than your local identity, because you don`t really have a local identity. You might be from the region in the map below, which is defined by this kind of accent, but you could easily not be. Or maybe you just moved around a lot growing up."

(The map highlighted the follow portions of the following states: most of Missouri, lower 1/4 of Iowa, lower 3/4 of Illinois, most of Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and a tiny part of West Virginia.)

Can either of you tell me the address for quiz site you visited?

Elizabeth said...

I googled it. (for both quizes. One gave actualy percentages, the other gave results like yours -just like yours actually!)