Monday, September 8, 2008

Language Barriers

There has been a certain amount of confusion when we talk to people here in the green state of Tennessee.

First, we learned lunch is dinner or lunch, but supper is the meal you eat in the evening. Then there is the phrase "I don't care to cut your grass on Tuesday." It took us a while to catch on what our landscaper meant was "I don't mind cutting your grass on Tuesday."

Then there is the custom of referring to a woman, any woman, as Miss [Insert first name here]. I quickly became Miss Anne. Our next door neighbor is Miss Ruth. And the people here have a hard time with DH's first name? Maybe they only know the breeds of hunting dogs and not big mountain rescue dogs?

Iced Tea here is Sweet tea. And sweet is right. They like a little tea in their sugar here. Actually preparing Sweet tea is an art form. I'll fill up my cup with unsweet tea and just a little squirt of the supersweetened stuff. One of my sisters would love this tea. Reminds me of her coffee cup from bowling, but that is another blog.

Then there are some things we just have no idea what they are saying to us. This usually happens at Walmart. So we just nod our heads and tell them to have a nice day.

Then there are the Spanish speaking people. Sure it's nice to go to an authentic Mexican restaurant, but it is also nice to be able to understand what they are saying to you and vice versa. So we do lots of head nodding there, also.

I used to think that deer hunting season was a big thing in Michigan. You have no idea. Being a small town, the local newspaper daily prints photos of children with their first deer. I think children are allowed to hunt starting at age 10 here. And I think they have a special week just for them, or so it seems. I just find it hard to wrap my mind around the concept of a 10 year old girl/boy hefting a firearm.

A couple weeks ago, squirrel season opened. Gah! I had thoughts of neighbor children stalking the neighborhood squirrels. Do I need to put No trespassing! No Hunting! signs on my trees?

I realize that in large part this is farm country. After all we have stockyards here in the city across from the County Fair Grounds and opposite Walmart. I am just now really absorbing the cultural differences. And nodding my head!


  1. I always am greatly ammused when touring all the different accents and such I run across. My favorite is "tote" as in "I am gonna tote my youngin to the store"

    Gets me every time.