I read this week that the Daily Sun’s newest staff member is having a problem with the English language. Apparently, he only speaks British English which is entirely a different animal than Texas English.
So, this week I’m going to deviate from my normal routine to try to help out a fellow writer. I want Oliver to fit in in the ‘Can. As a long time fan of James Bond, Austin Powers and Stuart Varney, I feel highly qualified to offer a few tips on the translation.
Oliver, if you need a role model for speaking Texan, I can offer you a couple of excellent choices. I can think of no better pattern than the new Texas Rangers’ owner, Nolan Ryan. Nolan is the quintessential Texan. I would strongly suggest listening to an audio version of a Nolan Ryan press conference while watching a video replay from 1994 of Nolan giving noogies to Robin Ventura. That would be the ultimate in a Texas accent while watching the ultimate in Texas justice.
My other choice would be Sam Elliott. Sam combines the ultimate in accent, voice and mustache. Any of Sam’s movies or commercial voiceovers would be perfect. Forget the pork chops. As Sam would say, “Beef, it’s what’s for dinner.”
In your column you mentioned football. I figure that over the year you’ve been here that you realize that when you say football, you mean real football and not soccer. You also mentioned “motorbikes.” That would be motorcycles here. Motorbikes refer to mopeds that have about 3 horsepower and sound like a mosquito. A motorcycle can be referred to as a hog, a chopper or simply as a Harley. Ask Carl White to fire his up. You will never mistake that sound for a moped.
Remember, a bonnet is something your grandmother wears in her garden. That piece of sheet metal that covers the engine of your car is a hood. If you have a flat, it refers to a tire that lacks sufficient air, not an apartment. If you have a flat and need to access your spare, you open the trunk, not the boot. A boot in Texas is usually covered with cow manure and extra long Wranglers.
When Europeans refer to an “Ugly American”, they’re not talking about Bob Belcher. They’re talking about people who live north of the Mason-Dixon Line. And, while we’re on that subject, let’s get it straight about Yankees. I know that yank is short for yankee and is used in the Empire to refer to Americans. I wouldn’t call a Texan a yank unless you want to find out what our type of boot is used for.
A potato chip may be crispy, but it’s not a crisp.
Beer is meant to be consumed cold; not at room temperature.
Here, a sentence containing both the words save and queen is referring to protecting Rue Paul.
A holiday is a day off designated by the federal government. Going someplace for an extended period of time is a vacation.
The plural form of y’all is all y’all.
In Texas, there is no such thing as a one syllable word.
Just because we don’t quote Shakespeare doesn’t mean that we don’t appreciate literary devices. We’re big into similes like, “It’s colder than a brass monkey,” or “It’s hotter than a three dollar pistol.”
You only call a cop bobby here if his given name is Robert (and remember, here he’s packing heat.)
Apples go into pies. Kidneys don’t.
Shag is not a verb. It is an adjective describing a type of carpet.
The sun DID set on the British Empire.
There’s more, but space is limited. You can always use the publisher as a resource. I know quite well that he’s well versed in government and disco. I would also highly recommend asking Janet Jacobs to set you up with her dad. The “Bear” is a master at speaking “Uhmurican.”
I hope this helps you settle into the good ol’ USA and Corsicana a little better. Cheerio (the salutation, not the cereal).
Ron Morgan is the Daily Sun’s Sunday columnist. He can be reached by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org