Why We Talk FunnyMy niece posted this Buzzfeed link on Facebook: Ten Signs You Grew Up In The Northern Panhandle*
Number 1 on the list was: People often ask you why you don't have a thick Southern Drawl.
This is true. We do have an accent, but it lacks the drawl, or that slow, leisurely stretching out of our vowels. Usually, when we travel North or West, people know we sound different, but they can never put a finger on our geographic location, usually they just give up and guess Texas. We have the Southern lingo- we know all about not giving a rat's ass, ya'll. We just say it a lot quicker and we don't add the ya'll.
BUT, when we go South, they peg us real quick as...gasp...Yankees.
And by saying, "Go South", I mean just go a few hours by way a bird flies within the state and Ya'll will be greeted by a Daisy Duke sounding farmer's daughter.
So, why are we so weird?
I know the answer (or at least the answer according to historian, Ray Swick, of the Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park)! There was a colony at Marietta, Ohio made up of affluent, well-educated Yankees. These Northerners overflowed south, following the Ohio River into what was then the frontier. And the difference in dialect stops at Parkersburg, WV because the settlement at Marietta (which is across the Ohio River from Parkersburg) was considered the last stop for civilized society.
So, now you know. Yankees infiltrated the Northern Panhandle following the Ohio River to the frontier town of Marietta.
Now, follow me on a tangent.
Me, being amazingly efficient at becoming completely distracted, I started googling Southern Drawl to see where that came from.
Long story short- lots of theories.
So, no answer there- but I did find this gem:
Big Bette (AKA Wendy Tippens)
It's like she understands our Northern Panhandle dilemma-
Big Bette says if you don't talk Southern, you must be a Yankee. And she ain't prejudice against Yankees- so long as they stay above the Mason Dixon**
And she admits she doesn't want her kin marrying Yankees, cause the children suffer. They don't know where they belong. Give them a cup of tea and they don't know whether or not to ice it or stick it in the microwave.
Here in the Northern Panhandle, we are much like the confused offspring she worries about.
Give us tea and we'll drink it hot or cold. We swing both ways. I didn't realize that was so odd until I asked for a cup of hot tea in a South Carolina restaurant. The poor waitress was so confused, she had to have a pow wow with her manager. The end result? They microwaved me a cup of iced tea.
*Since most people are still confused about the whole West Virginia is no longer part of Virginia thing...I've decided a brief geography lesson on where to find the Panhandle may be in order.
|This is the state of West Virginia|
The top stick looking part of the state,
that looks a bit like the handle on a pan?
That's the Northern Panhandle.
|Here it is blown up-|
you know, made bigger?