Thursday, May 17, 2007
IT'S JUST MY WEST TEXAS TWANG
Mama Roar gave us this nifty little quiz a few days ago. I share it here again just in case you didn't see it. AND I thought of a little story about my West Texas twang. So--If you haven't already, why don't you take the little quiz and meet me back here.when you finish.
OK, now you know how you speak--like you didn't already know. But it is kind of fun to see it on the map--Right! My map showed me just what I already knew--From the south!
Yep that's me. I was born, and mainly raised, in West Texas--with some time spent in North Central Texas. Some people don't consider Texas the true south. It's considered Southwest. But in the large scheme of things, it is in the south. As a young adult I moved to Tennessee--which is definitely the SOUTH!.
So, naturally my speech is Southern--but how far south? When I speak I hear a little Tennessee and a lot of Texas. I once met a man who told me just by listening to my speech exactly where I was from.
Several years ago I was attending graduate school at a university in Middle Tennessee. I had been in class and with a study group all of one Saturday morning. About six or seven of us had gone to a little diner/coffee shop near the campus for lunch. We sat talking for awhile after we had eaten and were preparing to return to campus for the afternoon class session. I stopped at the pay phone (this was in the days before cell phones) to touch base with my husband about our late afternoon/evening schedule. Our conversation was about our children, soccer games, and movies.
When I got off the phone a man sitting nearby on a stool at the counter asked me if he could ask me something. Well, I'm not in the habit of speaking to strange men, but he looked safe and I was with a group, so I stopped. He said he had been listening to me and he wanted to know if I was from Lubbock, or Amarillo, Texas. I was somewhat surprised, because there was nothing in my conversation on the phone, or at the table, that had anything to do with where I was from. So I asked why he would think I was from one of those small cities. He explained that he was a linguistics professor and liked to try to match people to their town of origin by listening to their speech. He said that his best guess for me was Lubbock, but there was a hint of something else and he thought I might have lived in Amarillo.
I was born thirty miles from Lubbock and had lived in Lubbock more than anywhere else for most of my growing up years--including going back there to college! I explained my West Texas background and added that I had lived some other places in Texas (DFW and between Wichita Falls and Amarillo) and had been in Tennessee for about 17 years. He said those years could account for the little difference he was hearing!
He went on to nail, within at least fifty miles, the hometowns of two others in the group. One of them had lived in or near Baton Rouge, LA all of her life. I figured that was a no brainer for someone with that skill! The other was a little more difficult--a small town in Illinois.
That's just a little random story about speech, geography, graduate school in the eighties, and a man who either had a real talent for language or too much free time!