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Talkin' Texan

Being a fifth generation Texan, I have often been told I talk funny. When I travel I sometimes feel intimidated by the comments on my accent from people who aren’t from Texas. Can you imagine being told by a cab driver from Brooklyn that you talk funny?

There are different dialects spoken by natives of the Lone Star State. Texans from the piney woods of East Texas have a twang that surpasses any Georgia cracker you will ever meet. I enjoy the accents in West Texas the best and love the way they say “bidness” (business).

Texas has been a melting pot of diverse cultures for 300 years, starting with the Canary Islanders to San Antonio, followed by land impresarios bringing settlers from Germany to the Texas Hill Country, Alsatians to Castroville, and Polish settlers to Panna Maria in South Texas. Each came with their native tongue, now five or six generations later. They all sound the same with a friendly Texas drawl and a tip of the hat. “How ya’ll doing?” I love that drawl and sure miss hearing it when I’m away from home.

Over the years I’ve found that words used in my family were not always understood outside the home. You should have seen the look my waitress gave me when I told her the glass of milk she brought was “blinky,” which to me meant it was about to spoil. Frequently older members referred to being “all stove up,” which was their way of describing joint or muscle pain. I have no idea where the word “stove up” or “blinky” came from. Are they unique to my family? Can anyone tell me?

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