Talking, talking, happy talk: On regionalisms

April 14, 2008

“She must’ve been a real skookum nurse,” my father said last weekend while telling a tale of my uncle, a ditch, and a daring rescue. Needless to say, the story was great. But the word use: awesome.

I grew up in a town vivisected by a few rivers — one of them, the Skookumchuck. Nevertheless, it had never occurred to me to use “skookum” in conversation. According to the dictionary, “skookum” means “large, powerful, impressive,” and comes from my neck of the U.S. — the Pac Northwest. No wonder Pops knew it. That, and the phrasal equivalent of ragamuffin, i.e., “looks like he got drug through a knothole backwards.” Precious.

Naturally, thinking regionalisms got me thinking accents, which got me thinking internet quiz (do I have better things to do? Do I?). Here are my results:

What American accent do you have?

Your Result: The Midland

“You have a Midland accent” is just another way of saying “you don’t have an accent.” You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
Boston
North Central
The Inland North
The South
Philadelphia
The Northeast
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

How about you? What phrases did you learn from yer elders? What words are riddled with your nostalgia?

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3 Responses to “Talking, talking, happy talk: On regionalisms”

  1. Sarah said

    Still in the South (tho my family would say differently!)

  2. Richard said

    The quiz thinks I’m The Inland North, but that’s just silly. Just under The Inland North were The South and The Midland (in order), but I would say that I’m Midland with bits of South thrown in. Yes, I’m originally a Southern boy, but I lost most of that accent years ago. Though I’ll admit I spend a fair amount of time reckoning and figuring, when I’m not fixin’ to reckon or figure.

  3. Sarah: Not surprised!

    Richard: I’m a bit skeptical, too; I was born and raised here in Washington — where’s this “Midland” jazz coming from?

    Glad you both took the quiz.

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