My grandma used to say, “Damn it all!”
And then she’d say, “A little cussing always helps.”
When she answered the phone she would place a few syllables in front of hello:
…sort of like how the North Dakotans talk.
“For crying out loud!”
“That’s the cat’s pajamas!”
“Well, I’ll be!”
She could not pronounce Vietnamese. It always came out Vietnanese instead.
My cousin, his girlfriend and her daughters from a previous marriage rented a house across the street from grandma. She would look out her kitchen window and see the three girls and say, “LOOK AT THOSE SHEBITCHES!”
When my cousin first told Grandma his girlfriend was pregnant, he asked her, “What should I do?” She told him, “Run like hell.”
Did she ever utter “that kid must be on dope”?
Did she have a tendency to loudly whisper inappropriate annotations after stating a name? Cheryl? (she’s a lesbian, you know) Bob? (his dad was a horrible alcoholic)
My grandma didn’t do that. She wasn’t a loudmouth, but when she had something to say, it came out. If someone was acting up, she’d say, “You could use a swift kick in the britches.” or “Do you want me to get the paddle?”
Now, that sounds like my mom.
One did not have Brat Cred until you had your name scrawled on her paddle.
Her favorite threat was to pull out a pair of scissors out of the drawer and threaten any tongue-sticker-outers with separation from said tongue. She committed to it too – didn’t matter the circumstances (formal dinner, wake, etc), the kids knew that if they peeked around the corner and went 'retta, that she would jump up, open a drawer to retrieve non-existent scissors, and make the motions to chase them down to claim her trophy as the target ran away with screams of glee.
Despite the fact that she literally could not load a gun without putting the bullet in backwards, she had some convinced that she would shoot them dead.
Love that. My grandma had a wooden paddle that lived on top of the fridge. It had EVERYONE’S name on it. All family members, and names were written on names. One side said, “Never spank a child on the face: Nature provides a better place.” With a cartoon of a kid with butt out, getting ready for a whack.
my grandma would say “arse,” which as an American I thought was her random, kid friendly word to censor “ass,” until I started listening to the Pogues. her parents were English, so not too surprising. Oh, but she would say the expression “ass-over-teakettle” to describe a head-over-heels, wipe-out type of fall, and never “arse-over-teakettle” so I don’t know what was going on, there.
my mother, the librarian, was the type that would correct my speech. When I was high school aged she directed me to clean the car with the product Armor All. despite having no problems pronouncing the words “armor” and “all” separately, she said “Amor All.” I was like “uhh… Armor All?”–she didn’t even know her way was wrong, she thought I was making it up. pointed out the R on the bottle. She had parsed the word on the bottle wrong her whole life, I guess, despite the illustration of the man in armor. but she couldn’t undo it at that point, the neurons were no longer plastic. probably still says it.
I’ve mentioned before a guy a generation older than me from East Tennessee that would deadpan the expression “I haven’t had this much fun since the hogs ate my brother.”
another cool one people from there say is when a road has a little sharp curve in it and then straightens out back to the original direction of travel, that’s a “dog-leg.” It’s a really useful expression when giving directions and I wish everyone used it.
oh, and another Appalachian one is kind of an in-joke with a friend. the phonetic string pronounced “jeet” is a contracted form of the phrase “did you eat?”: 'd y' eat . The D and Y run together to make a sound like “Django.” This will baffle Yankees. as an adult, when my friend was confronted with explaining this to her friend, it was the first time she ever had to consider how local it was. now she and that friend use “jeet!?” as their phone greeting when they call each other, and now I do, too.
How to Speak 'Scansin
These things tend to be skewed to the South, i.e. Milwaukee, but most are familiar sounding to those of us up nort der eh.
“Could youse borrow me a couple two-tree bucks?”