Do you speak Hoosier?


By Don Hill

I remember my Mom saying, “I’ll swan.” Now I think this was used when she learned something that surprised her.

“Well, I swan, I never knew about that!” It’s probably a phrase that wouldn’t be used this far north. You see, we were southern Indiana folk. Southwest that is. Hoosier dialect is quite different from south to north.

There are words and phrases that get lost in time. I doubt if many of you use the word “fetch” anymore unless you are talking to your dog.

Or do you have a “hankering” for something? And when was the last time you used “for Pete’s sakes.” (Never figured out who Pete was). I reckon you haven’t said, “What the tarnation are you doing? Or “I’ve got to skeedaddle.” Well, I’m sure you can come up with your own from Grandpa or Grandma.

And of course, the way we talk isn’t the way it is meant to sound. Many drop the “G” on a lot of words such as goin’ to town, doin’ something, I’m puttin’ on my hat or I’m gettin’ there late. And sometimes we add an “A” to others such as, “I’m gonna, do something, or I gotta go home, I gotta buncha this and a lotta that.”

How about combining and then adding the “cha” in place of “you,” don’tcha think or whatcha doin’.” How about using the “U” such as “I wus shur fur away from yur house.” And of course, “Whur waz ya”?

I’m sure none of you would talk like that. Now let’s see how you do with this: “Santa will come down the “chimley.” Or how about pronouncing “bologna.”

How about terms that have been lost; Gully washer; Toad strangler; As scarce as hen’s teeth; Dead ringer; Easy as falling off a log; Gottcha ears lowered; Bet your boots; Keep your trap shut; Keep your eyes peeled; Knee high to a grasshopper; Like two peas in a pod. See how many you can come up with.

Now some words are just plain accepted because they get used a lot. For instance, the word “ain’t.” It’s probably used elsewhere other than Indiana. Some folks tack an “H” on the front of it.

Well, I know you are saying, “We don’t talk like that.” It’s funny when we say we speak English. We have friends in Florida who are from England. We have a hard time understanding them. And our friends from Boston, Ha!

Now I’m not making fun of how people talk. It’s good that we don’t all sound alike. We can often identify people by their voice. When we answer the phone don’t we usually know who it is by the sound of their voice?

Even the police can identify voices with the right equipment. A blind person has developed a sense of voice recognition. Isn’t it wonderful that we are all different.

So I guess we just “Speak our piece” an hope to have a conversation with folks we know.

No posts to display