Too busy to blog


Yearstricken is a whiner. I love her and all that (I’m her beloved iPhone), but seriously, she is a whiner.

We talk a lot, so I know all about her schedule this semester: six different classes plus student event scheduling. In fact, I know it by heart because I’ve heard her say it a hundred times or more. Yes, two of her classes are in the evening, so she has some long days, but, people, I am on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week! You don’t hear me whining about it, do you? I have to hear her repeat the same things over and over, day after day, and do I complain? No, I do not. And do you want to know why? Because I am not a whiner.

She said this morning that she was tired and didn’t have time to write on her blog, so I thought I’d do it for her. Right now it’s 9:37 a.m., and we’re in the classroom. She’s at the board writing and I’m in her pocket. It’s a lower level English class and they’re working on pronunciation, one of her favorite subjects.

She’s had them practice saying “Good morning, y’all” and “howdy” for the last 10 minutes, so they’re pretty good at it now. On the board she just wrote three of the possessive adjectives: his, her, your. Next to those she wrote: “Bless _____ heart.” The students can say “Bless his heart” and “Bless her heart” without much problem. She’s careful to tell them not to pronounce the “h,” so in unison they repeat several times “Blesses heart” and “Blesser heart.” It’s taking a bit longer to get them to pronounce “your” correctly. She writes on the board “Bless yer heart” and underlines “yer.” Then she blabs on about how people in Wisconsin speak a dialect; it is not Standard English, which is the correct way to speak and which happens to be spoken in Texas, where she is from. It’s warm there most of the times, she says, as the students watch her mouth move. Then she whines about how people in Wisconsin say “You wanna come with?” and then leave you hanging because they don’t finish the question, so you don’t know if the person wants you to come with you or me or her or him or them, and if you don’t know who you are going with, how can you know if you want to go. This way of talking, she says, has something to do with the weather; it’s cold, too cold to even finish your sentences. Her students, of course, only hear and understand two words of what she said: Wisconsin and cold. They all nod and smile, some of them even repeat the word “cold” out loud, so she’s satisfied they understand. She loves her students for that.

She prides herself on teaching her students proper pronunciation, or as she calls it “talking purty.” When her students have classes with the other instructors, those teachers have to try to break the students of talking “purty.” Yearstricken feels like she’s doing a great job and even thinks the other instructors are complementing her by calling her “Miss Pronunciation.” I love her for that.

45 thoughts on “Too busy to blog

  1. I first heard “wanna come with?” in Pennsylvania. I kinda love it. That’s also where I first heard “that dress needs ironed,” which I also kinda love. Regional variations in language remind us that a living language can lead a very multifaceted life! Vive la différence!

    • My favorite from here is the “bubbler.” I never heard a drinking fountain called that until I married my husband.

      Sometimes I find myself ending questions of coming and going with “with” because I hear it so much.

  2. I talk Texas too, and I think all those Northerners sound funny. Often, I need to ask them to repeat themselves. It’s a lot like getting the techies from India to help fix my computer. It takes three times as long as needed because I have to keep asking them to repeat. Sorry you don’t have time to entertain us today.

    • Although I can revert back to Texan when I want to, I am never identified as being from the South. When I teach upper level pronunciation classes, I have the students learn the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet), which I think is valuable for learners of any language. Opera singers also learn it to master the sounds of non-native languages.

      As for blogging, last semester I had my easiest teaching schedule ever, but it was a one-off. Now it’s back to normal, which is busy.

  3. My iPhone lives here with me in Tasmania, Australia. It’s had quite a rest today as I am at home and haven’t had to ask it to do too much for me. It has just pointed out to me that despite being so very far away from Wisconsin, my sons all ask if I’m going to “go with?”. Must be a worldwide phenomenon. Although we have so few people living in Australia compared to the US, in fact compared to some states of the US, we have some very distinct dialects and in Tasmania even a valley away you find different accents and words in use. Our phones should probably get together more often to discuss the foibles of we humans.

    • How interesting that your sons also say “go with.” Due to the internet, it’s possible that young people will all eventually sound alike, listen to the same music, and wear the same kinds of clothes.

      My iPhone is a good listener and wakes up bright and early every morning. I’ve heard it runs in the family, so I suspect yours is the same.

      • In fact they have used “come with” since they were quite little and not connected to the internet by an umbilical cord. O aleays eondered why. There are other things of course that affect – their dad is frim Liverpool in the UK and try as I may i can’t stop them from dropping their aitches (H).

  4. Surely ‘come with’ implies ‘me’ as in ‘come with me’ because if it were anyone else, it would be ‘go with’? Or is that another difference between American and British English?

    • I hear people use both “come with” and “go with” using the pronoun “me.” For instance -“Please come with me.” or “I’m going to the movies. Do you want to go with me?” People here in Wisconsin omit the pronoun coming and going.

  5. Darlin’, I’ve been a tad shocked at how little I hear proper Standard English since moving to Texas, but perhaps since I live in a college town it may be expected, what with all the furriners attending here from outside Texas’ borders and all. How’s a gal s’posed to know where she’s at when there ain’t no *dialect* in the dialectical?

    • It’s a shame they don’t teach the kids to talk Texan in school. I like your “no dialect in the dialectical.” It made me think of a parent in parenthetical or a fan in fanatical, but then I got to analytical and stopped. It just seemed like a good place to end.

  6. Too funny! And so right about Wisconsin. My husband is from Janesville, don’tcha know, so we spend a lot of time there. Maybe someday when we’re up there you can come with to the Farm ‘n’ Fleet. 😀

  7. Bless yor little heart, Thet wuz a fun read. I din’t re’lize I wuz missin’ out ‘n so much whun I passed off an early English class (I shoulda tuk it). Effin I wuz in Texas I might reconsider and enroll in yor class.

    Hope yor iPhone doen’t get writers cramp frum reportin’ on all yor doin’s.
    This here dialect is one frum a small town in western Kaintuck
    (there’s so many differnt ones there)

    As Always, I enjoyed every word you wrote.

    • I haven’t had the privilege to spend much time in Kaituck, but I would like to, just to hear people talk like that.

      As far as teaching my students to talk Texan, it’s a losing battle. I teach my students and the other instructors unteach them. Sigh…

  8. Ah, the joys of regional dialect – my family is fond of the word “prolly” in place of probably and my uncle goes to the “crick” to fish instead of the creek. And now I’m fixin’ to go to bed….

  9. hello… oh, i’ve a niece in Texas. when she was new there (five years ago), she said what got her attention were first, things are bigger in Texas [especially the cars] and secondly,. most people say, “Where you at?” i think she’s staying there for good, so she must have gotten the hang of them big things and possessive pronouns tucked in safely… 🙂

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