There are a lot of folks movin’ to Texas these days. Seeing as how a lot of them are coming from exotic places like New York and California, there’s undoubtedly a fair amount of confusion on their part when it comes to pickin’ up the Texas vernacular. As a favor to of y’all that fall in that category, I’ve put together this easy to follow quick-start guide to speakin’ Texan.
1. The G at the end of most words is optional
When it comes to pronunciation and spellin’ of verbs that end in “ing”, the letter n and the apostrophe are your best friends. Where you come from, the “ee-ng” sound is what you probably expect to hear at the end of words like “going”, “flying”, and “eating”. In Texas, “in” is all you’ll be hearin’.
And don’t try to say that Texans are sloppy or lazy. This is not about laziness. It’s all about bein’ efficient while speakin’. Don’t work harder. Work smarter.
“We’re goin’ fishin’ and are fixin’ to drive to the bait shop. Are you wantin’ to come along?”
“No sir officer, I sure wasn’t speedin’. You must be seein’ things.”
Notice in the above examples, the verbs are what we drop the last G from, but in the case of the word “things” it stays. As with most language rules, this one is made to be broken occasionally. Kinda like I before E, except in the case of Budweiser.
2. Never say “you guys” or “all of you”
This one is incredibly important, and although it’s used in other regions of the south, we take a lot of pride in it’s usage right here in Texas. It’s our way of sayin’ “you guys” or “all of you”.
It’s not one-size-fits-yall though. When you’re talkin’ to one person, you still should use the word “you”. When addressin’ two folks, go ahead and fire up that good deep y’all. For three or more folks though, add in an “all” to your y’all, for a nice round “all y’all” and you’ll be grammatically correct.
“Hey Bill, are you gonna go to the rodeo this week?”
“Hey Bill and Bubba, are y’all gonna go to the rodeo this week?”
“Hey Bill, Bubba, and Denise, are all y’all gonna go to the rodeo this week?”
3. Contractions are your friend
The word y’all is a contraction of the words you and all. Did you know that the Texan language allows for you to tack together three words? Talk about efficiency! My favorites are y’all’ll and y’all’ve, which are future and past tenses of the word y’all. Couldn’t’ve, wouldn’t’ve, and shouldn’t’ve are also good ones to sprinkle in as you try to assimilate to our culture.
“If you don’t stop eating all that queso, y’all’ll gain a bunch of weight.”
“I’m glad we stopped at Buc-ee’s for a bathroom break. I wouldn’t’ve been able to hold it till we got to grandma’s.”
4. You’re not Texan till you use this one
Ain’t is amazing for several reasons. For one, it just sounds better than “am not” or “have not”. It’s also super versatile. It’s the perfect word to tell someone that they “ain’t gonna tell you how to go about your business”. It’s also great to describe that moron coworker who just “ain’t all there in the head”. All in all, there just ain’t many words that get the attention or give emphasis like this one.
Take it from me. You ain’t Texan if you ain’t usin’ ain’t in your daily conversations with folks.
“You tell your sister that if she ain’t gonna chew with her mouth closed, she ain’t eatin’ at my table anymore.”
“He ain’t got two marbles rollin’ around in that noggin of his, ain’t he?”
5. All sodas are “cokes” but not all “cokes” are Dr Pepper
If you’d like to order what you people call a “pop”, do yourself a favor and avoid referring to it as that. In Texas, they’re called Cokes. Even if you’re trying to order a Sprite, first tell the person getting it for you that you’d like a Coke. They’ll then respond with “what kind?”. At this point you can clarify with the flavor.
Dr Pepper having been born in Texas, before Coca Cola mind you, is in a class all it’s own. It’s socially acceptable for you to skip the Coke formalities and just say you want a Dr Pepper.
You: “Can I please have a coke?”
Server: “Sure, what kind?”
You: “I’ll take a Sprite.”