How to Talk Like a Texan

Last week, I posted an article about learning to live the Texas life. However, one thing I neglected to cover is Texas’ unique version of the English language.  Speaking the Queen’s English will get you nothing but funny looks if you intend to take the plunge and try living the rodeo life. To talk like a Texan, you need to master two skills: accent and vocabulary.

To get the accent, trying watching reruns of Dallas. Practice the drawl. Many one-syllable words sound like two syllables in Texas.  Also, if there’s an “ing” suffix on the end of the word, drop the “g.”

Next, let’s take a look at some vocabulary you’ll need:

Aggie: Someone who attends Texas A & M University or roots for their sports teams. Aggies are the mortal enemies of Longhorns. “Aggie jokes” are jokes told to make fun of Aggies.

Armadillo: An odd mammal that looks like it’s wearing leather armor. When threatened, the armadillo will roll up into a ball to protect itself.

Bluebonnets: The state flower, bluebonnets grow in most of the state, but especially in the Hill Country near Austin. Taking pictures in the bluebonnets is a tradition for most Texas families.

Cattywhompus: Adjective used to describe something that is misaligned or out of place.

Chili: The official state dish, a combination of ground beef with onions, peppers and spices like cumin. True Texas chili is always made without beans and often without tomatoes.

Do What? This is Texan for “ I didn’t quite hear you, would you mind repeating yourself?”

I’m fixin to: I’m about to

Hoss: Horse

Kicker: A die-hard country music fan. Kickers dress like cowboys with cowboy boots, hats and enormous belt buckles. This term can also be used as an insult for a Texan from a rural area, sort of like “country bumpkin.”

Longhorns: “Longhorn” can refer to a breed of cattle with extremely long horns that originated in Texas, or to students/fans of the University of Texas in Austin.

Maverick: This word comes from Sam Maverick, a rancher who owned cattle on Galveston Island and often didn’t brand them.  It originally was used to refer to a cow without a brand, but now refers to people who like to do things differently and stand apart from the crowd.

Y’all: “You all,” used to address more than person, as in “y’all come back now.”

Yankee: Used (often with prejudice) to describe someone from “up north.”

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