Life Compass
Keeping You Pointed in the Right Direction

Displaced Yankee Needs Translator

Okay, so my family and I have been here about 8 months. Coming from upstate New York to the south has been an adjustment and, at times, a culture shock. Language and phrases have been an interesting challenge. I talk fast, I love sarcasm, and I can be pretty direct and to the point.
Well, the speech is a little less hurried here, sarcasm is not always understood, and people here love to visit. Answers are almost always preceded by stories.


Displaced Yankee “I need a set of brakes for my van. How much?” 

Counter Person “My Uncle Floyd Leon has that same make van and he just goes through brakes like water. Last month he ate up two sets of pads. Now, we’ll have a look and let ya’ll know how much that’ll cost.” 

Cashiers at the stores are friendly. Yankees are not used to that. I was shocked the first time I was called “Hun” by a checkout girl. Up north, eye contact is optional and friendly costs extra. Down here I am asked about my children, did I watch American Idol, and regular conversation on a dozen topics. This has been a shock to my system. 

Walmart greeter in the south, “Welcome to Walmart. Would you like a map to know the layout of our store?” 

Walmart greeter in the north, “Hurry up with that cart … we have other shoppers you know.” 

I am still adjusting to the new words and phrases I am learning. For example, up North when someone is getting ready to do something they either just do it or they say something like, “Gonna take the trash out.” Down here, “Well, I reckon I oughta” or “I’m a fixin to…” 

Pronunciation is still an adventure. Up North, a television is a TV which is a one syllable abbreviation. Down here, it’s a Tee Vee which is a two syllable word. This is true with many words. My oldest daughter, Hannah, just got her driver’s permit. Or should I say her per – mit. 

Misunderstandings and problems can come from not understanding what others around us are trying to communicate to us. This is true in male/female … husband/wife relationships. Ladies, men do not understand hints. We are clueless because we don’t think like you think. We need simple, concise, and direct statements. Men, your wife needs you talk to her. You need to listen.
It’s not easy. We, as men, can have entire phone conversations in nine seconds.


“Whacha doing?” 

“Watch’n the game.” 


“You watch’n the game?” 

“I’m fixin to” 



It’s her need for you to communicate. You need to submit to her need if you expect her to submit to your lead. That’s not easy if you’re a parked car (another topic for another day). 

As people get to know each other and all the idiosyncrasies … a wonderful thing begins to happen called communication. With communication comes understanding. With understanding comes growth, action, and results. 

What a great way to live! 

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