Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 146

Thread: U.S.A. Culture and Language Help

Hybrid View

  1. #1

    U.S.A. Culture and Language Help

    I am a Texan and use lots of Texasisms when I talk, and since most of my story takes place in Texas, I have used several in my writing.

    In your opinion, do you believe that using "Howdy" and "y'all" and "fixin-to"(one word, verb) and "jeet?"(did you eat?) and "Bubba"(I do know kids named that) and "supper" (dinner), are corny and overused by Texans? What about cowboy hats and boots? What about constant Mexican food and Whataburger(Best fast food ever)? Rodeos? Would they make my characters too stereotypical Texan, or more realistic?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Ron x Hermione
    Well, I think it kind of depends on what you're writing about exactly. Are you writing about the Trio and the canon characters? Because they most definitely wouldn't talk like that. But, if you're having characters from Texas going to Hogwarts or something (which they wouldn't go to Hogwarts because there would be a closer school than Britain in America) or some other Wizarding school, then I think that you could have a bit of humour as to them speaking that way, but other than that, I think you should have them speaking normally. But that's just Lindsey's opinion.

    Supper is a widely used word in America (I don't know about Britain), so I think that that would be fine. 'Ya'll' is typically used only in the south, which is where I'm from, but don't tend to overuse it.

    "jeet?"(did you eat?) - I've only seen this on a t-shirt, and I didn't get it until someone told it to me. I don't think this the best one to use. Bubba- I've heard of kids named that, but I don't know about it in fan fiction.

    Depending on how you've written it and what's going on, then I think that has to deal with your cliched'ness and stereotypicalness. I would recommend the Skelo_Gro forum to help you out.

    I'm just kind of curious as to how this ties into your story.

    You have to remember though, not all Texans talk like that.


  3. #3

    I agree with Ron x Hermione. It all depends on the context of how you use the Texanisms.

    You have to remember though, not all Texans talk like that.
    I myself being Texan do tend to say "y'all" and "all y'all" (plural of y'all) and "fixin-to" though I do not say "howdy" except to be funny and "dinner" is called just that. I've never owned a pair of cowboy boots, only been to a rodeo once, and don't know anyone named Bubba (with the exception that that's the nickname I used for my brothers growing up because "bubba" or "bubby" was short for "brother".) I don't live on a ranch or eat steak and eggs for breakfast. I do, however, love Mexican food and cornbread. I detest country music.

    I think the key is moderation. Too many Texanisms will be cliche and stereotyped, but a throwing in a few will be realistic. Good luck!


  4. #4
    red and gold
    Howdy y'all!

    I saw this thread and reckon I'd mosey on over.

    I'm a Texas girl, born and raised. I have one pair of cowboy boots, have been to several rodeos, Stock Shows, and State Fairs. I have an Uncle Bubba, I adore Mexican food and Whataburger and if you open our fridge, you'll see a LOT of Dr.Pepper. And, up until a month ago when it bit the dust, I drove a pick-up truck. (It had a Star Wars Rebel Alliance sticker on the back glass. I'm a total geek.)

    I did have a phase that lasted two years of listening to country music, but it made me too depressed. Too much lovin' and leavin'.

    As far as writing about Texas and using authentic Texan-isms, you can't go wrong using y'all and fixin'. "Reckon" is used a bit, but not much and "howdy" - as Ashley points out - is usually said to be funny. We use the words breakfast, lunch and dinner for the different meals. In my experience - but this may differ depending on what part of Texas you're from - only the older folks uses the word "supper" for the last meal of the day.

    Cowboy boots are okay, but they're usually only worn around here when going to rodeos, or state fairs or stock shows. Same with cowboy hats. Cowboy hats are more fashionable for women right now - but they're more like the one Julia Roberts wore during the baseball game scene in "The Runaway Bride". I hardly ever see a guy wearing a cowboy hat -they wear baseball caps mostly.

    Most everyone loves Mexican food around these parts, but I don't think it's cliche to mention barbeque, cole slaw, potato salad - all the typical Southern fair. I can't tell you how many lunch meetings I've gone to where they had barbeque catered in. And every Labor Day, Memorial Day, any holiday where family gets together seems to call for ribs or brisket and sweet tea.

    I personally don't live on a ranch, but several of my husband's relatives raise horses or Angus cattle on their land.

    I guess my only advice is to repeat what Ashley said - everything in moderation. Barbeque is good, but not for every meal. "Y'all" is said a lot, but not every other word. We don't all like country music and though many drive pick-em-up trucks, not everyone does. Otherwise, I think you're doin' alright, pardner!

  5. #5
    Not actually being from Texas, but being from the south I can relate to this a bit. The Texas-isms you've said there are great, but I can honestly say I have never seen 'did you eat?' spelled 'jeet?'. That's a little over the top to me...

    As Ron x Hermione said, I think it would be helpful to update us on how you are relating the south to your stories. It is a bit tough to think of Harry walking around in cowboy boots and a jean jacket, eating coleslaw and saying, "Howdy, y'all!".

  6. #6
    Please bear in mind that two of the largest cities in the country are Houston and Dallas, and most people do not talk that way in either of those cities, or in San Antonio or Austin.

    Austin has been called the San Francisco of the southwest and is noted for being almost aggressively liberal. It's also noted for the University of Texas.

    Southlake is renowned for its high school football.

    Irving and Valley Ranch for the Dallas Cowboys.

    Highland Park and Plano for the really snotty rich people, who would no sooner say "jeet" than eat a plate full of dung beetles.

    McAllen, Laredo, El Paso and Brownsville are noted for their proximity to Mexico and borders, with all that entails, including language and culture.

    San Antonio is noted for the Alamo and the Riverwalk.

    Corpus Christi, South Padre Island and Galveston are college Spring Break party towns.

    Bryan/College Station is noted for Texas A&M.

    Lubbock is noted for Texas Tech.

    Waco, among other things (*cough*) is noted for Baylor University.

    There are several major military bases in Texas, including (but not limited to) San Angelo, Killeen, San Antonio, Fort Worth, El Paso and Wichita Falls, and military bases and towns are a whole different animal.

    So it depends on *where*, exactly, in Texas you're talking about.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by cmwinters
    Bryan/College Station is noted for Texas A&M.
    I used to live in a hotel that was right across the street from Texas A&M. I even went into the campus nearly every day to use their computer lab... They never asked me to leave. I was about seven or eight so they had to know I wansn't attending any classes... Good times, good times Anyhoo, I've lived in every state in the Southern region, so I have a few knuts to throw in. I'm'a answer them there questions first though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rita Skeeter
    And no I do not have a "Texas drawl." That is also quite uncommon (though not unheard of).
    Ah, but you do. I guarantee it. I denied that I had a southern accent until a few years ago, when I, by surprise, heard my voice... And then it dawned on me. I sound so southern that Paula Dean would be proud. I don't think I've ever said "you all" instead of y'all... It's not so much that I try to say y'all, rather it just comes out.

    Quote Originally Posted by OliveOil_Med
    What subject would be taught in American schools that wouldn't be taught in British schools? Maybe classes in Native American shamanism or folk magic? Classes that focus on people's different hertitages?
    Oh no, no, no! Religion is not taught in any school in America, and if a teacher were to try and teach their students about any religion I daresay they would be fired without questioning. Well, some schools are that strict about that policy, maybe others aren't as much. Either way, religion has become such a controversy over here that "One nation, under God" has been taken out of the Pledge of Allegiance in most schools.

    Quote Originally Posted by OliveOil_Med
    What would the school structure be like? Would their be houses, or just dorms? What would the teacher be like? How old are students when they start school? Are they eleven, like in Britain, or do they wait until their older

    Only Private Schools in America have things like Dorms... I don't believe any of them have houses, but as I've never been to one, I don't know. There are four... Hmmm, well, I don't know what'd you'd call them.

    Preschool/Kindegarden: I started school when I was five, I think, in Preschool. Some parents don't feel that their children have to attend a preschool, and so some kids start in kindegarden.

    Elementry: First through fifth grade. When I was in Texas... No, Mississippi, I think, they had an Intermediate school for fourth through seventh grade, or something like that. But that's not common at all.

    Middle School: Sixth through eighth grade.

    Highschool: Seventh through twelth.

    It's not common for any of the above schools to be in the same building. Students who are in elementry go to a different building, sometimes miles away from Middle or Preschool or High, and etc. Although, some cities have begun to load all the students into one building, so that they can tear down the others... I don't know if I'm making any sense?

    The school board provides free transportation to and from school each day: School Busses. Yes, those horried yellow things that you see in movies, with dozens of loud, noisy kids yelling and screaming and pulling each other's hairs. *shudders* Yech... I hated those things.

    Also, it is mandatory for all children under the age of sixteen to attend school, Public or Private. Once you're sixteen, however, you can "drop out" (quit... dunno if that's an Americanism) and get your G.E.D. Which is a highschool diploma of sorts.

    Teachers are just like Professors... except with a lame name. They have to get their Teaching Lisence by going to college and studying and all that jazz. I think that's the same in Brittian?

    So, now let's go into a breif history of Arianna

    I was born in Arkansas, and raised in every other southern state since then. Right now I'm in Alabama, and have been here for a whopping three to four years... Tis unusual for my family, with my dad being in construction. Luckily though, he quit and changed careers, and now we can actually stay in one place for more than a year. But I'm rambling.

    About eight months ago I moved from a small town to a big city. In fact, Birmingham is the first city I've ever lived in. When I was in Texas, (not Commerce, where Texas A&M is) the ground was literally what you see in stereotypical wild wild west type movies - the ground was cracked, there were moths, misquitos, bugs everywhere, ranches every where you turned, cowboy hats gallore, and southern drawls everywhere your ears turned. But, again, I digress.

    Actually, considering there are no certain questions anyone wants to ask, I'm not so sure I can think of anything to ramble about. Ask me about the south, and I shall tell you. I have an annoyingly extensive knowledge of it.

    *tips cowboy hat*
    Y'all come back now yah heer!! YEEHAW!
    Oh dears.

  8. #8
    Yippee! A thread that I can be helpful in! Ahem... to the questions!

    Regarding Indian Territory, aka Oklahoma, where I am from!

    We have two major tribes (though I know there are more) based in Oklahoma, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and the Cherokee Nation. Muscogee is pronounced just like the city Muskogee, that being muh-skoe-geee. I mention this because I have heard it butchered many different ways. This tribe is based out of Okmulgee County, I believe, and actually encompasses about 7-8 other counties as well, though I can't remember them all to name. They are a very modern tribe that provides many benefits to its members, such as free health care, WIC programs(basically a government program that assists underprivileged pregnant mothers provide food for their growing babies in their tummy and up to a couple months after birth I believe), commodities(sp?) (this is food that is provided for those that are less fortunant within the tribe - the cheese makes excellent nachos!) and also schooling grants.

    The Cherokee Nation is based out of Tahlequah, Oklahoma which is also well known for Northeastern State University which was the very first college established in the state. This tribe provides much of the same assistance as the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

    Each tribe also has their own Police, the Creek Nation Light Horse and the Cherokee Marshal Service. They use these agencies to patrol the counties that encompass their territory and also back up local law enforcement when needed.

    In your opinion, do you believe that using "Howdy" and "y'all" and "fixin-to"(one word, verb) and "jeet?"(did you eat?) and "Bubba"(I do know kids named that) and "supper" (dinner), are corny and overused by Texans? What about cowboy hats and boots? What about constant Mexican food and Whataburger(Best fast food ever)? Rodeos? Would they make my characters too stereotypical Texan, or more realistic?
    *giggles uncontrollably* Well, being in Oklahoma I hear all of these words used quite often. "Howdy" isn't heard so much unless it's from someone older or a younger person trying to be sarcastically funny. 'Y'all' is used on a regular basis here, though the English teachers aren't to happy about it. The same with 'ain't' which you seem to have forgotten.

    Bubba and Sissy, well - truthfully that's what I call my brother and sister though it isn't their real names. Sissy is also what my husband calls his sister (though with a name like Willeen I think I would prefer it ) and she calls him Bubba... so that tends to get a little confusing. To take my hickish backwoods tendencies even further, I call my brother-in-law(my sister's husband) bubba-in-law... you've got to say it really fast and run the words together!

    Rodeos are over-rated, and that's coming from someone who went to them quite frequently when I was little, though the Prison Rodeo in McAlester is an awesome spectacle!

    Constant Mexican food isn't really something I'm aware of people doing around here, but then again I'm a little further North than Texas. A normal down-home breakfast might consist of biscuits and gravy, bacon, sausage, fried or scrambled eggs, and orange juice or milk... at least that's what my mom always cooked, on occasion we got flapjacks. Lunch would probably be something light, like a sandwich or a burger and supper consisted for such things as roast surrounded by potatoes and carrots, smothered steak, chicken and rice, country fried steak with mashed potatoes and gravy and a side of corn or green beans, and so many more that I can't even name right now because I'm making myself hungrier by the minute.

    I think that some of these mannerisms can be used to enhance a character that was raised in the area, however if you're wanting to convert Harry and Ron into calf roping, bronc busting buckaroos, you might think twice about it.

    Now all that being said, let me get down to OliveOil's questions.

    For one thing, the Native Americans didn't leave behind huge castles for us to use for magic schools. What could be used instead: a plantation, a ghost town, entire neighborhoods, their own Hawaiian island?

    I've thought on this one quite a bit, and we do have old forts that were used in colonial times, some are still standing around the country that would be a wonderful backdrop for a school. Also, what about a mansion like in X-Men that is hidden away in the Rocky's or the Catskills... that would be acceptable.

    What subject would be taught in American schools that wouldn't be taught in British schools? Maybe classes in Native American shamanism or folk magic? Classes that focus on people's different hertitages?

    I tend to think that shamanism, or Native American magic, was something that was very guarded in the past, and possibly still is today. Also the fact that most of these stories are passed down orally in the tribes own language could have made it difficult for the colonists to decipher what exactly it was.

    I think you also have to take into account that America is a melting pot of many other different nations, not only New York City but other areas as well. You would have magic that has been brought over from Africa via the slave trade as well as willing immigrants from various other countries.

    Over time I'm sure that most of these magics have mixed to form their own unique blend that, much like our accents, would vary from area to area. I doubt that you would be likely to find the same type of magical influences in New York City versus what you would find here in Oklahoma.

    What would the school structure be like? Would their be houses, or just dorms? What would the teacher be like? How old are students when they start school? Are they eleven, like in Britain, or do they wait until their older.

    I do know of some private schools that have dorms where students stay overnight, though I'm not sure if they are split into separate houses or not. You might reference CoTH by Snapes_secret, which is an awesome read by the way, which I think gives a very realistic view on what a magic school might be like here in the states - however brief that view is before... well, you'll just have to read the story won't you!

    Some larger cities have several different schools within the same school district. I'm going to use Tulsa for an example, just because I know more about that area than Oklahoma City. I know that the Union school district is split up into about four different schools. If I'm not mistaken, and it's completely possible that I am seeing as I didn't go there - my cousin did(that's why I know more about it than OKC), the Kindergarten through Fourth grade is Elementary, Fifth through Eighth is Junior High, Ninth and Tenth (also known as the Frosh and Sophmores) are Intermediate, and Eleventh and Twelfth (known as Juniors and Seniors) are the big bad High Schoolers. I know that each of these schools are spread out away from each other within the same area.

    Now in smaller cities, it's not split up so much. The school that I went to had Elementary as Pre-school/Kindergarten - Fifth grade, Middle School was Sixth through Eigth, and High School was Ninth through Twelfth. Also the buildings are all in the same complex, though spread out from each other. For example the Elementary school is down the hill from the Middle School and High School which sit together atop the hill. Those two buildings are actually connected by a corridor and also by the Library.

    As far as subjects go, I remember studying Oklahoma History, American History, World History, Social Studies, Geography, Biology, Speech, Typing, English I - IV, and various math classes.

    And that was my two Galleons!


  9. #9
    It really, really depends on where in America you live. I live in Ohio, so my experiences are completely different than everyone else's, it seems.

    Living where I do, the largest religion is Catholicism, and I've gone to religiously-affiliated schools my entire life. Even my preschool was Lutheran! But since then it's been straight Catholic schools.

    I've never heard of a school having dorms. Ever, except in books. Again, my school is private, and other schools in my area are private, but the only thing that's different about our schools is that we have higher test scores! (I'm totally not insulting public schools, by the way. My school district just happens to be utter crap.) Actually, the entire school system is different than the one laid out two posts behind me.

    Preschool: Usually for two years, when the child is 3 and 4. Only a couple days a week.
    Kindergarten: Every day a week, but usually only a half-day. Kindergarten is really becoming like a normal grade; children have to pass.
    Grade school: In the Catholic/private schools around, it's from 1st-8th grade, but public schools have a junior high from 7th-8th grade.
    High school: 9th-12th. The years are called Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior (in case Brits don't know that).

    And I'm pretty sure school is compulsory here until you're 18 and a legal adult. But from a school like mine, almost everyone goes to college.

    Most Americans on these forums seem to be from the south or west, so I just want to put in my two cents' worth.

    We say pop, NEVER soda. One of my friends says soda for some weird reason, and I argue with her about it.

    To a mid-westerner with a very mild accent, most southern accents are very strange. We never say the word 'y'all', and I barely even know what a rodeo is. Things seem very different in the south, and it isn't just the slang. But as for slang, girls in my school say the word 'like' about every three words, we love the words 'totally', 'seriously', and screaming 'oh my God!' at all possible moments. I'm not saying all girls are like this, obviously, since I'm not, but it's really rare to go an entire sentence without the word 'like'. Except, it isn't used the the valley girl type of way. It's kind of hard to describe, but it's used more like just saying 'um'. Yeah, definitely.

    I'm woefully unaware of of what it's like in other states, since I've only been to four of them, and all bordered Ohio. But I've read other posts, and I can honestly say that they sound pretty much like foreign countries. It's imperative that you pick the right setting. Not all of America is like the south, with the drawl or something. (Don't get me wrong--I would love to go to the south!) There are other places, ones that don't have Indian reservations or rodeos or something like that.

    As far as Indians go, we learn to respect the, but I know of some place close to me that built a large mall on top of a huge Indian battle ground. Some people protested, but most people were just glad to have another mall.


  10. #10
    Fourth Year Ravenclaw
    McGonagall Likes My Quidditch Skills

    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Glaring at my computer
    [And I'm pretty sure school is compulsory here until you're 18 and a legal adult. But from a school like mine, almost everyone goes to college.
    I'm not sure about Ohio, but in Arizona, school is required until you are sixteen; but where I go, almost everyone goes to college.

    Also, something that you should probably know is that what is taught in schools differs depending on the state, and in some cases even the school district. For instance, in California, the "normal" math for ninth graders is Geometry, and in Arizona, the "normal" math for ninth graders is Algebra 1-2. We get people in my school district who are taking Geometry as a seventh grader and walking over from the middle school. Religion would definetly not be accepted in my school, but that's because of the community; we are a community of not very fervent believers. So religion in schools typically depends on the community.

    We say soda down here, Alison; I've never heard anyone call it pop.

    In Arizona, one of the major tribes are the Navaho Indians; I'm not sure about any others. Indian territory is very respected in Arizona, we don't try to develope it or anything.

    For one thing, the Native Americans didn't leave behind huge castles for us to use for magic schools. What could be used instead: a plantation, a ghost town, entire neighborhoods, their own Hawaiian island?

    Native Americans did leave ruins behind though, and I'm sure that with some modification, they could be made into a school. There is also a private island in Hawaii called Ni'ihau, or the Forbidden Isle. It's owned by the Robinson family. Kahoolawe is also uninhabited because of the lack of fresh water. Either of these could work for your school.

    There are also several smaller islands beyond Ni'ihau; They are called the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, or the Hawaiian Leeward Islands. All of those are uninhabited.

    Hope this helps
    IB + Senior Year = Hiatus...again
    Kate...iPoem!...iWrite!...iBanner!...Dumbledore's Navy!
    Avvie and banner by me! Please request!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts