How to Talk Like a Texan
It may be true that Texans talk differently, but it's tough to pin down a true Texas accent -- a reality evident in virtually any Hollywood picture about the place. Most Texans don't speak with the Southern drawl of the deep South. It's more of a Western twang. And because Texas is such a big place, influenced by the language of adventurers heading west and newly arrived immigrants (Yankees from the north, Mexicans from south of the border), Texans have adopted a rich vocabulary and colorful manner of speaking.
It's not just how they say it, but what they say that makes Texans stand out. Their folksy language and homespun hyperbole seem to come effortlessly. Former CBS news anchor Dan Rather, a native of Wharton, Texas, was both ridiculed and celebrated for his colorful language; one election night he described a candidate who "tore through Dixie like a big wheel through a cotton field." Evocative phrases, such as "that dawg don't hunt," also spilled effortlessly from the sharp tongue of the late former Texas governor Ann Richards, who famously chided George Bush, Sr., for having been born "with a silver foot in his mouth." Another tried-and-true method of talkin' Texan is to sprinkle in Spanish words and Anglicize the Spanish names of towns and streets. Even non-Hispanic Texans liberally toss around phrases like "Hola," "Qué pasa?" and "Adiós, amigo" in their everyday patter. Keep an ear out for things like "Guada-loop" (for Guadalupe) and "Man-shack" (for Manchaca).
- All the fixin's -- Accompaniments -- beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, and the like -- to go with chicken-fried steak. The plate should groan under their weight.
- Awl -- Texas's largest industry. As in, awl 'n' gas.
- Big ol' -- Large; esteemed.
- Buffalo chip -- What cowboys kick around out in the fields -- cow dung.
- Coke -- Generic term for soft drink. Dr. Pepper, Pepsi, RC Cola -- they're all just "Coke" to Texans.
- Dadgummit and dadburnit -- Common expletives.
- Fixin' to -- A general state of preparedness or intent to carry out an act ("I'm fixin' to eat that chicken-fried steak of yours").
- Gimme cap -- Freebie baseball caps, with logos of awl 'n' gas and other companies on the bill; redneck uniform to be worn as an alternative to cowboy hat. The name is derived from the frequent request, "Gimme one them thar caps."
- Give a holler -- A plea to call, write, or e-mail.
- Good ol' boy -- A true Texan.
- Gussied up -- The look necessary for going out; dolled up 'n' pretty.
- Hook 'em -- The cry and hand signal (index finger and pinkie raised like horns) of University of Texas graduates everywhere -- as in, "Hook 'em, horns."
- Howdy, y'all -- The one-size-fits-all greeting -- singular, plural, who cares? Y'all is a contraction of "you all," but is actually just Texan for "you." Howdy is pronounced "high-dee."
- I reckon -- The act of thinking out loud.
- Kicker -- Cowboy who puts his pointy-toed boots to good use.
- Over yonder -- Where you'll likely be when you give a holler.
- Yankee -- A northerner; outsider; opponent of Texas statehood.
- Yes, ma'am -- The polite way to respond to any woman over 20.
- Yessir and nossir -- The polite way to respond to a Texan man.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.