What she said

By kateandcarla

April 21, 2011

Category: Uncategorized

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Image via Wikipedia

So, it all started in Africa. Language, that is.  Or at least that’s the current thinking among anthropologists and linguists:  (http://hotword.dictionary.com/origin/ 

From that beginning have sprung more than 6800 distinct languages. And along with the scientific piece comes the cultural. I was fascinated by the Tower of Babel (remember flannel-graph presentations?) as a kid in Sunday School, then surprised to learn in a World Religions course that there are parallel stories among Hindu, Polynesian, Aztec…the list goes on.

Even among those of us who speak the same language, there are regional differences that make life interesting and conversation fun. Just this week, I interviewed a physician, currently practicing in Tennessee, who soon will be coming home to Colorado.  I asked him what he has gained during his Southern tour of duty besides expertise as a vascular surgeon. One of the items he mentioned was learning another language–Southern.  “I’ll need to watch myself,” he laughed, “because here the phrase physicians use for pressing or palpating the abdominal area is ‘mashing the belly.'”  I shared that the pediatric nurse in Mississippi had advised Dmitri and Kate that as long as Lily was “tee-teeing” three or so times a day, they needn’t worry about dehydration. When I mentioned my physician conversation to Kate, her response focused on the enormous comfort Southern-speak had brought her as Lily made her not-so-easy arrival. Said she hopes all her babies come into the world below the Mason-Dixon line.

If that’s the case, I’ll have my vocabulary ready and waiting. My Georgia friend Rebecca has given me “carry” (instead of drive or take, “hissy fit” (in lieu of tantrum and “come up a bad cloud” (storm). West Virginian Susan added “jeet” (did you eat?) and  Cindi, whose place of birth straddles the Louisiana/Texas border, gave me “tump” (to turn over and dump out).

I’d love to hear more, from wherever you hail or now call home.

–Carla

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