My sissie moved to NC after living in Florida for more than 40 years. If you do the Math, you can quickly figure out that we moved there when she was five. Thus, she missed the whole "North Carolinian" childhood and, sadly, learning to translate Southernisms. After a year of her trying to figure out what folks were really saying, I sat her down and taught her the Five Most Useful Southern Phrases and When To Use Them.
Bear in mind that these phrases must be said in the sweetest voice possible! The five most Useful Southern Phrases are:
5.) Well, I never!
Usage: When listening to a story that seems a little too preposterous!
Translation: I can't believe you are telling the truth and if you are then you are a bigger fool than I realized.
4.) As I live and breathe.
Usage: When overwhelmed by a storyteller's version of a story that you know the rest of the story.
Translation: Can you believe how stupid this person is? How did s/he ever find his shoes, much less get them on the correct feet?
3.) Ain't she purdy (pretty)?
Usage: When discussing someone's daughter, neice, sister, girlfiend or wife and their looks.
Translation: Good thing she can cook; her looks won't help her!
2.) Ain't "it" sweet?
Usage: When admiring a baby and the gender is uncertain and the appearance isn't at all adorable. Let's face it; some babies are just not cute.
Translation: What a plain child! I do hope s/he will be a good cook!
1.) Well, bless their heart!
Usage: When commenting on someone's sister, aunt, uncle, brother, mother, father, or cousin who is really out to lunch.
Translation: This is a tricky one. It can either mean: they are really stupid or they can't help being really stupid.
I just love being Southern....