Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Dictionary of the Delta

     I hope everyone understands that I write this post for the amusement of my friends, both in California who will see these as strange or different, like I did, and for my new friends here, who can feel free to laugh at the basic, common things I didn’t know or understand at first.  This is in no way meant to offend anyone, nor do I claim to be an expert (clearly) on the language or culture of the Delta.

As in: “I have some nabs in the car if I get hungry.”
     My theory is that this word is derived from “Nabisco” because nabs refers to sandwich crackers, like the Ritz-&-peanut-butter kind, or the cheese-and-cheese-crackers kind, etc.

As in: “I really have to tee-tee!”
This is the phrase used where some might say “pee”.


As in: “I had a boo-boo today.”
     My patient told me this, and I started trying to ask her what kind of accident she had had or mistake she’d make, but that’s not it.  It’s also not the children’s “owie” phrase, though I’m not sure if kids say that here too.  This is a phrase meaning bowel movement.

“Take me a bath”
As in: “I’m gonna take me a bath, and be back here at 4.”
      An easy one to figure out, this phrase means to bathe, though I’m fairly certain most people (including the person quoted) shower, rather than take a bath. Go figure.

“Route 44 Sweet Tea”
As in: “…then she found out how many calories are in a Route 44 Sweet Tea…”
      When I asked what this meant, I got two dropped jaws and silence.  Sonic, the drive-in restaurant, is very popular here, and fairly rare (though heavily advertised) where I used to live, so I didn’t know that this just means a 44-oz sweet tea from Sonic.

“Use it”
As in: “I want to use it before we go.”
I asked, “Use what?”.  This phrase just means to use the restroom.

“Ma’am?” / “Sir?”
     In addition to being used to get a person’s attention, this is used as a way of saying, “What?” or “Excuse me?” if you don’t hear someone, only it confused me in the first weeks I was here because it is often spoken as nearly a statement, not a question.

     Although I hear that this term is more common in other parts of the south, like Louisiana, some people in the Delta use it too.  This is what many people know as a snow cone (they’re quite popular here).

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