It’s official, we are now residents of the pelican state complete with Louisiana driver’s licenses, license plates and a constant “glow” about us (a sticky layer brought on by the humidity).
This part of the country has a very distinct feel to it and we’re trying to learn the ins-and-outs of daily life here. Part of that involves decoding the language. I actually started making my own “Louisianan” to Standard American English translation dictionary to assist in this process. Here are some of the more useful items:
*wudn’t – wasn’t; as in, “You wudn’t there?”
*yous - you was/ weez - we was
*fixin’ to - getting ready to; as in, “Weez fixin’ to go shopping.”
*shek - shack; as in, “ya’ll need to park yo’ ca’ under the shek” which we heard from the clerk at the Wal-mart auto desk when having our battery checked
*cheeburger - cheeseburger. I kid you not, there is a “restaurant” here called “cheeburger, cheeburger.”
*set – sit
*mit - minute; as in, “ya’ll set down a mit”
*mu - my/ yu - you
*hep - help; as in, “We’z hea to hep yu” which David heard from the orientation lady at the hospital
*twirly whirly - fan; as in, “Ya’ll wanna keep it cool in the garage, yu gotta open your attic door and let the twirly whirlys do their thang.”
*dun fell out- I passed out; which can frequently be heard at the hospital
*buggy wuggy- shopping cart
There’s a story for this last one. On my first solo outing in Shreveport, I went to the Wal-Mart in search of an FM receiver. The man working in the electronics department was very nice and showed me where to find one. Upon seeing that they were out of stock he said, “Wouldn’t yu know it? Thems all out.” “That’s OK. I’ll check back next week,” I responded. As I was walking away, I heard him yell, “Wait a mit (see above for translation), ma’m. I got two of ‘em right here in mu (see above for translation) buggy wuggy (see above for translation).” I turned to see if he was talking to me and sure enough, he had a shopping cart that was being used to restock with two FM receivers inside. “Look like it’s yo’ lucky day!” he said. How right he was!
During that same trip to Wal-Mart as I was standing in line, the woman in front of me was getting frustrated that her kids kept running off. To get one of them to come back, she hollered, “Liza, you get back here right now fo' (see above for translation) somebody run off wichu ‘cuz they need an extra little girl.” A few seconds elapsed wherein Liza returned to the line at which time her mom continued, “Course, they’d bring you right back soons they realized how high maitnence you is!”
Despite the occasional language barrier, the people here are incredibly nice and it doesn’t take long to get to know all about someone. We were at the bank opening a checking account last week and the nice woman helping us told us all about her kids and how long she’s been in Shreveport and where all of her relatives live and where to go for good crawfish, etc. When we left, I said to David, “We never would’ve had a conversation like that at any of our previous banks.” “Yeah, but we would’ve been out of there 45 minutes ago, too!” I couldn’t argue with that.