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EzzyAlpha
05-25-2012, 07:20 PM
What are some widely used, Texan (Houston area) phrases or words?

Specifically, words that wouldn't look out of place coming out of a twenty-something's mouth.

Cyia
05-25-2012, 07:25 PM
Words for what? I mean there are the usuals, like "I'm fixin' to go" or "Fiixin' to do" rather than "I'm getting ready to" but you need a bit of context for something like this.

EzzyAlpha
05-25-2012, 07:39 PM
For general speech.

Chandy
05-25-2012, 07:43 PM
I can help you with this, as I'm from Texas with lots of friends in Houston, but we need a more specific example than just "general speech."

EzzyAlpha
05-25-2012, 07:47 PM
Er...

Just things you would say on a day to day basis?

Amusing figures of speech that stand out from the usual american fare?

Williebee
05-25-2012, 07:54 PM
Once that rain starts? That road's gonna be slicker'n greased owl shit.

Hot enough for ya?

You're not from here, are you?

That boy's all hat and no cattle.


Note: You also need to give us a time frame to work with. What is common now may not have been in 1860, forex.

EzzyAlpha
05-25-2012, 07:58 PM
Thanks. Just a regular modern day setting.

Ari Meermans
05-25-2012, 08:13 PM
Something that doesn't appeal--"Doesn't trip my trigger."

I learned that one when I lived in Houston. :)

WriteKnight
05-25-2012, 08:31 PM
Fixing to - in place of 'about to', or 'preparing to'. "I'm fixing to leave on vacation."

Put it up - In place of 'put something away' "Make sure you put it up, when you're done."


Y'all - It's a conjunction of the plural 'you'. It's NEVER used in a singular form. "Are y'all going to the movies?" - when speaking to a group.

"Open up a can of whupass..." (woopass) - Going to assault someone. "I'm fixing to open up a can of whupass on that boy."

Basically all carbonated beverages are 'cokes' - regardless of brand or flavor. "Get me a burger and a coke." - "What kind?"

Understand that Houston is the FOURTH LARGEST city in America. It is now recognized as the most diverse city in America. It's not really a 'southern hick' town. I grew up there, and my accent was not recognized as 'southern' by folks in say... Mississippi or even Lousianna. Certainly not in Georgia or Alabama.

So you have all sorts of 'teen' groups. Latino, Asian, Black... each with their own lingo and slang. Plenty of subcultures within a specific group as well. It has a very large LGBT culture, that is very active politically and socially. The current Mayor is gay. More information about your character would help with putting words in their mouth.

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Houston-region-is-now-the-most-diverse-in-the-U-S-3384174.php

kaitie
05-25-2012, 09:11 PM
Totally with the coke and the y'all. Can't stop saying that even if I try. Is "put it up" really not something said elsewhere?

We always called people who wore cowboy boots and wranglers "kickers." I'm pretty sure that was a regional thing.

There are a ton of these, but I can't think of most of them off the top of my head. I got picked on a lot when I went to Iowa for the way I talked.

Soccer Mom
05-25-2012, 09:11 PM
The people I know from Houston sound more like they are from the north east. No, really. They don't have a typical texas accent. The accent and colloquialism vary from region to region in Texas.

Houston is very urban and diverse. If you're looking for something with a more folksy feel, you might consider another location in the state.

Soccer Mom
05-25-2012, 09:16 PM
Texan-speak links: Some jokes and funny phrases: http://board.jokeroo.com/funny-jokes/90882-texas-phrases-their-meanings.html

From the experts at texas monthly: http://www.texasmonthly.com/1000-01-01/webextra35.php

More common sayings:
http://mardi.hubpages.com/hub/Texas-Sayings-And-Words-Visitors-Should-Know

From cool slang: http://www.coolslang.com/in/texan/index.php

That ought to get you started.

EzzyAlpha
05-25-2012, 09:17 PM
Okay, so it's a twenty three year old female, white, grew up in a trailer park just outside Houston. Her mother and aunt (who she was raised by) are from a rural area.

kaitie
05-25-2012, 09:53 PM
Where do you live now, Soccer Mom? I live in the Midwest, and you wouldn't know I was from Texas by my accent unless you heard me talking to my family (it really comes out then). I actually think Texas has a very distinct accent. It's not particularly heavy compared to some southern areas, and it's not that stereotypical, but I notice it every time I visit home.

heza
05-25-2012, 09:59 PM
Hmmm... I'm in Houston right now. And it's true that Houston is pretty diverse, lots of people following business in, so we've had a greater influx of non-regional dialects and accents and customs in recent years.

It's difficult to just yank out "Texanisms" that I think would be helpful. I don't really think of what I say, day to day, as being a great deal different than what other people say. Any of the common things you think about Texans saying would likely be pretty stereotypical and would risk sounding unnatural in your MS (you know, if the wording isn't researched for a specific scene, but rather a scene constructed to accomodate the Texanism).

I guess I could just ramble for a few pages.... Or I could keep my ears open today and see if anything strikes me as notable.

Beachgirl
05-25-2012, 10:24 PM
Basically all carbonated beverages are 'cokes' - regardless of brand or flavor. "Get me a burger and a coke." - "What kind?"



Unless it's a Dr. Pepper, of course.

Ever been to the original Dr. Pepper plant in Dublin? Mmmm. Cold right off the bottling line. I heard they were closing it down. Sad.

I'm a Native Texan from Dallas, but transplanted to Florida. Once a Texas always a Texan, though.

ironmikezero
05-25-2012, 10:38 PM
If you ever hear a Texas woman preface a comment with the phrase "bless her heart..." stand by for a thinly veiled slam.

Ever seen the TV show "GCB"? It offers ample contemporary examples and sends my wife into fits of howling laughter.

Brett Marie
05-25-2012, 11:25 PM
I was helping a Texan friend move a piece of furniture once, and he told me to move it to the right 'just a c***hair.' That one had me in stitches for hours.

(Sorry for the ***, but part of what makes Texan lingo, or any regional dialect, is the way the people swear.)

WriteKnight
05-25-2012, 11:53 PM
When I went into broadcasting, the thing I had to work on was putting the 'g' back on my 'endins'. Seriously, that was pretty much all I had to do, to bring my 'accent' up to Standard American Broadcast - which supposedly has 'no' accent.

But as others have pointed out - Texas is a BIG state. Big as France. Lots of 'regional' accents. There is definitely an 'east texas twang' for folks brought up in the 'piney woods'. But it's not that distinct in Houston. And Dallas has colloquialisms that are peculiar to a more 'Conservative' setting than Houston or say, Austin.

I think if you use a few of the common points we've brought up - 'fixin to', 'y'all' , 'put it up' , and make a point of dropping the 'g's occasionally in her speech - you'll get a feel for it. "I'm fixin to go to work." "Are y'all bringin the food with you?" "I was talkin to my friend, and he said he ain't goin." The 'g's simply aren't on the endings.

I completely agree with sounding more Texan when I speak with my family. I was living in upstate New York, rooming with guys from across the US. Answered the phone and talked with my father for half an hour. When I hung up, they were all staring at me funny. "What?" I asked. They burst out laughing, "Youse sounds like you waz inna movie or sumpin! Youze sounds so funny!"

My mom was a HUGE fan of the 'bless your heart' rule. You can say ANYTHING bad about someone, as long as you preface it with "Bless your/her heart" - "My sister, bless her heart, hasn't got a lick of sense, and can't keep her legs together." "My son, bless his heart, is a sandwich shy of a picnic."

I don't know if you can watch "The Big Bang Theory" - but the actor and character of Sheldon Cooper - is from Texas. The actor is a native Houstonian. He's constantly dropping his 'g's when he talks fast. That's a typical Houston accent, if you listen to him.
And yes... Dr. Pepper rules.

Soccer Mom
05-25-2012, 11:54 PM
Where do you live now, Soccer Mom? I live in the Midwest, and you wouldn't know I was from Texas by my accent unless you heard me talking to my family (it really comes out then). I actually think Texas has a very distinct accent. It's not particularly heavy compared to some southern areas, and it's not that stereotypical, but I notice it every time I visit home.

I'm still in Texas. I'm on the edge of Hill Country, just south of the Metroplex. I went to law school in west texas and the accent there is quite different and distinctive. My husband grew up in Highland Park and has virtually no Texas accent whatsoever.

ETA: Dr. Pepper indeed rules.

ladyleeona
05-26-2012, 12:27 AM
Okay, so it's a twenty three year old female, white, grew up in a trailer park just outside Houston. Her mother and aunt (who she was raised by) are from a rural area.

There's really no telling what kind of accent she'd have compared to other Houstonians. Like people have mentioned, it's a huge, very diverse place.

People tell me I don't have an accent, especially when they hear I'm a Texan (I'm not sure exactly what they're expecting?). One of my neighbors is..ehmm...country as a turnip green. Her accent is really strong and really different from mine. Her parents are from west Texas, and I think that's a huge influencer. After all, you learn to speak from your parentals. So if your MC's parents have accents, she would too. But please don't feed the 'they're from the trailer park so they must talk with huge accents and sound uneducated' monster.

FWIW, my parents are down from down in the Valley, so that may be why people think my accent is non-Texan. Most people I've met from down there sound similar to me. (The RG Valley is a very diverse place, though likely not as much so as Houston.)


Unless it's a Dr. Pepper, of course.

Ever been to the original Dr. Pepper plant in Dublin? Mmmm. Cold right off the bottling line. I heard they were closing it down. Sad.

I'm a Native Texan from Dallas, but transplanted to Florida. Once a Texas always a Texan, though.

Dublin Dr. Pepper almost has an underground market now. If you've got a cache of it somewhere, you could get rich :). I checked prices on ebay the other day and was appalled LOL.

The coke (soda!) machines at my university always stocked Dublin DP, and when the news came Snapple was shutting them down it was like a mad dash to stock up. The things were emptied in like three hours, all across campus.


I'm still in Texas. I'm on the edge of Hill Country, just south of the Metroplex. I went to law school in west texas and the accent there is quite different and distinctive. My husband grew up in Highland Park and has virtually no Texas accent whatsoever.

ETA: Dr. Pepper indeed rules.

Dr. Pepper does rule. As does the edge of the Hill Country, just south of the metroplex :)

jennontheisland
05-26-2012, 12:48 AM
Is "put it up" really not something said elsewhere?

Texas is the only place I've ever heard it.



I was helping a Texan friend move a piece of furniture once, and he told me to move it to the right 'just a c***hair.' That one had me in stitches for hours.

(Sorry for the ***, but part of what makes Texan lingo, or any regional dialect, is the way the people swear.)
That's not Texan. I'm Canadian and I've heard that many times. Brown ones are bigger than blonde ones.

blackrose602
05-28-2012, 06:13 PM
Texas is the only place I've ever heard it.

We say "put it up" in my family--primarily from Florida and Georgia.

I spent a few months in Texas last summer, and I was surprised how non-accented the speech generally was. I lived for a long time in New Orleans and have traveled extensively through the Deep South, and I'm used to very strong Southern accents. By comparison, Texas accents are almost nonexistent, IMHO.

Perplexed
05-29-2012, 07:46 AM
I'm originally North Carolinian and currently in Houston, but from what I can tell most Houstonians do not have a "Texas twang." You have to go a lot more rural for that. Urban Texas = often no accent. My neighbors in NC are more twangy than Houston is.

Most of the phrases listed are really used across most of the south and are not Texas specific [put up, yall, bless her heart, whoopass (this one is IMO not purely southern), etc.].

Texas food might be more helpful in establishing Texan/southern identity than an accent. That's just my inexpert opinon (just don't believe everything Paula Deen says about food).

Speaking of "country as a turnip green" in NC it's "fell of the back of a turnip truck."

debirlfan
05-29-2012, 07:54 AM
I'm from Connecticut - we either "put it up" or "put it away" - so apparently that's not just TX.

The one that confused me when I was in the Dallas area visiting was when I bought something and the clerk asked me if I wanted a "sack" - took me a minute to figure out what she meant.

Two things I've found to be highly regional is what you call the sandwich that you buy at Subway, and what constitutes a "regular" coffee.

jennontheisland
05-29-2012, 09:19 AM
Urban Texas = often no accent.
Dude, I so call bullshit on that.

I can't understand half the people I meet in Dallas when I'm there.

There is an accent. It is Texan.

Perplexed
05-29-2012, 04:02 PM
Well I haven't heard it here in Houston, or when I was in Austin. I guess Dallas is the exception.

jennontheisland
05-30-2012, 12:53 AM
Well I haven't heard it here in Houston, or when I was in Austin. I guess Dallas is the exception.
I suspect your familiarity with it is more likely the reason. To claim that there is no accent in a city is like me saying I don't have a Canadian accent because I'm not from the Maritimes.

The accent is there. You just don't hear it when you're used to it or using it.

Cyia
05-30-2012, 02:41 AM
Everyone has an accent, no matter where they're from.

kaitie
05-30-2012, 02:52 AM
I suspect your familiarity with it is more likely the reason. To claim that there is no accent in a city is like me saying I don't have a Canadian accent because I'm not from the Maritimes.

The accent is there. You just don't hear it when you're used to it or using it.

This. I don't notice it when I'm in Texas. But if I'm away for awhile and go back? It stands out a lot. I also didn't ever think I had a Texas accent until I was in the Midwest (or Japan) and people would comment about my accent when I talked to my family.

It's not ridiculously strong and it's not as stereotypical as what you might hear hicks saying on TV, but there is an accent.

Perplexed
05-30-2012, 03:26 AM
edited: see below and just listen to WriteKnight, my original post was rather grumpy for some strange reason.

Beachgirl
05-30-2012, 03:31 AM
I suspect your familiarity with it is more likely the reason. To claim that there is no accent in a city is like me saying I don't have a Canadian accent because I'm not from the Maritimes.

The accent is there. You just don't hear it when you're used to it or using it.


This. I am a Native Texan from Dallas (and, yes, Native is capitalized in front of Texan :D), but I moved to northeast Florida 3 years ago. I never noticed my accent when I lived in Texas because, well, we all had one. However, I could distinguish as to wether someone lived in the city or in the back-woods of east Texas. Much more "countrified". Now that I'm in Florida, people comment on my Texas accent all the time.

WriteKnight
05-30-2012, 03:32 AM
Accent is different from slang and expressions, colloquialisms. As a writer, unless you're Robert Burns... writing in accent is difficult, and annoying to read. I think what the OP was looking for was regions specific phrases. Most of the ones listed, are generally 'southern'. There are of course, CITY specific phrases. But those change over time. Areas of the city might have slang names. "SoHo" for instance, is South Houston, the CITY of South Houston ... distinct from the City of Houston proper. While I now live in the "Bay Area" that is San Francisco/San Jose/ Oakland... IN Houston, the "Bay Area" includes the cities around Galveston Bay, including Galveston.

When giving directions, one often says "Inside the loop," "Outside the loop" "Inside the beltway, Outside the beltway" You rarely refer to the freeways by their numbers, more often they are called names. "North Freeway" instead of 45 North. "Gulf Freeway" instead of 45 South. "Southwest freeway" instead of 59 south. "EastTex" freeway... and so on. Areas of town are known for the landmarks. "The Medical Center" "The Galleria" "The Ship Channel" "Downtown" "Uptown" "MidTown" and when it was the Domed Stadium, "The Dome Complex" or even "Astroworld" - but that's gone now, and "RELIANT CENTER" is the area.

As I said, aside from a few southern expressions, and perhaps droppin the 'g's from a few words... you can't 'write' a Houston accent.

Dave Hardy
05-31-2012, 01:16 AM
But as others have pointed out - Texas is a BIG state. Big as France.

I've had occasion to mention that to French friends.

Honestly, the Texans I've known talk pretty much like other Southerners. My friends from Houston don't sound appreciably different from my friends in Austin. As others have said, people might have any sort of accent in a big city like Houston. I've even conversed with Canadians.

Even though you might distinguish the sound of a Memphis accent from a Texan one, I'd have a hard time writing so as to distinguish them. You hear people who sound like Hank Hill in Austin, and maybe they sound different from Elvis Presley. But capturing the timber of the voice is different from repeating the words.

WriteKnight has some pretty good points about the terms used to describe the city. If you think, most cities have their own jargon for locales, directions, neighborhoods, etc, since that's what sets them apart.

kaitie
05-31-2012, 01:33 AM
Accent is different from slang and expressions, colloquialisms. As a writer, unless you're Robert Burns... writing in accent is difficult, and annoying to read. I think what the OP was looking for was regions specific phrases. Most of the ones listed, are generally 'southern'. There are of course, CITY specific phrases. But those change over time. Areas of the city might have slang names. "SoHo" for instance, is South Houston, the CITY of South Houston ... distinct from the City of Houston proper. While I now live in the "Bay Area" that is San Francisco/San Jose/ Oakland... IN Houston, the "Bay Area" includes the cities around Galveston Bay, including Galveston.

When giving directions, one often says "Inside the loop," "Outside the loop" "Inside the beltway, Outside the beltway" You rarely refer to the freeways by their numbers, more often they are called names. "North Freeway" instead of 45 North. "Gulf Freeway" instead of 45 South. "Southwest freeway" instead of 59 south. "EastTex" freeway... and so on. Areas of town are known for the landmarks. "The Medical Center" "The Galleria" "The Ship Channel" "Downtown" "Uptown" "MidTown" and when it was the Domed Stadium, "The Dome Complex" or even "Astroworld" - but that's gone now, and "RELIANT CENTER" is the area.

As I said, aside from a few southern expressions, and perhaps droppin the 'g's from a few words... you can't 'write' a Houston accent.

Actually, yeah. All this. I commented on a manuscript the other day about Interstate-10 being I-10, and then you have all the areas known for various landmarks, like you mentioned. Then you have fun things like Kuykendahl that no one outside the city would have a clue how to pronounce.

I still can't believe they closed Astroworld. Ugh. Such a crime.

EzzyAlpha
05-31-2012, 09:29 PM
Thanks guys, this is exactly what I needed.

I already have her dropping her Gs and saying Y'all once in a while so I've I sneak in some of these phrases you've mentioned it should be alright (without making her sound like a hick :p).

Thanks again everyone!