I work in a very corporate environment. My language at work tends to fall into the technical dialect. It’s deeply meaningful to those that understand it and is (generally) very specific. I don’t do it intentionally, it’s just communicating with my peers.
Occasionally though, usually late at night on a conference call, I fall out of it or mix up technical speech with southern slang. Words that are familiar to me begin to slip into my conversations. Words like “aint” and “caint” which you don’t expect to hear on a call where I work.
If there’s more than one southerner on the call this has a feedback affect. We’re tired. We’re usually frustrated because we’re up late. The language is comfortable. The later it gets and the more we talk; the more it descends into madness.
Here’s a recounting of a recent late night phone call with several other engineers trying to get a couple of computer systems back online. This happened around hour 3 or so into the call.
The participants were me, two guy’s from South Carolina and a gentleman from New York.
Me: Ya’ll reckon if we kick this server over it’ll come back?
SC engineer_1: Yeah, prolly. If it don’t we kin jest have that boy in the server room light’er back up.
Me: Ok, I’m gonna bounce it then. Should come up faster’n Junior in the the number 2 at Talladega.
SC Engineer_2: Oooo weee hitch up yer britches boys, here we go!
Me: Aight it’s done. All that’s left to do is wait for the finish line.
SC Engineer_1: who’s yer driver
Me: Well, it used to be Gilliland in the M&M 38. Now… I dunno… Definitely aint Kyle
SC Engineer_1: I hear yah brother. They done him wrong.
Me: Ok… looks like this darlin’s coming back now.
SC Engineer_2: Yeah, we dern near got’er licked.
<Dog barking in the background on someone’s phone>
SC Engineer_2: Look ya’ll I just wanna say, that’s my Mama’s poodle. I don’t want ya’ll thinking it’s mine.
Me: Aint that about right? He’s more worried about us thinkin he’s got a poodle than knowin that he lives with his mama.
SC Engineer_2: That aint funny.
SC Engineer_1: Yeah huh….unless it really is your poodle. Then it’s funnier.
Me: Ok this server is up; good thing too I aint eat supper yet
SC Engineer_1: Me either but I aint in a hurry. I figger it’ll be cold by now unless Mama will heat it up for me.
NYC Engineer: Wait. You live with your Mother too?
SC Engineer_2: No
SC Engineer_1: No, I don’t.
Me: Damn son! He meant his wife. What’s your problem?
NYC Engineer: Ok, look. I’ll be honest. I haven’t understood a single damned thing for the last 15 minutes. You people aren’t even speaking English.
Me: Ok, but we got the servers back up doing it and you aint said a word. I aint tryin to say nothin, I”m just sayin…
NYC Engineer: Ok, uhh… so we’re good?
Me: Yup, they came back pretty as yah please.
SC Engineer_1: Slicker’n ah whistle.
NYC Engineer: I give up. We’re done. <click>
Me: Reckon what got him all riled up?
(For the non-southerner: “mama” refers to the mother of your children when used in this context. Or, so you’ll understand: ‘yo baby mama’. Including the possessive adjective “My” before the word Mama means you’re talking about your own mother.)