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"Hey there, buddy. What'dya know?" I asked as I greeted a young man visiting our country for the first time. His English was impeccable, yet he looked at me quizzically and slowly repeated, "What do I know?" My West Coast gal pal and I looked at each other and chuckled. Poor fella.

"She means 'How are you?' or 'What are you doing?'" my friend translated proudly, having now lived in Arkansas long enough to know the lingo.

These expressions don't strike me as odd until I hear them through others' ears. This young man traveled the country with my friend's niece, and I learned he needed a translator to converse with me more than with anyone in any other place he'd been.

So with that in mind, I thought it long overdue for another installment on Southern vernacular, for those who might be new to town. Bless your hearts.

• Half a mind -- considering whether to do something, but one's mind is not fully made up. "I've got half a mind to go down there and tell that gal in the front pew that her hair's so high even the preacher can't see over it."

• Being ugly -- not being nice. "You're being ugly about that gal in the front pew. 'Course, she had it comin' to her."

• Had it comin'-- owed or due. See above.

• Holler -- now, this depends on context. As a noun, it means "hollow" or "ravine," as in "That coyote's down in the holler." However, it can also be a verb, meaning "tell," as in, "Holler at me when supper's ready."

• Supper -- the third meal of the day, otherwise known as "dinner." But dinner can also mean lunch, especially on Sunday. Let's go over that again. Supper is never lunch. Dinner might be lunch or supper, but it's never supper on Sunday. If someone invites you to "Sunday dinner," that means lunch. You show up at night instead of noon, and you'll miss a meal.

• Get easy --to get comfortable or be relieved from pain, usually after a sick spell. "Maude's been convalescing at home since her back surgery, but she just can't find a position to get easy."

• Reckon -- believe or think. "I reckon I'll ride again in that Square2Square bike event on Saturday."

• Laid up -- unable to move, as in, "That fool rode 32 miles on her bicycle and wonders why she was laid up Sunday."

• Fixin' to -- about to, as in, "Her column is fixin' to run out of paper before she runs out of words."

• Do what? -- a request to repeat what was said. Now, don't ask me why we don't say "Say what?" because I don't know, we just don't. Why, Uncle Ronnie and I even met a parrot years ago in Tennessee who chanted "Do what?" and we all turned around and repeated what we'd said.

Now that's fine communication, I don't care where you're from.

NAN Our Town on 09/15/2016

Print Headline: Do what?

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