contributed by Dr James Everett
LS Cultural Committee Chairman, Maybinton, South Carolina
5) Abbreviations. Mr Mrs Ms Dr Sr Jr Rev Esq—We do not use a period with these abbreviations. Interestingly, the great Southern writer William Faulkner always deleted the period in Mr and Mrs. He also wrote the one-syllable contractions (wont, dont, cant, etc) without the apostrophe, as prescribed in our rule number 4 (See July-August issue). We Southerners certainly thus have powerful precedent in adopting these forms used by the 20th century writer most celebrated worldwide. So, indeed, thank you Mr (no period) Faulkner.
6) Quotation Marks. British orthography reverses single and double quotation marks. Place double quotation marks inside the single. For example: All repeated with feeling, 'It is time again to sing our national anthem "Dixie".'
7) Special Spellings. For these, there are no easy ways to remember by grouping. They must be learned one by one. Some important and frequently-used spellings are: a) grey (not gray); b) the noun cheque (not check); c) the noun or verb catalogue (not catalog); d) the noun, verb, and adjective centre (not center); e) the adjective meagre (not meager); f) the noun theatre; g) the verbs enquire and ensure (not inquire and insure); h) the noun enquiry (not inquiry); i) the noun disc (not disk). (Jefferson Davis insisted on theatre and sabre in his The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, although the publishers changed his spelling. —Ed.)
8) Endangered words.
a) Dinner-Supper;Dinnertime-Suppertime. The meals that punctuate a Southern day are breakfast, dinner, and supper. (See Southern Patriot, Jan.-Feb. 1996, pp. 4, 6, for a discussion.) The evening meal dinner, whether big or small, light or heavy, is still foreign to the traditional Southern ear. Lunch may be an acceptable introduction for a fast eat-on-the-run New South (No South?) meal (no meal?) at midday. We would hope that our readers might avoid situations in which lunches 'happen'. And even if they do occur, call them dinners anyway, even if they dont rightly deserve the name. Supper under no circumstances should be called anything but supper. Dinner in the evening is as foreign as cream-of-wheat at breakfast or codfish and unsweetened tea at any meal.
b) To Raise (not Rear) Children. Southerners raise their children, never rear them. Neither do they parent them, because those who raise them are properly understood to be parents. The alternative, of course, to government the child, or to social worker the child—terms, interestingly enough, we have not yet heard to describe the truth of the matter.
A celebrated Pulitzer prize winning, South-hating author of my acquaintance once chastised me in an emotional outburst for my saying a certain black lady was raised near my home. 'Like turnips!' he blazed with righteousness, saying I had used a racially demeaning figure of speech like the 'n-word' or boy. Even after I got over my initial shock, I did not attempt to explain what most Southerners know—that we in the South are (if we are fortunate enough) all raised, both black and white, and not reared. And it is, indeed, no doubt, like turnips with us—yes, and also like cotton, okra, and beans—and with no shame in that! Any agrarian people well knows the image is a good one, for crops need the careful long process of planting, daily tendance, and then the grace of God over all—to yield up a successful crop. Raising requires great loving care and more than just biological growth. So out of our noble Southern agrarian heritage, let us keep our expression to raise, and foreswear to rear. And that will make certain we also keep the good old countryman's phrase, 'Boy, aint you had no raising?' And we'll know precisely what we mean. Because inherent in raising is good, courteous behaviour—good manners which must be taught in social situations by the family.
We Southerners do have our own language to a much greater degree than we realise. Because we hear the ABC-CBS-NBC language all the time (the Southerner's second language), we take it for granted and become so used to it that we finally dont hear how different we speak. We should start being aware of our own unique turns of speech and expressions that are not part of the homogenised, denatured norm. Cultivate these differences and take pride in them.