The Definition of a Southerner

by Matthew Hudgens

    According to Webster's Dictionary, the definition of a Southerner is "a native or inhabitant of the South of the United States." To me, being a Southerner is more than simply living in a certain region or area in the United States.  Being a Southerner means living a completely Different life-style, as compared to someone living in another area.  In my opinion, Southerners usually tend to eat, talk, and drive differently than others.

    Southerners eat a variety of different foods. However, the way I think of Southerners when it comes to eating habits is lots of vegetables.  The main reason for me thinking this is based mostly on my experience of living in the South my whole life and always eating a variety of vegetables from my grandparent's garden.  Most typical Southerners eat foods such as fried okra, fried squash, green beans and plenty of fresh tomatoes.  I picture most true Southerners living on or near a farm and having eighty percent of their daily food diet coming from their garden.  However, with all of the rapid expansion in the South and a large portion of farm land becoming extinct, it would not be unusual today for eighty percent of Southerners daily diets coming from fast food and take out.  Not only do Southerners have their own style of food, but they also have unique talking habits.  

    A Southerner can always be identified by what others feel to be a hard-to understand accent. Southerners tend to use more "slang" in their everyday talk.  To outsiders, this so-called "slang" can be thought of as ignorant or unintelligent.  However, to me it in no way represents unintelligence, and in fact separates Southerners from other areas of the United States. Southerners also have a tendency to run words together. By running words together, I simply mean that instead of using two words when they are needed, one is very likely to hear those two words combined into one shorter version that  involves no pause between words.  For example, in the South one might hear words such as "wouldya" in place for "would you," or "didya" in place for "did you."  Not only do Southerners have a unique style of talking, but they also have a very recognizable style of driving.

    Southerners share a few small but very noticeable driving habits that usually separate them from others.  One can always expect a Southerner, no matter who they are, to be friendly to others on the road.  Most all Southerners, just out of habit, when passing another vehicle in the opposite lane will lift a hand or finger simply saying "hi."  Southerners are also the type of folks that, if pulled up beside at a red light and asked for directions, will not only tell the driver to the best of their knowledge where their destination is, but oftentimes lead them there in their own vehicle. 

    As one can see, there are distinct characteristics which separate a Southerner from others living in different parts of the United States. A Southerner is truly a unique type of person.  Clearly, Southerners share eating, talking, and driving habits that make them all easy to notice.  I am proud to have the privilege of saying that I have been born and raised in the South, and that I am without a doubt a Southerner!

Back to English 1101 essays