Nearly every region around the country has its own special twang or way of speaking. The Southern Utah accent is no different! The origins of the earliest residents of Dixie are varied. Cotton growers settled the city of Washington and most were true blue Southerners from such places as Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Tennessee. The Swiss, Scandinavian, English, German and other Europeans soon found their way to this part of the Utah Territory and brought with them a veritable hodgepodge of vocabulary with its unique pronunciation; then, well-publicized strike at Silver Reef brought Chinese, Irish, Scottish, Cornish miners into the mix.
The resulting society ended up sounding like we were all “barn in a born,” “pork are cores in a corepart,” and often seem to put the “court before the harse” when it comes to speaking conventionally.
Over the years, with our huge influx of new move-ins, our speech patterns have softened a bit, but if you find yourself asking, “what did you say?” when speaking to a “local,” here are a few dialectic gems, along with their definitions, to help you in the process of gaining an ear for Southern Utah speech:
- Airpart – a tract of land for the taking off and landing of airplanes.
- Bard – with many of these you can build a house or how you feel when things get monotonous.
- Barn – many Christians claim to be “barn” again.
- Born – a large building behind on the “form” where the animals and farm implements are kept.
- Car – what’s left after you have eaten your apple.
- Carn – a yellow vegetable with kernals growing on a cob.
- Cart – a place where we play pickleball or where the judge renders a decision.
- Core – an automobile.
- Court – not to be put before the “harse”
- Doling – really cute.
- Fark – a utensil used at the dinner table.
- Fart – a solidly built edifice used to defend oneself against the enemy.
- Flar – what one walks on.
- For – a long, long way from here.
- Gorden – the place outback where you grow your vegetables.
- Harn – that which is honked.
- Herrican – a town 18 miles from “St. Garge” on the way to Zion National Park.
- Hord – difficult
- Jor – a container made of glass.
- Lorge – big
- Mar – opposite of less
- Narth – opposite of south
- Ore – as in “where ore you going?” not to be confused with “are” which is what Silver Reef miners were after or the instrument used to move a boat through water.
- Ort – ballet, music or painting.
- Par – the act of transferring liquid from one container to another.
- Sarful – sad or pitiful
- Scar – the outcome of a competition, particularly a ball game.
- Score – the result of a surgical incision or a terrible wound.
- Star – where we go to buy groceries.
- Store – a bright object in the sky above.
- Torist – a person who is on a vacation or business “tore” of the area.
- Yar – of or relating to one or oneself, as in “yar core,” “yar sargum,” “yar form.”
If you study it well, you should now be able to understand and communicate with Southern Utahns. But “jist” in case, here is a test sample,
“Ya git in yar core, drive down to where that par kid, in those sarful, arange sharts is standing, then go narth to the next carner, turn and drive until you come to the formyord, and you’ll see a deportment star on the other side of the street (where you can get a lorge arder of cormel carn in a dorling cordbard box.”
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