Dialect Debates – You Call That A What?!

Photo Courtesy of Mykl Roventine.
Flickr, Creative Commons.

Leaving Walmart yesterday I decided to write about people who happily peruse a store for 2 hours but, after unpacking their purchases into the back of their Lexus SUV, abruptly become incapable of walking 10 feet to return their grocery basket to the designated area of the parking lot. This sudden onset of disability leaves them with no choice but to roll their basket into the middle of the driving area so the West Texas wind can launch it like a rocket into an unsuspecting vehicle while it’s owner is on aisle 6 weighing the pros and cons white versus wheat. 

When I sat down with my Venti Caramel Frappucino (what? I’m celebrating the fact that the high is 93
°F today. Don’t judge me.to confess my hatred of lazy mega-store shoppers, it suddenly occurred to me that I couldn’t write about baskets being carelessly left around parking lots, because only about three people reading my blog would have any clue what the heck I was talking about. 

I grew up calling those things you roll around at the grocery store full of bread and baked beans, “baskets.” 

Then, I met my husband (well, I mean, obviously he wasn’t my husband when I met him…but I think you probably know what I mean). The first time we went grocery shopping together he said something along the lines of “Do you think we need a buggy?”

Photo Courtesy of Mike Cline.
Flickr, Creative Commons.

Um, excuse me?

A what?

Did you just call that thing over there with four wheels a…buggy?

Uncontrollable laughter ensued.

He then assured me that my terminology was, in fact, flawed, since the “baskets” were the little blue things with handles that you carried around if you were just running in to buy some popcorn and a six pack of Budweiser. 

No, actually those are just called small baskets…or…baskets you carry…or baskets that have handles…or baskets without wheels…or something.

The Battle of Deep East Texas vs. Small Town West Texas Terminology

To prove my word was correct, I decided to conduct some very formal research* comparing words used to describe grocery baskets  buggies  those things with four wheels that you push around when you finally break down and brave the aisles of your local supermarket because, if you have to eat frozen peas or dry pasta or whatever is left in the pantry for one more meal, you just. might. die. 

The consensus? 
We’re both weird. 

Several people answered with “basket,” unfortunately every last one of them were from my hometown. A few people said “buggy,” (ahahahaha….that is such a strange word) but all of those responses except one, which came from Sally in Alaska, were from people in East Texas.

The vast majority of responses? 

Well, okay then.

If you people want to be boring and uninventive, you can call your baskets a “cart.” I obviously take more pride in having a extended vocabulary than you do.

What are some regional or cultural sayings you’ve been called out for? 

Here are a couple of mine:

  • I grew up using “fixing to” in the place of “about to.” Ex. “I’m fixing to go study.” I had no idea this wasn’t what everyone said until I was in college.
  • When I was younger my mom would say “oh, you’re trying to get sick.” Not like a literal “you bratty child, stop licking the concrete in attempt to catch something so you can miss school” way, but in more of a “your body doesn’t seem to be doing such a great job fighting this off – looks like you may come down with something” way. When I told my college roommate I “was trying to get sick” she took it very literally…then made fun of me.

Share some of yours with me! I can’t wait to hear them…and tease you. 

*”Quantitative Investigation of Words Used For Rolling Things At Grocery Stores: A Retrospective Analysis.” Jones, et al. Sources – Twitter. Text Messages. Facebook.