the metathesis of southern lingo of yore

Ben Russell


January 2019

RUBONICS began a few years ago as a casual effort to log some of the most exemplary expressions and terms of the older Southern, American English. Over five hundred examples are quoted in RUBONICS, along with other noteworthy assaults upon the Queen’s English; all having evolved, somewhat naturally, throughout the History of the Deep South.

Very little of this vernacular will be encountered in today’s South; and, for better or worse, it is rapidly falling into oblivion. It is, however, a significant artifact of the past and should be preserved for history and possibly for a tiny place in etymology of languages.

RUBONICS is a term from the author referencing the rural--rube or redneck form of speech and its sense of humor. I have, since childhood, enjoyed the inherent sense of humor derived from making up and “refining” this inherently Southern lingo. This gave my friends and I an ability to totally baffle our “yankie” friends. Absolutely no reference to race, creed or color intended.

These observations are the product of my seventy-five years exposure to the local vernacular of my peers in central Alabama; all of whom would now disavow any knowledge… I did find a fascination and great humor there, however, and this led me to an effort to record these interesting examples of this local dialect.

In time an attempt was made to further understand the “logic” ( oxymoron?) of RUBONICES, along with its somewhat logical and predictable system of modifying standard speech sounds.

As in most languages, the old Southern vernacular or the phonetic system has developed from several major factors. The most significant of these being the consequence of the seemingly insignificant effort required to rearrange the lips and tongue during the transition from one speech sound to another. However, this is the core of METATHESIS.

For example, the word watermelon (wa ter mell on) requires more rearranging of the tongue and mouth than wall er mel lon; thus easing the effort of pronunciation.

Metathesis is the term used to describe this action. Metathesis is described as the transposition of letters, syllables or sounds in a word to facilitate pronunciation.

The term phonetics refers to the study of human speech sounds-- here, however, without consideration for the discipline of formal speech.

Please refer to the addendum for help—discussions, definitions and examples.



The Phonetics of

Southern American English

  by Ben Russell



 Pt. Past tense, pos. Possessive, Re. Regarding, Rel. Relative, ( ) Added,
Ie. Example, fr.. From, Italics:. Improper English

Ne mo: ie. (Got) ne mo
A: often Uh: -- A or ur fire
Ad der all
Ad: That. See Dat, That.
A gin st or Again: against a rock….
Air one: either one.
Air rey one
Ad der while: After a while
Aint: Is not
Air: Their
Air one: Either one
Airn: Their one
     Nair one: Neither one
Air re one: ie. (not)A single one
Ak un: ie Acorn
Al benny: Albany, Georgia
All luv vem: all of them
A mer i gun: American
     Uh mur i gun: American
     Un (an) a mur i gun ie.
     Is zee un amur i gun
A mong st: Among
A rab, Alabama
A re: Area.
A tall, uh tall: at all
Aud der: ie. Aught to,
     you aud der
Au ther rit us;
Aw ful est;
Az ziff: As if
Aze: They is
Aze er: They are --

     Re. That
At, Ad: often That
At air: That (one), there
At un: That one
Ad dun: That one
Ads zit: That is it
Ad dul do: That will do

Bad to: (He is) bad to (take a--- drink.)
Bait: A huge amount, Too-------- much
Bass ack kards;
Bed der: Better:
Bed der nod:
Big gun nuff:
Bof fus: Both of us
Bum el bee:
Bun nilla:
Bu tic i lar: particular:
     Pu tic u lar

Bunch uv vem:
Bust opens: Packaged snacks
Bus ted: pt.

Cause do: because (if you) do
Chan ch: chance
Chiv ur lay Chevrloet
Chunk: Throw
Ches ter drawers:
Clair er dun: Clearer
Crunk: pt. Crank
Cum mer: Come here
Cum mone nover:
Chock let:
Clent: Pt. Clean
Co col la, ko colar:
Co ker ko la:
Co beer:
Com men st tuh:
Coud ner: Could not (have)
Crist tu al:
Crok er sack: A toe sack,
     A croker sack, a burlap bag

     Re. Clear
Clear, Clair, Klear, Klare:

Clear: Completely, ie. Clear
     Rel. Thoroughly,
Clair urn ner: clearer than a.
     Klear un uh

Damed dif fino?:
Den o mit es: Dif fi no: ie
Daze: (They is)
Aze: (They is)
     De: Did he ?
Dese: These
Dem: Them:
Dis: this

     special. That / Dads
Dads, Ads: That is
Dad ju: Is that you?
Dads hit, Dads zit;
Dads zun nuf: That’s enough
     Ads zun nuff
Dads zun nuff fuv vem
Dats dat: That is that

Daid: They did - would Dam
Dair: Their
Daire: There
Dairn Their one
Daint: (They Is not.)
Dale: They will
Dane no mo: (They aint…)
Daze zuh wonze: They are the
Daze zov vair: They are over there

     re. This
Dis, diz, dizz
Dis here: This here
Dis shere: “
Dish shere:
Dif funt: different
Done-she: Does she not?
Drank: ie. Hank, why do you drank
Did dunt:
Dis shear: This here
Dost: a dose of ie. Too much
Dudd den nit: does it not.?
Du mad ders: Tomatoes
Du mor row: tomorrow
Dun: Done: Complete,
--Often however only to
Du reck ley, Tu reck ley:
     A corruption of:
     I will Go directly (there).
          Tuh reck ly: Later on, in
Dun gone: ie. He has Dun
Dun nover: Already Over:
Duz zunt: does not:

     Re. Did
Did de: did he?
Did ge: Did you?
Did ge ged dit?
Did ju do: Did you do?

Da: they
Dad: That see A
Dat: That

Diz hear: “
Dis sun: This one

E: see D ie De, ie did he
E: He
Em: Them
E tole em:
Eze: He is
Eze Fin ner: He is fixing to
Eze uh go ner: He is going to
Eze ov vair: He is over there
Ease zuh won: He is the one
Ear: Here, Mere, ie. Come here
En em: and them
Em: Them
Em aire: Them air: Those there
En em: And them
Et: Ate
Ever whig ger way
Ever whooh uh way
Ever zeen: Ever seen..?

Fat: if that….
Fi: If I
Fix ing to: Preparing to

Fit ner : “
Fid ner : “
Fig ger: Figure
Fig ger head: Math minded
Fid ner: ie Fixing to
Flus ter rated:
Fo: Before
Fo: Four,
     Fo sho: For sure
Foed: Ford
From men nair; form in there
Frum mun der: From under
     Ie. Out frum mun der
      Up under:
Fur mer zeff: ie. For my self
Fur Fer: Far
Fuv vem: ie. Enough Of them

     Re. If
Few: If you
Fi: If I
Fid er: ie. If I had of
Fide dev ver:
Fies: If I was
Fize em: If I was them
Fize zem: If I was them

Ge or Gue: Did you?
Gen el ly: generally
Georg ge: Georgia
Git, Gid: Get
Git gone: Leave
Go gid dit: Go get it

Go ner be: Going to be
Gon ner: ie. …going to
Got en: pt. Got
Gar dean: Guardian

Had dent aughter:
Hang ger nade: handgrenade
Hard der: ie ….than a
     woodpeckers lips.
Haf fuv vem: Half of them
Hawg: Hog
He: see He below
Heap: Large quantity ie.
     A heap of them ie.
     Uh heap puv vum
Hern, Her’s: (pos of her)
His un: pos His one
Hick ur nut: ie. Hickory nut
Ho made:
Hope: Help
How come: Fr. How did it come to be
Hun dud: Hundred

     Re. He:
      Often E
     E: Eze: He is
     E gen:He can

Hi: How?
Hi come: How come: fr. How
     (did it) come (to be)?

Hi ken: How can?
His zen: pos. Him
Hiz zun: “
Hiz ze: How is ?
Hise ze How is he?
Hos zee: who is he?

     Re. It
Hit: It
Hids: It is
Hits: “
Hits dis sun:
Hits dun nover:
Hids zall over:
Hit tul: It will
Hit ters zem: It was them

I be: I’ll be
If fi: If I
     Fi: If I
Im muv uh gray mind: I am of a great mind
Ide: I would
Imm: I am
I mone: I am going (to)
Im mer gon er; I am a going to
Im uh: ie. I am uh going to
In a mong st:
Iste cream:
Ive: I have
Iz ze: Is he?
Is zee un amur i gun

Jake: Jurk
Jak ed: pt. Jurk
Ju: (Did) you?
Ju goner: Are you going to?
Ju zee em; did you see them?

Kang gid no bed der:
     (It) can’t get (no) better
Kig gis az ze: Kick his…

Lay ed eyes on
Learnt: pt. Learn.
Lent: pt. Lend
Leff: ie. He leff out of here
Lick er: ie. Not a lick of.
Lit tle bid dy,
Lil lo bid dy: little old bitty
L?te bub:
Look er hear
Los ter; more lost than..
Luf ter: Love to
Lun mo Lawn mower

Led: Let
Lem me: Let me
Lem me zee
Lem me no: Let me know

Lugg ger ear: ie. Look er here
Lug ger hear
Lug gear

Man nase: Mayonaise
Maun nin: Morning
Mi naze
     My nase
Min i ral strain.
Miss sip pee
Mitch i gun
Maw nin: (good) morning
Meere: (you come) here
Mem ber: Remember
Mid dest well: Might as well
Mik er wave: Microwave
Minds me: reminds me..
Mis i ble: Miserable
Mush rooms
Mus tuv: mus ter (had)---------- ---Must of (had)
Mo: More
Mo est: Most
Mo der cick el
Mon ster men tal:
Mon I ster
Mom mer en nem: Mother
     and Them
     Mone no ver: Come on over
Mone nov ear
Mouf: ie. Shut your mouf

Nat chel: Natural
Nairn: neither/ none
Neat ne mo: Need any more
Neck ed
N?sce: Nice
Num mer: Number
Nun nuv vit: None of it

      Re. Neither
Nair: fr. Neither
Nair one
Nair ey a one nair ey
Nairn: not one
     See: air, airey --

     Re. No
Naw: no
Nawd ju: No, did you
No count: fr. Do not count,
     good no
     No sense sin it.
Need mo: Need more
Need ne mo uv vem: Need any more of them?

Nod du nuf fuv em: Not enough of --them
Nod nun nuv vem: Not none of
Nod jet: Not yet
Nod ne mo
Nome: -No mam

Won: One
On lest: only est.
Only est un:
     (The) only one
On count of: Because of
Orn dale: Iron Dale, Alabama
Oud not uv: Ought not have
Ough ter
Ov air: Over there
Ov vair: Over there
Over yonder: fr. Yond, ie.
     Over-yond hill.

Pan ney maw City: Panama City
Pan sel
Par tic i lar, Buh tic i lar
Pitch cher show: Picture show
Plen ne: Plenty
Plumb full
      Plumb: as by a plumb bob:---
-- perfectly or completely Ie.--
--He is plumb (outer du----------
      Plumb: Plumb is most
--generally only to emphasize
Pif ful: pitiful
Po ech: Porch, Porsche
Po est:

Po lo: (Poor) lil lo: ie. poor
     little old woman --
Poison I vo ry
Pok en beans
Poney ack: (Mith I gun)
Pre vert: Pervert
Punk en: Pumpkin
Pur ty: fr. pretty ie somewhat
Purt ten near
Purt near
Puz zer fud den: Pussy footing walking softly

Ránch: Rinse
Ranch: Wrench
Rat tin nair: right in there
Rec kon:
Re dick ku lus Ridiculous
Re frig ger ra tor
Ruint, Roint: Ruined

Sad day
Sal mon: Salmon
Sa ur day
Sam ich
Sch wo rd: Sword
Scan nel: Scoundrel
See adder: To see after or be
     responsible for
Seen: pt. Saw

Sin zin nit: ie. (no) sense in it
     No cince zin nit
She aint er: (going to)
She au der: She aught to.
Shed of: ie. Get shed of
     Fr. Shed ie. To cast off
Sho nuf: Sure enough
Should dent: Should not
Sic kel: (Motor) cycle
Sim mons: Persimmons
Sim u lar: Similar
Spa chal: special
Spos ed: Suppose
     ie. I am supposed to
Sten chen cord:
Sto bout: Not handmade-new
Sum, som, or Zum: Some
Sum mu nu ther: fr: Some
     Thing or the other
Sum miss: Some of this
Sum mese: Sum of these
Sum muv vid: Sum of it
Skerce: Scarce
Squo se pt squeeze
Swisk broom

Ta el: towel
Taint: it aint
Tak er notion: decide to
Tad ders: Potatoes
     Buu tad duers
Tran su mission:
Tu ber fo: two by four
Tuh, duh: often, To or The
Thairn: Thairs
Thays: They is, They are, Aze
Thank guun ness
Thow ed: pt. Throw
Ther mom i der
Time: ie. Bye the time
To ie nt: pt. Turn
Tow up: Torn up

Tu der: To the place
Tale wid dum
Tuh ale wid dit
Tuh reck ly: Directly
     Duh ale wid em

Uh: often: a. of, er
Uh: for emphasis or a phonetic --connecton
Um ber rella
Un noth er:
Un: (One)
Un nuff: Enough
Up pair: Up there
Up pun der / Ub un der: Up ------under.
     rel. Frum mun der
Uster: pt. Used to Ie. He is uster
     Fr. He was used to

Var ment: Pesky small animal.
     Fr. Vermin, A derogatory term for a person, etc.
Ven ess wala: Venezuela

Wal ler mel lon
Wad dun: Was not.
Wan nese: One of these
Was unt: “
Wau der: Water
Waum: Warm
Way mint: Wait a minute
Wa wer: War
Wer nt: Were not
Which ur way: which way
Which er way:
Which a way:
Whooch a way:
Wid: With
Wid us: with us
Win ner: Winter
Wid dout.
Wranch, wrench: ranch
Would ner: Would not have
Wood dunt: would not
Worsh: Wash
Wor ser: wors er
Wuf fer: Worth a
Wuz: Was

Was zunt: Was not
Wus tu: Were to

     Re. Who
Whoo dever: Who would have ever?
Whos ze: Who is he
Whoose ziz zit: Who pos.
Whoo ze: Who is he
Hoose ze: Who is he
Whoze ziz idt
Whoze ziz zin air?

     Re. One
Wan: One
Won: One
Won nuther
Wone nuv vem: One of them
Won nese: One of these
Won nem air: One of them (there). For emphasis only

     Re. Would
Wood dent tuv: Would not------- have
Wood dent : would not

     Re. Was
Was unt: Was not
Was zunt pt. was not
Waud den: “
Wood ent: Would not
Wood ner; Would not have
Wus ter: ie. (If he) were to (have) or --was to--
Whaud da zay?
Whaud ju zay?
Whaud der dese: What are these?
Whaud dem: What are them?
Whats zem: What Is ?
Whaud din nale?

Re. Where
Whur en ale
Whur ed: Where did ?
Whur bout?
Whure abouts?
Whur es ze at: Where is he (at)?
Whur es zay: ie.Where (is) they?
Whur es zid dat: Where is it (at)?
Wur mur: Where are my?

     Re. Why
Y: why
Whine: Why in…?
Wine not?
Whine nale?

Y: see Why
Yes ter didy or yest diddy:
Young un

     Re. Yes
Yo: Your
Yea ye er: Yes
Yeaa er: Yes
Year ley bout: Nearly about
Yu ster: --used to

     Re. You
You all
Yev ver: ie. Did you ever?
     Jever: (Did) you ever?
     Did jever
           Je ever
Yell lo: Hello
Yell er: Yellow
You aud der: You ought to
You shud dent uv : You should not have
You aud der: You ought to
Yaul war chiss
Yaul waaar chiss:------------------ The most famous last words of a true redneck
----U on ner: (Do) you want to
You wont ney mo: . you want any more?
Yee ont wan nese: Do you want one of these.
You goner ged ne mo: Ne is any, here.
You ern: yours, your one

Z: is pronounced as zee-----------
--normally and often----------
-- herein as S or---- used
     phonetically in place of S,
     which is slightly more
     difficult to pronounce.
Zee: Is he?
Za: They
Zays ov vair: They are over there
Zat, Dat, At: That
Zad you: Is that you?
Zad ju?
Za en ne mo: Is they any---------- more?
Zase zu wones: (Theys are the ----ones)?
Zo ver: ie. (It is) over here
     Hits zov air: It is over there


copyright 2013 by Ben Russell

2544 Willow Point Road

Alexander City, Alabama  35010


revised 09-24-13