In our ever shrinking world, it’s important to learn a second language. As a fluent speaker of the misunderstood American-English dialect of Redneck, I’ve decided to write a brief guide. My credentials are impeccable, because as Rednecks go, I are one.
First off, forget all you ever learned in non-Redneck schools. Common rules of sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation don’t readily apply. In fact, common words don’t apply.
Come to my part of the country and you might hear someone say, “Ahm’a go git sum Schlitz, yontsum?” To which a second person would reply either, “A’ight” or “Naw, Ah’d preefur sum Pabst, if’n yuh don’t mahnd.”
Let’s parse the above exchange for better understanding.
Ahm’a – I’m. One thing to remember about Redneck is this dialect is chock full of rounded vowels. Almost anything in Redneck that would be spelled literally with a vowel followed by an “h” is a rounded vowel form of a standard English spelling.
Git – Get. Another hallmark of Redneck is its lazy sound. A short “i” sound is a tad easier to say than a short “e” sound.
Sum – Some. An undefined quantity of objects. This is rarely the mathematical term taught in schools. It’s pronounced much like the more standard “some”, only more so.
Schlitz – Schlitz. This is a brand of American beer that at one time was popular around America and still has its fans in the southeastern region.
Yontsum – Do you want some? Redneck is a very clever dialect. Here you can see how an entire sentence has been contracted, without apostrophes, into a single word.
A’ight – Alright, all right, or “yes”
Naw – No.
Ah’d – I’d. See the reference to “Ahm’a”. The same convention is being used here.
Preefur – Pronounced with an emphasis on the last syllable, this translates to prefer and shows a particular preference.
Pabst – Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. This is another beer that has enjoyed popularity in the southeastern United States.
If’n – If you don’t. Now, according to the more English-professorial types, the use of “if’n” in the above example creates a double negative with the word “don’t” and would therefore cancel out into a positive statement such as “If you do mind.” But that makes less sense than keeping a pet raccoon in the chicken house. We’re not discussing standard English here, so score one for the Redneck. As we say ’round these parts, and I quote, “Yee-ha!”
Yuh and Mahnd – You and Mind. Again, these are more examples of what is explained in the entry for “Ahm’a”.
Practice these examples on your own, maybe with a recorder, until you’ve got the sounds and meanings memorized. The next time you talk with someone who speaks Redneck you can experiment with them and observe their reaction. They will probably give a quirky expression, pronounced “what the hell?” That’s because only a redneck can correctly pronounce the Redneck dialect.
Footnote: According to most linguists, Redneck does not qualify as a dialect. But what do they know? I are a Redneck and they is not.