Date: Mon, 17 Jul 1995 13:37:03 -0500 From: Shana Walton Subject: Re: regional differences One that always gets me in trouble is, as a native Southerner I say to a Northerner or a Midwesterner (or any other American for that matter), "Do you want a Coke?" and they say no, but then sit there and wish for a Sprite or something, tea maybe. What I meant was, "So you want a soft drink or anything at all to drink?" Or if I'm going to the vending machine for a group, I'll say, "What kind of Coke do you want?" and people will give me the strangest looks. I *try* not to do that, but if I get to feeling comfortable, I forget. Oh, and people often seem completely unaware of the variable temporal length of "fixing to." "I'm fixing to go" does not necessarily mean within the next few minutes (or even half hour). Of course it could mean that. I also have been cautioned by Northeastern and West Coast friends (WASP-types) that it is rude, or at least can appear nosy, to inquire after people's mamas, as in "how's your mama and them?" People apparently don't all bring their families into their cognitive work world. Some told me it's rather elitist, not a sign of civil concern (as in we're all supposed to be seen as indivduals, family-free?) to ask about people's family backgrounds (as in "who's your mama and them"). My friends said only people who were concerned with your pedigree would ask this question and therefore that people will take it wrong, as if you're trying to "sniff them out." Is this true? shana -- Shana Walton Mississippi Oral History Program University of Southern Mississippi swalton[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] (601) 266-5606