Alabama slang notes

Welcome to today’s podcast where we will talk to Paige Poole about her home state’s culture, history, and language.  I met Paige through work since we are both Virtual Educators and we both teach English as a second language and speak Spanish.  In this episode she shares about her hometown, and some incredible stories about growing up in Alabama and how living abroad changed her perspective.  She also talks about what it was like to be a lesbian growing up in such a religious part of the USA. If you are interested in culture, diversity, and language, this is a great episode for you to listen to.  

 Would you like to join the upcoming webinar on East Coast vs West Coast culture in the USA?

Did you know Alabama is said to be the Amazon of the USA?  Here is the NPR episode:

Paige’s hometown:

Here’s a good article from PBS, too, about Southern American English:

ESPN Video: 

Roll Tide on Wikepedia

Song: Dixie Land Delight

Football fans singing Dixie Land Delight along with chanting Roll Tide:

Double modals

The Sounds of the South


🗣️ Quotes from Anne

“Culture is dynamic. Language is dynamic.”

“That’s what’s so great about some of the Southern accent in general. It’s just like musical and sing songy.”

🗣️ Quotes from Paige Poole

“Alabama is known as the Amazon of the US.”

“Over 70% of the state is still forested.”

“Roll tide is used to say thank you, good job, or as an exclamation.”

“I think a big part of being Southern is you worry about what other people think.”


Alabama Unveiled: The Hidden Gems of Southern Slang and Culture – Episode 12

To Paige Poole about Alabama’s culture, history, and language

In today’s podcast, we’re going to talk.

Today we are going to talk to Paige Poole about Alabama’s culture, history, and language. So, I met Paige through work because we’re both Virtual Educators through the Department of State’s English language programs. And I had heard her being interviewed, on a podcast in Spanish, and I just loved everything she had to say. So I thought, I have to invite her to the American slang podcast to talk a little bit about her identity and her story. And I think she has so much to share with us today. So I hope that you enjoy this podcast. If you’re interested in culture, diversity, language, then this is a great episode for you to listen to.

One last thing, before I forget, is that I’m doing a series of webinars with some guest speakers, and the next one is on March 14, and we’re talking about East Coast versus West Coast culture. So if you go to my website, you can sign up for that webinar, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Anne: Nice to finally meet you. This is exciting.

Paige: Yeah, likewise. I find that this is almost as exciting as meeting virtual friends in real life.

Anne: Right.

Paige: It’s like that.

I think Alabama is undervalued and definitely not given enough attention

Anne: Next, I was looking at your state of Alabama, and I realized that I’ve probably driven through it on the way to spring break in Florida or something like that, but I don’t. I mean, I have family in Mississippi. It looks like Mississippi is to the West. It looks like Georgia’s to the East and Tennessee’s to the North. And it also borders Florida. So it looks like a beautiful place. Like, you have alligators there.

Paige: It looks like, we do in the South. It’s that, Alabama is a pretty unique place. I feel like it is undervalued and definitely not given enough attention. yeah, I know. Just something I find fascinating about Alabama. Going back to this idea of, like, Alabama is undervalued. Alabama is known as the Amazon of the US. and so I know NPR did a write up on this, but, Alabama has the most diverse river system in North America, and is number five in the US for its biodiversity. and it’s one of the greenest states still. I think over 70% of the state is still forested, as you probably know when you ask students, in class, where do you want to travel in the United States, they never say Alabama, right. That’s New York on their radar. Miami, Alabama.

Anne: They’re like, Alabama. Where’s that?

Paige: Exactly?

Anne: Exactly. Yeah. So the capital city is Montgomery, right?

Paige: Yes.

Paige: Although it’s not the biggest city, and if you go to Alabama, I don’t want anyone from Montgomery to hate me if you’re listening to this, but, you’re probably not going to go to Montgomery. You’d go to Birmingham, which is the biggest city, and has kind of, like, I would say Birmingham, Huntsville. Mobile has some really cool historical, places to visit and then obviously you’ve got the Gulf coast. That’s like, beaches, beautiful beaches. But yes, city wise, like Birmingham, Huntsville has the NASA space Center. That’s pretty cool.

Anne: Oh, neat.

Paige: Yeah.

Anne: And I’m sure there’s so much about the Civil Rights Movement that you could learn about. I’m sure there’s lots of amazing history with the Civil Rights Movement.

Paige: Yeah.

Paige: There’s the Civil Rights Museum in Birmingham. And actually in Montgomery, you can go to Martin Luther King Jr’s house, that he lived in when he was there and that’s pretty cool. That’s probably worth the drive.

Anne: Yeah, I would say so. Definitely.

Paige: Yeah. I grew up in Hueytown, Alabama outside of Birmingham

Anne: So what was it like growing up in Alabama? I’m wondering what kind of things you did as growing up there. Did you grow up in a big city? Was it a countryside? Kind of?

Paige: so I grew up in a small town outside of Birmingham. It’s definitely within the Birmingham metro area. It’s about 20 minutes driving to downtown, but a very small city called Hueytown, which also no one ever knows about. I think it was.

Anne: I’m going to have to look it up on the map for sure, to get some images.

Paige: Yeah. I think it was established in, like, 1960, as a city. And I don’t know what the population was when I was growing up, but it’s about 16,000 now. and, I always tell people growing up, there were no big chain stores. Like, we had chain restaurants, a few of them, right? Like Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Burger King, Captain B’s, but there were no Walmart or any of that, probably until 2006 or seven maybe. I definitely was already living at Alabama, in the dorms, the University of Alabama, when some of those things, happened to the detriment of our small local businesses.

Anne: For sure. For sure. But then you kind of get more small town stores, small town life, a more intimate feel with your city and the people. Everybody knows, everybody kind of feeling.

Paige: Yep.

Paige: Growing up, I’d be in the grocery store or be somewhere, and people would come up to be like, oh, you must be Jacqueline’s daughter. And I’m like, yes, I am. Who are, or like, my grandparents own a small gift and frame shop and so know also know me through them. And so it’s definitely the kind of “everybody knows everybody,” or if you don’t directly know somebody, you know who they are through somebody that you know. Definitely that, but a very calm place.

Paige: If there are any NASCAR fans listening, we are famous or known for drivers like Davey Allison, Neil Bonnet, Red Farmer. They’re all from Hueytown.

Anne: Wow, how interesting. So there’s a car culture there that’s pretty strong.

Paige: Yeah. People like to highlight that. And some of the local restaurants, I don’t know if they still do now, but one we used to go to called The Iceberg, which this may be, I’ve been told. I now live in West Virginia. people say this is a very southern thing, but do you know the concept of a meat and three?

Anne: No.

Paige: Okay, so, in the South, you have restaurants that are known as Meat and Threes. And basically these are restaurants where you go in and they have, let’s say a list of three meats and, like, ten to 15 vegetables. And so most people would get a, ah, meat and three vegetables. and so you call them meat and threes. they’re the best. They’re amazing. I love them.

Anne: what would be the vegetable choices? Like, you could get greens or corn or black-eyed peas.

Paige: Let me tell you, you could get anything from creamed corn, macaroni and cheese. That’s a vegetable in the south. candied yams, green beans, lima beans, butterbeans, black-eyed peas, collard greens, squash.  A lot of people do like tomato and okra, fried okra.

Anne: Now I see why people love it, because there are so many options for the vegetable options. If you go to the Midwest, you get to choose potatoes, a really bland salad and corn. There’s like three options. Okay.

Paige: No, if you go to a Meat and Three, I feel like you’re going to get some pretty solid choices. if you’re ever in Birmingham, for sure, go to Nikki’s west. I, think it’s probably the best around at the moment.

Anne: Oh, wow. Is that just like an Alabama thing, the meet in three? Or is it something in the South, what you would say?

Paige: I honestly can’t say for sure, but I feel like it is at least Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, and probably Northern Florida. like, in the panhandle, where it’s, like, on the border with Georgia and Alabama.

Anne: Yeah, I want to go. I love southern food so much. Like, with my grandmother growing up in Mississippi, we would often go down to the south and eat the best food in the world. Yeah.

Did you have a Southern accent growing up or did it fade away?

And speaking of food, just because I want to ask you about the idea of, like, when someone says they want a soda, I guess, does that represent any drink you want, like coke? It could be.

Paige: It did when I was younger, and I know that especially, like, in generations before mine, it was just kind of like a way to say you wanted a soft drink. but I think if I speak from my generation, and probably those that have come after, I don’t think it’s used that much anymore. Now, I could be wrong on this. I haven’t lived in Alabama as such for the last 13 years ish, maybe 14 years. but it did at one point just kind of, like, in, some of the Northern states, you’d say, like pop, right?

Anne: Yeah, exactly. We would just say pop. Okay, so your southern accent is very, like, I don’t really hear it. Did you have a stronger accent growing up there? And then you sort of like, yeah.

Paige: I definitely had an accent. and I think people are a little disappointed when I say I’m from Alabama and I don’t have a heavy Southern accent. but my coworkers in Columbia, who, some of them were from the US and some of them were from England and Canada, they would say that it really came out after I had been home for an extended period of time. So I would go home for two or three weeks at Christmas or the winter holidays, and I would come back and they were like, oh, you can tell you’ve been in Alabama. but, yeah, I think just living abroad, for the past 12 or 13 years, I think it just kind of, I don’t know, faded away. I don’t know.

Anne: Yeah, that’s what happens to a lot of people who live in different parts of the country. They grew up in the South, and I know, like, my mother grew up in the South, and then she lived in Iowa for so many years that her accent disappeared completely.

Paige: Yeah.

Anne: There are certain words that she would say with a Southern accent. 

Paige: Okay, I was about to say, I know, this is not really accent related, but, in the South, I’m not sure exactly which states. I can say Alabama for sure, we use double modals, and I wasn’t even aware of this until I lived in Columbia. I was working on a curriculum project with a coworker from the Isle of Man and a coworker from outside of Toronto in Canada. And, we were working on something, and I said, I don’t even remember what I said. And they were, what? What did you just say? And I was like, what do you mean? And I thought they were talking about the content of what I said. And I repeated it and they were like, no, you can’t say that.

Anne: And I was like, dramatically incorrect, kind of.

Paige: You’re using double modals. And I was like, what are you talking about? yeah, so they made me aware of that. And in the moment I was kind of like, oh, I never knew this. So then being the person that I am, I did a deep dive into where did double modals come from? And, today I actually embrace them and feel, that they are a very important part of my Southern heritage. and it’s something that there’s a lot of studies on because they actually mean very different things than what you can express by using singular modals. Like, if you, know, we might could do this. That’s very different from saying we could or we might do this. Yes, we might could.

Anne: Okay, so that’s a double model. Yeah, I definitely have heard that before in the South. Yeah.

Paige: So any of those are like, we might, would, might, could, might, should. those are all very.

Anne: It’s a way to suggest doing something.

Paige: Yeah.

Paige: And it adds a bit of, I think a little more hedging than you might get with other modals. So if you say, well, you might should think about that a little more, I’m not telling you you should think about it a little more. You might should. And I don’t know, I’d be curious to talk to someone that studied this more if that’s related to southern hospitality or the southern wanting people to feel comfortable and avoiding, kind of direct confrontations and things of that nature. I don’t know the theory I have.

Anne: Yeah. And for people who don’t know what hedging is, it’s like softening. Right? Softening the language a little bit.

Paige: Yeah.

Anne: That’s really fascinating what you’re saying about might, should, might, could. And I love the fact that you’re kind of owning it. It’s like this is part of my, ah, linguistic identity, and it sounds really beautiful when you say it. I love hearing that being said. That’s what’s so great about some of the Southern accents in general. It’s just like musical and sing-songy and you just want to hear it and just soak it in.

You work as an english language educator and also work in edtech

I know you haven’t really told us too much about the kind of work you do, so maybe you could fill us in. I know we met through the Virtual Education program, so. The Virtual Educator program through the US State Department. So we’re both Virtual Educators working with… I’m working with students in Mexico and your students are in Brazil, right?

Paige: Yeah.

Anne: And you also work in edtech. You have an App.

Paige: Yeah, yeah.

Paige: So I’ll just give you kind of the short version. but I am an english language educator, by profession or by, you know, that’s my academic background, and I’ve been working in that area for about 17 years, and I started in the US in public schools, I continued working in England while I was doing my Master’s, working with, adult refugees, spanish and Italian kids who were doing language summer camps, and Chinese students who were hoping to study at UK universities, and then spent eleven years in Colombia, in Baranquia as a program coordinator and assistant professor, also English language at the university. And then, yeah, in 2022, I moved back to the US after, I’m trying to think, 12 or 13 years abroad. my wife started her PhD here in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Anne: It’s so amazing how it’s kind of like the paths take us to so many different countries and places.

Paige: Yeah.

Paige: something I think that it’s incredibly rewarding. And I know a lot of people get into teaching English because of that. That wasn’t my initial reason for getting into teaching English, but I can’t say that I don’t like that part of it, but yeah, so getting to where you were, talking about what I’m doing now in 2022, we moved back to the US, well, my wife’s first time, she’s Colombian, and I, was looking for work. And, I think different from a lot of educators out there, I wasn’t actively looking to move into ed tech, but that was kind of the job that I found and felt it really aligned with what I wanted to do. So I started working at Pangaea chat, which is an AI powered instant messaging app that allows students to learn a language while texting their friends.

Paige: Pretty cool.

Anne: Yeah, very cool.

Paige: Yeah.

Paige: And then at the same time, as you mentioned, pure, ah, coincidence, started working as a Virtual Educator as well, with the US embassy in Brazil on a project that I love, and I love my students.  I’ve been working on this project since October of 2022. teaching indigenous and minority Brazilians in the legal Amazon region, English, and it’s been great.

Anne: Unique opportunity. How incredible.

Paige: Yeah.

Paige: And that’s kind of where I am, actually. Tomorrow I start a new job.

Paige: Yeah.

Paige: so I’m transitioning still within the ed tech, field, but working with, brisk teaching also still AI. I’m fascinated about how AI is helping. I think teachers in all sorts of way, and students as well and a little bit different. This one is, Brisk Teaching and it has a chrome extension.

Anne: Yeah, I’ve been trying it out. You recommended it the other day. I have it on my computer.

Paige: Awesome.

Anne: I love that you’re going to start working with teaching. How fun.

Paige: Yeah.

Paige: it’s interesting too, I think see all the different ways. Like I said, that AI is coming in as kind of this super assistant, for the classroom.

Paige: Fascinating.

Anne: I think I know, it’s so fascinating. Well, that’s amazing. That’s great.

I’m curious about your identity and growing up in the Bible Belt as a lesbian…

Okay, so I wanted to ask you about your identity and growing up in the Bible Belt as a lesbian. Right. I’m just kind of curious because we know that the Southern states have this sort of religious angle and I guess I’m kind of curious about that now and the fact that you’re not living there anymore. So I’m wondering if it’s an issue. I know, just I guess you’ve moved around for a lot of different reasons, but I’m wondering if you feel more comfortable now, in another part of the United States now or do you think you would still feel at home there?

Paige: Yeah. So let me start from the beginning and I’ll work my way towards the end of that question. I think that’ll give some better context in terms of, growing up in the Bible Belt. I think, I grew up in a very, small town. It was very conservative. It has, I think changed, quite a bit since I haven’t lived there. The same as Birmingham. but it definitely was, I don’t know if maybe this is a good way to explain it, but a very kind of like sheltered environment overall where you didn’t really hear about even the possibility of someone not being a straight cisgender person for a long time. It wasn’t even possible to kind of contemplate being anything other than that. I guess when I was, finishing high school was when I realized, hey, the reason that you’ve never been interested in guys, or when people ask you like, hey, do you have a crush on anyone? I would always be like, no, because I never contemplated, like, oh, I can like a girl.

Anne: Oh, interesting. It’s like, outside of the realm of possibilities.

Paige: Yeah, exactly.

Paige: It’s like you don’t know what you can have if, you don’t know that it exists. Getting more at kind of the other part of the question. there was a really tough period for me when I came out publicly, which was, I’m trying to think this was my first semester at university. So that would have been in 2006, in December. And, that period, I would say, and probably for the next maybe four to five years, was kind of a really rough figuring out how to be who I am, who I was. But also, I think a big part of being Southern is you worry about what other people think on maybe a different level than you do in other regions, because you don’t want people to feel bad or you don’t want to feel like you’ve made someone feel bad. And so I definitely think there’s a bit of that, involved in some aspects of being who you are because you’re worried they might offend people.

Paige: Yeah.

Anne: There’s, like, social pressure, and the community is so strong, that sense of community, maybe.

Paige: Yeah.

Paige: And then, I think regarding feeling comfortable, I do have to say I did, when I was finishing my undergrad, make the decision that I wanted to be outside the US for a while. And while that was motivated by many factors, one of them was definitely wanting to live in a country where, gay rights were recognized, where it was legal, know, if I wanted to marry someone, then I could without worrying about the law impeding that. and so I got a Rotary ambassadorial scholarship through, my local rotary club.

Anne: Wow.

Paige: And, yeah, that finances a Master’s study abroad. I don’t know if it still exists. but you basically choose.

Anne: Yeah, the Rotary programs are really strong. Right. For study abroad programs. Yeah.

Paige: And promoting, you know, that intercultural understanding and awareness. and so as part of that, you choose three countries and a university in each of those countries that you would like to study at, and then they make kind of the final. This is where, for whatever reason, we would like to have you study under the scholarship. And all three countries that I chose at that time, I chose them based on the fact that they were, very progressive in terms of LGBTQ plus rights. and so those were England, Canada, and the Netherlands. and as I mentioned, I ended up in England.

Anne: Fantastic. Did you go to London?

Paige: No.

Paige: So I was actually in Leads. Leeds I don’t know if you know. it’s about 4 hours north, four and a half hours north of London. and, it’s an industrial city. it was great, though. Yorkshire, it’s in West Yorkshire, but the whole Yorkshire region is.

Paige: Beautiful.

Paige: and, yeah, that’s, that’s where I ended up.

When you were living there, did you have certain realizations about the US?

Anne: When you were living there, did you have certain realizations about Alabama or about the US, or, I don’t know. Sometimes living outside of your own country, you have the reverse culture shock. Right?

Paige: Yeah.

Paige: I don’t know that that happened so much in England. I do remember just kind of feeling like it was refreshing to not have to worry whether my identity was illegal or not, or like a political topic. Right. Instead of just who I was. And so in that sense, it was really refreshing. I think on a cultural level, most of it was more related to. So, like, I remember going to the grocery store, and in the South, we would say a buggy. And I just really wanted a buggy. And, I went up to someone in Morrison’s, one of the chain grocery stores there, and I was know, like, Where are the buggies at? And, I remember he looked at me and he was like, it’s a trolley here. It’s a trolley. And I was like, thanks for that.

Paige: Actually.

Anne: That’s funny that he knew you were talking about the buggy.

Paige: I don’t know if he knew particularly buggy, but I think he knew, like, oh, you’re American, you don’t know that we call these things here trolleys. and similarly, I was looking for squash. Like summer squash, the yellow kind of crookneck squash. And I also asked someone in a grocery store, where is your squash at? And, he, very nice, proceeded to walk me down the aisle, and as we’re getting further and further away from the vegetables, and I’m like, where are we going? Took me to the drink aisle, because squash is like a mix that you can, dilute with water. That’s kind of offered at bars if you want something non alcoholic to drink. And I was like, whoa.

Anne: Okay. They call it something completely different squash.

Paige: So corgette is what you would call, like, zucchini.

Anne: yeah. Wow. Yeah.

Paige: I’m trying to think if there were any cultural realizations. and I’m sure there were. Just none are coming to my mind.

Anne: Things are really compact in England, right? Everything is so tight. The spaces are tight, it’s really crowded. I don’t know if.

Paige: So in Leeds, I didn’t feel that, Leeds is kind of. There’s definitely a city, know that’s very business oriented, has a fantastic market.

Paige: the Leeds market is really well known, the Kurtgate market, but, outside of the downtown area. So, like, around the university, it’s actually really green. Like, there’s a huge park and kind of the.

Anne: Like, uh-huh.

Paige: You don’t look around buildings and things like that. It’s very,

Anne: Nice.

Paige: Maybe if you were in a bigger city, I guess, than Leeds, you might feel more like London, for example. You kind of always feel like you’re in the city, I guess.

Anne: Yeah, for sure. And then did you meet your wife there in England? Yeah.

Paige: No, so we actually met in Columbia.

Paige: Yeah.

Anne: So after you graduated, then you moved to Columbia on a different project.

Paige: So when I graduated from my Master’s, I moved to Columbia, and at that point, my wife and I were both working at the same university, but we didn’t start dating until 2014. So I moved to Columbia in October of 2011, and we kind of knew who the other one was, but we weren’t in the same friend circles, or we had a cordial professional relationship.

Anne: And then you just kind of stayed there. You ended up staying there.

Paige: Yeah, I was there from 2011 until 2021. It was July 2021 was when we moved back to the States. but we kept working remotely for our university in Columbia for a year before we, So I may have been off on those dates early in the conversation.

Anne: Oh, no, it’s no problem.

You speak fluent Spanish 

But nevertheless, I was just curious because you speak Spanish so well, because I heard you in the podcast episode that you shared with me, and I was like, wow, your Spanish is amazing. So it must have just been immersion, and you’ve probably studied.

Paige: So I studied in high school. I went to an international baccalaureate school.

Paige: Neat.

Paige: M. Yeah. So I had to take a language. Our options were Spanish, French, and German. I did Spanish for four years. and then I studied it at the University of Alabama. My degree was in Spanish and international studies.

Anne: I have a BA in Spanish, too.

Paige: How cool. Yes.

Anne: Then your Master’s, though, was in linguistics or something, right?

Paige: It was in TESOL studies. but I really think my Spanish, fluency was cemented. I did a semester abroad in Bogota, Columbia, when I was a, I want to say a sophomore at the University of Alabama, and that’s when I arrived to Bogota. And, after, like, two weeks, I was like, I can’t do. Like, I am going back. Like, I don’t understand anything that’s happening. I can’t do the readings for my classes. and then I pushed, like, there were no Spanish language classes at that time. It was also very uncommon for international students to be studying abroad in Colombia, given kind of the internal conflict, between the government, and groups like the FARC, and so they just didn’t have a market for offering Spanish classes. So I was in political science classes with Colombian students.

Anne: High school. High school level. How fun.

Paige: University level.

Anne: You were at the university level? I thought it was when you were a sophomore in high school.

Paige: No, a sophomore at the university.

Paige: Yeah.

Paige: Sorry, I shouldn’t clarify that.

Anne: Fantastic.

Paige: But, yeah, I feel like pushing through that, and then after, like, three months, I had kind of that chip change in my brain, and I was actually able to communicate and understand.

Anne: it was like, you through and just had this breakthrough.

Paige: Yeah.

Paige: People would tell me, they were like, you get to this point where you don’t even realize it happens, but all of a sudden you can just speak and understand. And I really felt like that’s what it was like for me. I don’t remember a specific moment. It just kind of happened.

Anne: M. Yeah. And now sometimes it’s like you’re speaking one language, you don’t realize what language you’re speaking. And then you’re like, what? Do you ever feel like you’re just like, what language? Did I just say that? And I have no.

Paige: Yep.

Paige: Or I forget words. I’ll be at home with my family in Alabama, and I’ll be like, I don’t remember how to say this in English.

Paige: And they’ll be like, how do you not remember how to say something in your first language? How do you just forget that? Well, let me tell you.

Anne: And just out of curiosity, are there any interesting slang words from Alabama?

Paige: Like hala?

Anne: I don’t know if there’s some. Or do people call it Bama, the state? Or they call it Alabama, or do they say with a certain southern accent? Because when I did the New Orleans episode, she’s like, no, we say New Orleans here.

Paige: Yeah.

Anne: I don’t know if the pronunciation of Alabama, how would you say it?

Paige: I think, like, a good Southerner would probably say, like, Alabama, Alabama, Alabama.

Anne: lengthen out those a sounds a little bit more,

Paige: Yeah.

Paige: So you hear, thinking about, I think, a good slang that people always find interesting, and I think a lot of people outside of Alabama don’t know about this is, in Alabama, football is really big, especially the university of Alabama. And, kind of the slogan I guess you would say for the team is RollTide. Have you heard this? When you’re at a football game and there’s a touchdown, people are going to go Roll Tide. so anyways, in Alabama, you will hear Roll Tide. You will see Roll Tide. But it’s not only used as part of Alabama football, but people use it to say thank you. people use it to say, good job. or if something good happens, they’ll use it as kind of like an exclamation, I guess, of, yeah, like roll tide. Did you hear know so and so got a new job? there’s even a. Yeah. ESPN commercial that you should check out that they did on the Roll Tide phenomena. And at the end of the commercial, it says something like, football is more than a sport, it’s a lifestyle. And they use the roll tide phenomena to kind of, I guess, explain that or show that.

Anne: I love that. And so it’s just like R-O-L roll and then T-I-D-E tied.

Paige: Yes.

Paige: The backstory on that is, in Alabama, there are two, main football teams, Alabama and Auburn. And they are rivals. and in, I want to say it was the early 19 hundreds. Could have been, I don’t know, closer to 1930. Don’t quote me on a date, but Alabama and Auburn had a game together, and Alabama was the underdog of the game. And everybody had been saying their colors are red and white. And everyone had been saying that Alabama was the thin red line. But they played so well in the game that by the end of the game, people were talking about the crimson tide that had rolled over their enemy. And so from that came this roll tide, roll. Like, keep rolling over your enemy type.

Paige: Yeah.

Anne: Wow.

Roll Tide says so much about the culture of Alabama

Yeah. There’s so much history behind this expression, too.

Paige: Yeah, for sure.

Anne: and it says so much about the culture. So do people kind of sing it? Is it kind of sing-songy, too? It’s like Roll Tide. Like, people say it in a certain way. Yeah, I’m sure it’s like a song.

Paige: M. Yeah.

Paige: Okay.

Paige: So I was going to say even. there are some songs, like Dixie Land Delight, for example. I’m trying to think. And they’ll play them at the football games. Or if you’re with people who are Alabama fans, there are moments in the song where people will interject like, Roll Tide, Roll on the space that’s pausing in the songs. so, yeah, it must be so.

Anne: Much fun to go to a football game in Alabama.

Paige: It’s definitely a unique experience, for sure.

Anne: Oh, my gosh.

Good manners are highly appreciated in the South, I think

And, just to kind of close out, I have a question. Let’s say someone comes to the South, right? And they’re trying to navigate the Southern culture. and I’m just wondering if you have any tips for someone who went to the South and they were staying with a family or visiting. What do you think would help them in terms of kind of entering the culture and being able to navigate a little bit? Like for, like, if you go to someone’s house, should you take a box of chocolates or. I don’t know. Like, this idea of Southern hospitality I know is important, but if you visited someone in the South, what do you think?

Paige: Yeah, I’m just thinking, I don’t know that a gift is always expected, I would say it’s not. It would be like an extra touch of like, oh, that’s incredibly nice of you, or, that’s really sweet of you. but I think that people are more concerned about taking care of you.

Paige: If that makes sense. Like making sure you’re okay. I will say that, good manners are highly appreciated in the south.

Anne: And like, saying, yes, Ma’am, Sir.

Paige: Yeah.

Paige: So, Yes, Ma’am and No, Sir. I grew up in a household where if you said yes, my dad would be like, yes, what? Yes, Sir or no what? No, Ma’am. and so I think that that may be a bit generational as well. I still say it, especially to show respect to people who are older than I am. and I think a lot of people still do that. But anything of that nature of just showing respect, showing good manners, I think, is going to go a long way in, I guess, keeping a good relationship with people. it’s very appreciated. The idea of a warm greeting when you meet someone or if you’re going into the classroom or a store, I think that’s appreciated as, that, yeah.

Anne: I think there’s a sense of warmth, right. Because sometimes in certain parts of the US, it’s very like people are cold or the greetings are cold, but in the South, people are just so warm and welcoming from what I’ve experienced.

Paige: Yeah.

Paige: And there’s a lot of, I, guess I would call it maybe like layering. So being direct can be okay. But oftentimes people layer directness in a lot of, flowery, warm language to make sure that, the person feels comfortable and it’s not going to be too tough of a blow. Or there is that underlying desire, I think, to not make someone feel bad or make them feel uncomfortable. It’s sometimes like this in the movies, and I think that this is true probably in a lot of cases. But, if someone is going to say something bad about you, they’re not going to say it to your face. They’re going to wait till you’re gone far away and probably tell people that it’ll never get back to you. Type of, I don’t know.

Anne: We have this expression, she’s two-faced or they’re two-faced. That kind of idea of being two-faced.

Paige: No, not necessarily that, but, for example, I don’t know. This is a made up example. This has never happened. But I don’t know. Let’s say that we’re in a store and we see someone come in, and, I don’t know, maybe their outfit is pretty horrible. We might never say anything. We might even tell that person, like, oh, I love how you combine those colors, or that’s a great combination or whatever. And then once that person’s gone, we might be. Would never wear that. Did you believe what she was wearing? but you would never say that to the person. And, in fact, you might overcompensate when you’re around that person to make sure that they feel good.

Paige: Does that make sense?

Anne: That’s hilarious. That’s hilarious. Yeah. In some cultures, for example, you could say, like, oh, you look so chubby, you look so fat, or something like that. I had my Vietnamese friend, they would always comment on her weight openly. But I don’t know if in the South, if people comment on the weight, but in the Midwest, people, it’s a no no. You should never say anything about someone’s weight to their face.

Paige: Yeah.

Paige: I don’t actually know, in the South about that, actually. I know in Colombia, that was a big thing.

Anne: Oh, it was, yeah.

Paige: Because you see them, they’re like, oh, it looks like you’ve gained a little bit of weight or your skinny.

Paige: Right.

Anne: Everything is a comment on the physical, how you’re looking. But in the US, I feel like in general, more so than not, people will compliment rather than say something that could potentially offend someone about their appearance. Yeah, great.

Well, thank you so much. I have learned so much about Alabama culture, about you, about your story, and it’s been really interesting. Thank you for bringing up so many fascinating details and sharing with us, a little bit about yourself.

Paige: Absolutely.

Anne: Making the stage seem so attractive. It makes me want to try the  Three Meat.

Paige: The Meat and Three Meat and Three.

Paige: Yes.

Paige: Go to Nikki’s west and Bourbon.

Anne: I’ll go in and be like, I want to do a meet Three Meat or something? They’ll be like, no, what are you talking about?

Paige: Yes.

Paige: They’ll be like, what?

Anne: Okay, great. Well, thank you so much.

Paige: Yeah, thank you for having me. It’s been fun to talk about all this.

Anne: I hope you enjoyed listening to this conversation. And this episode was so fascinating. I learned a ton myself about Alabama, and I really want to go check out the amazing places that Paige mentioned. So thanks for joining, us, and I hope you got a lot out of it. Also, you can listen to the podcast while following along with the transcript. And this can be great as well, just to pick up some vocabulary and learn. Go over the collocations, for example, that, came up in the conversation. So check out that, if you go to my website,, you can look at a number of images, visuals, conversation, questions. I put on some great vocabulary, topics to talk about as well. And I think you’ll love all of the complimentary materials that go with this podcast episode and the upcoming episodes to look forward to. Well, the next one is going to be about East coast versus West coast culture. So we’re doing a very special webinar on March 14, with guest speaker Glee Lugo. So you can join us and sign up for that. And then also, I’ll be doing an episode on Passions and Hobies on the West Coast, Crochet in the Bay with our guest Helen, who hasn’t joined us for a long time, but she’s recorded a number of podcast episodes with me, so I can’t wait for you to hear that episode where she talks about some of her greatest passions and hobbies.

Anne: So we have a lot of great episodes coming up this season, and also because I’m traveling to Tampa for TESOL Global, I’m going to be connecting with tons of teachers from all over the USA. So I’m hoping to be able to record a few wonderful podcast episodes there. There’s some people on the list. I want to bring someone in who lives in Hawaii.

Anne: I want to bring someone who lives in Kentucky, like some other states that I just haven’t featured yet.

Anne: I think there’s some great people on the list. So I hope you leave us a wonderful review on Apple Podcast or on Spotify, wherever you listen. And, yeah, just give some support. put up a comment on YouTube, for example, and let us know what questions you have or if there’s certain places in the US that you want to learn more about or that you want to be featured in the coming episodes.

Anne: Have a great day, everyone. Thanks for joining us today. See you next time.