I Speak Texan. That’s a Lot Like English.

September 30, 2011 By: Juanita Jean Herownself Category: Uncategorized

So a fancy pants professor at Texas A&M University wrote an editorial in the Houston Comical this morning.  He was trying to say that Rick Perry was not doing well on the national stage because Rick speaks Texan and the rest of the country doesn’t.

That’s pure unadulterated Caca de Toro.

Rick Perry is not doing well on the national stage because he’s an undereducated idiot.

Professor John R. Hanson II can kiss my butt.  I am a fifth generation Texan, totally educated in Texas public schools and universities, and I’ll take on all comers with Shakespeare or Aristophanes.  I know the poetry of Dante and Willie Nelson.   We are not some hick outpost.  Nor have we developed some kind of language that only twins understand.

And then the professor tries this little ditty —

It is therefore not surprising that our leading politicians today have a handicap performing on the national stage. Nor did previous political leaders from Texas, such as Lyndon Johnson, Lloyd Bentsen, John Connally or Sam Rayburn have reputations as grand orators.

First off, Lyndon Johnson and Sam Rayburn performed pretty darn well when it came to wielding power.

But, more importantly, did Hanson not hear Barbara Jordan?  Ann Richards?  Bill Moyers?  Charlie Wilson?  Henry Cisneros?   Senfronia Thompson?  And I know you Texans out there can help me with other names I’m forgetting in my desire to drive to College Station today and get all up in Professor Hanson’s face.

Hell, Cicero probably came from Texas.

Thanks to Bubba for the heads-up this morning when he spit coffee all over his newspaper while reading that it’s Texas’ fault that Rick Perry can’t communicate with adults.

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37 Comments to “I Speak Texan. That’s a Lot Like English.”


  1. Kate oDubhagain says:

    My husband speaks fluent Bubba with his friends and family, but when he gets in front of his college class it’s proper American English.

    Most of us are fluent in both languages, but I don’t think Perry is smart enough to be able to do this.

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  2. Terrific post. Dan Rather and Molly Ivins also come to mind, to say nothing of some pretty great actors.

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  3. She was born in California, but raised in Houston. She didn’t hold political office, but, boy howdy, could she talk and write like she was Texas-born.

    Molly Ivins.

    We will miss her forever.

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  4. And people wonder why there are Aggie jokes…

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  5. Um . . . . in that line about LBJ and Rayburn, did you mean to say wielding instead of yielding? I kinda remember them as not yielding much unless they got what they wanted for it.

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  6. Juanita Jean says:

    Yes, I did, Mary. I just went back and changed it. As you can tell, I was more than a tad upset.

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  7. shortpeople says:

    If I recall it correctly, LBJ started out as a school teacher.

    Might I add Linda Ellerbee and Robert E. Howard to the list of literate Texans? And Kinky Friedman (Transplanted from Chicago (?) at an early age) but who can thrive in climates from New York to New Guinea.

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  8. “Perfesser” Hanson’s theory is so wrong it’s laughable. People didn’t seem to have a problem understanding Lloyd Bentsen…or Ralph Yarborough…or Mickey Leland.

    Maybe the rest of the country just thinks (to borrow Clark Clifford’s memorable description of Ronald Reagan) he’s an “amiable dunce”.

    P.S. I was born, raised and have lived my entire life in Texas, but people tell me I “don’t sound like a Texan”…I’m still not sure what that means.

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  9. “Perfesser” Hanson, I might point out, teaches at Texas A&M, the institution that edumacated Icky Ricky in the first place. I can fully understand why he would be striving to excuse Gov. Goodhair’s abysmal ignorance.

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  10. Lorraine in Spring says:

    Heck, I’m a Yankee and I can understand Perry saying stupid stuff clear as a bell.

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  11. shortpeople says:

    While I was growing up in a suburb of the Paris of the Appalachians, my Dad, a son of Slovakian immigrants, was fanatic about proper enunciation, pronunciation, and grammar. His thoughts, conveyed often and sternly, were that some people on learning my surname, would assume I was just a Dumb Mill Hunky (a implied profanity hanging tantalizingly between the Dumb and Mill) and that it would serve me well not to give anyone reason to ascribe truth to that assessment. He also maintained, that when speaking in public or upon introduction to strangers, use of anything less than standard American English constructions and usage could be perceived as either disrespectful or slovenly or both. He was so successful in his endeavors that I have been told that there is no possible way that I can be from Pittsburgh, at least not until I tell someone I need to go home and red up the house.

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  12. Ralph Wiggam says:

    Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison are also well spoken Texans.

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  13. It is not Texas’ fault that Perry can’t communicate with adults, but it may be Perry’s fault if future Texans can’t. He’s not a big fan of education.

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  14. m in El Paso says:

    Born a child & grandchild of German immigrants and married to an ethnic & Pittsburgh compatriot of “shortpeople,” I grew up in a midwest steel town & retired with my “hunky” husband to El Paso, TX (sun, desert, mountains, & a university). I’ve never heard a neighbor or acquaintance (in 13 years here) speak “Texan.” Spanish, yes, Spanglish, yes. More evidence, I assert, that our whole west end of Texas should have been annexed to New Mexico, where we’d be the largest city in the state instead of the forgotten city. And not tarred by the stupid assertions of a poorly educated Texas governor.

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  15. Larry McMurtery and Walter Cronkite. Sissy Spacek and Lyle Lovett. Barbara Praise God Jordan.

    The trouble with Ricky isn’t the color of his language, but the content of his character. If you translated him into French or Chinese he’d still sound stupid.

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  16. Mr shortpeople:Keep it clean. Its “redd” up the house! And, from my perspective, you should not make known your Parisian roots when Da Stillers are coming to town. As they are this weekend to Houston which may not be where yinz are.

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  17. Stephen Weinstein says:

    Not to be forgotten is one of my all-time favorite Texans – The Lone Ranger. Like Kinky, TLR borders on fiction but, both are more dimnesional than Gov. Perry.

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  18. Dave Whitefield says:

    Even though he wasn’t a Texan like me, I think Forrest Gump had Perry pegged when he said, “Stupid is as stupid does.” Or something to that effect.

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  19. Smart “Bubbas” find themselves a big hair, big mouth super intelligent Texas “good ol’ gal and quietly support her as she raises hell with the right wingnuts. Dummies like Icky Ricky marry whiners who will whine about how mistreated their own “bubba” is.

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  20. So that’s what was wrong with W, he spoke Texan.

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  21. Don A in Pennsyltucky says:

    A professor of economics telling us about English? That’s kind of like all the other stuff most of the economists have been peddling of late. He sounds like one of those Very Serious People that Prof. Krugman likes to talk about who, as he puts it, “have been making up stories on the fly” to justify their positions.

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  22. EClaire, I love yew!! Your last sentence says it all and I’d love to borrow it..

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  23. Corinne Sabo says:

    This Texan resents that idiot professor saying I and other Texans apeak so poorly we are unintelligible to the rest of the country. Ever heard of an educated idiot?

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  24. Lisa Falkenberg says:

    Good post. I’ve been steaming about that Op-Ed all day. I’m fifth-generation Texan, too, and I speak real good. I can think of plenty of other Texans who do and did, too. Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards. Charlie Wilson. Heck, when Sylvester Turner gets going you can hear a pin drop in the Texas House. But the only problem is … they’re all Dems. I can’t think of a single great Texas orator who is/was a Republican. There had to have been one or two. Who am I missing?

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  25. I’m reminded of the comment offered by the Rice MOB (Marching Owl Band that never marches) on the Aggies move to the SEC:

    We would like to congratulate the SEC and the Big 12 on the Aggies’ move which has raised the average IQ of both conferences.

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  26. EClaire, you made my day. I am totally stealing that line.

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  27. Perry’s speech is either an affectation or stupidity, but probably some of both. He has in his little mind what a “tough Texas cowboy” is supposed to sound and act like. So far it’s served him well, but he ain’t in Texas anymore. Today he said he would scrape Obamacare, instead of saying he would scrap it, which I took to mean he didn’t know what the heck he was reading.

    I was born in Texas and raised in South Texas. In my late 20’s I moved to Los Angeles, and people consistently told me I didn’t sound anything like a Texan. I got tired of explaining to people that most people in Texas didn’t talk like people in Western movies.

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  28. Ellen Childress says:

    How about Vassar Miller, Larry Thomas, William Barney. It’s difficult to remember how Perry got to be governor in the first place. But some bunch of idiots had to have voted for him. No one seems willing to step up and claim him.

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  29. How about Barbara Jordan and Paul Begala? I don’t believe I ever heard anyone saying their “Texan” got in the way of their ideas?
    And Jim Hightower, always makes sense to me.

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  30. ya’ll made my day. lol. this damn yankee gringa nearly choked when i read the professor’s blarney.

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  31. Liz Smith, Carol Burnett, Melinda Gates, Dale Evans, Mary Martin, Katherine Ann Porter, Jim Lehrer, Elmer Kelton, John Nance Garner, Tommy Lee Jones and J. Frank Dolbie come to mind when I’m considering people who speak or spoke Texas.

    Rick Perry? Not so much. Unless of course we’re classifying the kinds of small minded, stereotypical blowhards in the popular vernacular. That’s an educated, 6th generation Texan’s opinion in any case.

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  32. and how did I ever forget John Henry Faulk? or am I dating myself?
    Renee Zelwegier is from Texas too, No? And the Dixie Chicks. Carol Burnett? Sandra Bullock? Not to mention the many Texans I know personally that never confused me.
    And Rick Perry has been pretty clear speaking to me, I understand him, I just don’t like what he says or don’t trust him.

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  33. Well now who the hell knew I would wake up and read the funniest thing ever written? Am cancelling my set and perm at your place because I suppose I can die now. After I clean up the coffee I just spewed all over my desk from the best belly laugh I’ve had in a week. Thanks, Juanita Jean.

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  34. OldMayfly says:

    So many great comments here! Please, please all you Texans who have commented–put your comments in a Letter to the Editor and shoot it off to the Houston Chronicle.

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  35. Worn under the Celt says:

    To be terse: “It ain’t the lingo. It’s the gringo.”

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  36. Nita. OK, first, I was sent a link to your site by my in-laws in Oregon. Why I had to find you via Oregon is a puzzle.

    Second, if I follow the good professor’s idiot-logical premise, the only American even capable of understanding the pompous prick, Rick Perry, are other native Texans.

    Well boo-freekin hoo if it was true, and since it isn’t true, I say SCREW RICK PERRY!

    It seems that only the national press has managed to both see through Rick Perry’s crap and also call him on it.

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  37. I know I late to the party, but did anyone think to mention.

    Walter Cronkite
    Horton Foote
    William Broyles
    Vassar Miller
    Katherine Anne Porter

    or take your pick – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Writers_from_Texas

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