I happened to mention in an earlier post that Delta’s roots are in Southern hospitality…and then I remembered that sometimes there’s this negative perception of Southerners that I, being born and raised in Atlanta, think is somewhat undeserved.
Sure, we talk funny. We speak slowly and drop the g’s off the end of our words. And, at times you may hear a Delta flight attendant or gate agent from Atlanta use words like “y’all.” So, I said to myself (in my very best Southern drawl, of course), “Self—in the interest of bridging the cultural gap, perhaps you should explain.” Here we go…
It’s just hot down here. And, it’s really humid. In the days before central A/C, if you did anything too quickly, you might just expire on the spot! That included communication. The pace of life, including speaking, varies based on climate. Ponder that for a moment…and you may agree. Also, in spite of whatever accent you may encounter, some of our folks speak multiple languages, and all of us are encouraged to remember that we serve customers all around the globe.
This one’s just the product of a basic flaw with the English language. Human nature makes us uncomfortable with the ambiguity of “you” being singular and plural. I’ve studied Spanish, French, and Russian just enough to know that they’ve successfully solved for this. In English-speaking countries, we create workarounds. There are some workarounds that I can’t even spell, so in defense of “y’all,” at least it’s a proper contraction of two words: “you” and “all.” It’s the Southern solution for second person, plural. Makes perfect sense, right?
You may find our ways a little strange, but on the upside, we Southerners are raised to say “Ma’am” and “Sir” and be respectful, and the hospitality thing is no lie. It’s in our DNA to stop to lend a hand or advice if you let us know you need help (and oftentimes, even if you don’t!)
So, there’s a little glimpse into why we are the way we are “down here.” I hope you found it enlightening, thought-provoking, or at the very least, vaguely amusing. If so, let me know and I’ll shed some light on other mysterious terms like “fixin’ to.”
Manager – Website Content
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