Down here in Georgia, the words okay, alright, and the like are used, but only towards your friends that are your age or younger. If I were to even think about usin’ ’em to talk to my Mama and Daddy, not only would I get a raised eyebrow, but the use of my middle name combined with my first name as well in that voice parents use when they’re about to give you a whoopin’.
As a rule of thumb, if someone is five years or more older than you, you MUST add a “ma’am” or “sir” to your response to their question or request. I know some people from above the Mason Dixon line who have told me that usin’ ma’am and sir is a sign of disrespect or saracasm. Well not down here, y’all. This might as well be the eleventh commandment.
And don’t y’all be forgettin’ about your standard “nice words” that your mama engrained into y’all’s heads before you had company over for the first time since you learned to speak: please and thank you. I really hope y’all are sayin’ “duh” as you read this because this is such an obvious rule, but y’all never know how some mamas raised their young’uns.
Last but not least, when y’all do have company over, whether it’s for a gourmet country fried steak dinner with all the fixin’s or just a glass of iced tea on the porch, y’all always invite ’em back with the southern standard, “Y’all come back now, ya here?!” This don’t mean you have to invite ’em back if they were horrible company that didn’t mind their manners, but you always say it anyways just to make sure y’all ended on a good note.
Got it, y’all?
(If y’all responded with a “yes ma’am,” then you’re one step closer to becomin’ the ultimate southern belle.)