Oh, honey

who among us northern gals

hasn’t secretly bid her tongue to slip

effortlessly into that sweet southern nectar

known as a d-r-a-w-l.

Or, should I say,

d … r … a … w … l …

That’s right, you have to slow it down,

stretch every syllable out a little bit m-o-r-e,

maybe even summon an extra syllable or two.

Just for effect.


Lil’l Southern Belles by Hamilton Hamilton, 1894, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Well, in case you’d like to try your tongue at a tantalizing twang

(you know, in the car while you’re driving alone, in the shower where no one can hear … ),

start with this word:


No, not just mabalane all squished together …

Like this:

maa … buh … layyyn

That’s it!

The funny thing about this word is that it’s really an obscure term that comes to us from South Africa, meaning “a clerk, a secretary; a person whose work includes the keeping of written records.”

It’s not really the definition that matters, though, it’s the way it sounds rolling from your lips.

Master the word mabalane, and soon you’ll be hollering “y’all!”

with the best of those silver-tongued southern belles.


Vivian Leigh in Gone with the Wind courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


Leave a comment 2 Comments

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Those of us girls from the South don’t know what you are talking about! We drawl thing? We think y’all talk funny. Hahahaha!!! G.R.I.T.S= Girls Raised in the South!!

  2. bobbie from clemmons, nc says:

    How about a Pittsburgh born and raised girl living in the South for 35 years. Now that’s an accent not to mess with. Southwestern PA twang mixed with Southern Drawl.Totally mixed up girl. LOL

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