The Kooky Cook

I grew up in South Carolina, speaking the southern dialect of that southern state. Of course, at the time of my learning, my language and pronunciation sounded just like everyone else’s until I spent a summer in New York state where I learned that some people thought I talked “funny,” at least to Yankees. They said “Hi;” I said “Hey” They said “there;” I said “yonder.” They put oil in their cars with three syllables (o-i-ul) whereas I put oil (oll) in mine. When I began teaching in Florida, I introduced myself to my students as Mr. Cooper (I did not pronounce the “oo” in my name with the “coo” sound that is used in Florida). The students tried, but they sounded as though they were exaggerating or as though they were trying to imitate a southern drawl. Finally, I came up with a solution (sort of like Liza with a Z). I faced my students and asked, “Do you say that you mother is a good kook or do you say she’s a good cook?” Only the class clowns said their mother was a kook. I then said, “If you can pronounce ‘cook,’ then you can say my name correctly: ‘cook’ becomes ‘Coop’er. Now you know you can pronounce my name as I grew up pronouncing it,” and they did.

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About bobosbest

I am a 79-year-old retired English teacher whose writing goals are fulfilled by publishing these blogs. I have a wonderful married partner, Dimitris Tsitsiras, who is from Greece. Life is good and still an adventure.
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