Twanglish Lesson: Directly

Today’s Twanglish Lesson is a matter of time. Neither a specific time nor a measure of time, it deals with how we express what will happen in due time. And it has nothing to do with direction or orientation. Ahh … such are the intricacies of Twanglish.

Even in relation to time, it doesn’t mean what you would think. Rarely is it used to indicate a thing that will happen immediately – though the speaker might optimistically think so. More often than not, it indicates a time that will arrive at the leisure of the speaker or his subject.

As with most things in the South, it happens at its own pace:

Directlyadverb, often preceded by the word “here” 1. Immediately (A rarely used and likely inadvertent meaning…unless it involves beer):

I’mo git some Buschs at the Walmart directly.

2. In a short while:

Reckon I’ll start making the cornbread here directly.

3. In a couple of weeks:

I hear tell Junior’s gonna come home from college here directly.

As a kid, I was the king of “just a second.” Whether my parents wanted me to wash up for supper, take out the trash, do my homework or get in the car to go somewhere, my answer was always “just a second.” It was never a second. It was never a minute. It was usually five, ten, fifteen minutes … or whatever their threshold for my useless procrastinating was for that day.

“Directly” is the same kind of word. If you ask a friend for a favor, and he says he’ll get to it directly, you may as well move on to something else or do it yourself. It may be a while.

I plan to go into this in more detail, to help you really parse out the meaning of someone using the term in a given context … but I don’t have time right now. Don’t worry; I’ll get to it directly.

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5 Responses to “Twanglish Lesson: Directly”

  1. “yes dear, ill be home directly” was how i heard it most often used ……

  2. Love your Twanglish lessons! Makes me wonder if anybody from the north even gets these…

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Twanglish Lesson: Finna | Real Southern Men - September 15, 2011

    […] that’s going to happen more immediately than say, something that one is going to do “directly.” If your friend is “finna” go to the Walmarts, and you want to go along, then […]

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