Why Country People Talk So Loud

| 1/8/2018 10:00:00 AM

Tags: Communicating, talking, yelling, voice pitch, country conversations, hollering, Wilma J. Williams, rural Arkansas, LA,

Country at Heart 

This title may have an obvious answer, but I want to break it down a little further, based on my experience growing up in the country. When you live in the country, I'm talking "big country" where the sky is the limit, with lots of open space and a landscape that appears to have no end, your world is bigger than life itself. We grew up talking as though we wanted the people in the next town to hear us. For instance. if you are in the front yard and want someone to bring you the rake that you left in the backyard, you have to knock it up a few octaves in order for them to hear you.

If your neighbor is halfway back home before you realize you forgot to tell her something, you run behind her. When you think you're within hearing distance, you let out a holler. If she can't hear you, then you know you have to close the gap a little more. In the city, it's considered rude to holler. In the country, it's not. Raising our voice is just the normal way country folks communicate with each other or their stubborn, hard-headed animals that act as though they are deaf. In rural areas, unless you are within a few feet of someone, while they may can hear you, they can't decipher what you are saying. So, it's OK to up your already high-pitched voice tone a little bit higher.

We never had livestock, but we could hear our neighbors hollering for their cows and horses if they were way down in the pasture somewhere. If that’s where they are, a normal voice range won’t do. Sometimes, though, even the loudest holler doesn't work. If you really want your four-legged beasts and they are not within hollering distance, you have to go on a wild-goose chase before belting out another holler.

The Milk Maid is smart. She got tired of hollering every day. When it's milking time and if her heifer hasn’t found her way back to the barn on her own, she wanders through the woods looking for her cow with the heavy udder, hoping to hear the jingling bell that she tied, with a lock, around the cow's neck. That way, she doesn't have to raise her voice, even the slightest bit.

Most country people feel as though they “own” the space around them, even if that space is 5 miles away. Living in the wide, open area called "country" gives them a sense of freedom and ownership of their immediate and not-so-immediate surroundings. If we talk or scream to the top of our voices, that is OK, as long as we aren't exploding in somebody's ear. Whenever we want to, we holler. Not just when we’re at a ball game but anytime we feel like it. That’s our way of speaking to whatever is in our world, no matter how far away the whatever is.

1/15/2018 7:41:45 AM

Arkansas Girl, it's so true that once country gets into your spirit, it never leaves no matter what. I started life in the country and until I toddled off to college and pursued a career in technology, I spent every moment I could do or wishing I could do country activities. Now that I'm retired I garden vacant city lots and spend time just listening to the rustle of the leaves from wild life or watching birds scratch in the newly shoveled dirt. It's a great way to spend time in retirement. The roots of country life are still alive and well in me. ***** Have a great day hollering in the country. ***** Nebraska Dave

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