In regards to True Blood, the Shill asks
Also, have we discussed the completely stupid way Bill says Sookie’s name?
We have not. But now we are about to. In full disclosure, I feel a personal stake in this matter because my dad’s sister’s nickname, given to her by Grandpa Hick, is Sookie.
On True Blood, the main female character’s name is Sookie and this is pronounced by everyone as either rhyming with cookie or sounding like Sue-key. Her undead Confederate Boyfriend pronounces it “Suck-ay.”
I went to the experts.
(see about 2:55)
and Don Covay
All three of them seem to agree with everyone else’s pronunciation and contradict Bill’s choice.
But, because I am a giant nerd, I look up “Sookie” in the OED and what do I learn?
“Sook,” “Sook cow,” and “Sookie” are Scottish cow calls. Like you call to any pig, regardless of its name, with “Sooey!,” you, if you are Scottish and live in the past, call cows “Sookie” to get them to come.
Now, on the one hand, Bill is right that “Sook” probably comes from “suck,” so maybe Suck-eh isn’t such a weird way to say it, but let’s just think about this word pragmatically. We’re standing out in a field. You are, for some reason, standing in a pile of cow poop. You should remember, when standing in a cow pasture, to watch your step. Where were we?
Yes, we are standing in a field. The cows we want are way on the other side of the pasture. We want to call to them and get their attention. If we should “Suck-eehhhh,” only the last syllable carries and barely. But, if we yell “Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuueeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-keeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee,” now we have those cows’ attention.
And now we’re back to talking about my biggest problem with Bill. If I think about him too hard, I do not believe he’s a real Confederate Southerner. First there was the bullshit about him not owning slaves. Who, who in Louisiana with a house that big did not own slaves? I’m not buying it. Second, him talking about his dad owning slaves and how he knew the name of one of the field slaves, but not the house slave? No way. You don’t know the name of the person who works in your Dad’s house all the time? Then how do you ask for tea? “Oh, um, hey, you, could I have some sweet tea?”
And now, I’m supposed to believe that Bill, who did not own slaves, but who lived in his big farm house, which would have made him responsible for the livestock on that farm, called his cows with “Suck-ah”?
Again, I’m not buying it.
The Scots-Irish, who, I would assume, brought the term with them, seemed, as evidence by the music we can hear the term in now, to have spread it pretty far in the South and across various Southern cultures. If Bill were just hearing the name for the first time, one would assume that he would say it the way that everyone else around Sookie says it. That he says it differently indicates, I believe, that he’s heard the name before.
If he’s heard the name before, the most obvious instance in which he’s heard it is either as it is frequently used even now, as a pet name, or as it was originally used, a call name.
Either way, “Suuuuuuuuuue-key” is much more likely to get you nuzzled than “Suck-ah.” And so, I cannot believe that Bill would call her “Suck-ah.”
Here’s what we need. We need someone with a college-educated white Southern grandpa. And not one of those 60 year old Pa-paws. I’m talking someone pushing 80, who speaks with that “Ah went to Suh-waneeh” accent that you just don’t hear any more and who you call “Grandfather” or your mom shoots holes in your skull with her eyes. If that’s your grandpa, we need you to call him this evening and ask him how he would pronounce Sookie and report back.
On the phones, people! On the phones.