Learning English Through Captions, Honey Boo Boo-Style

Jan 7 2013 David Titmus
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Forget the word-a-day calendar your sister bought you this holiday season. If your New Year’s resolution is to build your vocabulary, look no further than “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” on TLC. Not only do 6-year-old Alana Thompson, of “Toddlers & Tiaras” fame, and her family introduce us to the native dialect of McIntyre, Georgia, they give us one of their own, and do so with style. Never heard of “sketti,” the combination of butter, noodles and ketchup? Then you have never tasted cuisine! Think Elvis is the king of rock ‘n’ roll? He’s not. Elvis is the tiny man who helps Santa. That’s not to mention go-go juice, door nuts, or the breakfast of champions (cheeseballs).

But how to understand the words Alana and her clan come up with if they don’t exist in any known dictionary? With the captions, of course! Portions of the show are subtitled by Discovery, which owns TLC, but much of it is not, and it is VITAC captioning picking up the slack. How else would you learn how to spell Thompson-family gems like “beautimous” (beautiful), “redneckognize” (to recognize the redneck qualities of someone or something), or, most importantly, “vajiggle jaggle,” which the show website defines as “body girth that jiggles”? A list of “Honey Boo Boo”-isms can be found on the show’s website…or at the bottom of your screen with the help of the “CC” button on your remote!

Merriam-Webster they are not, but that’s no reason not to tune in for holiday specials in January and February and see what they come up with next. So avoid the forklift foot, conduct yourself etiquettely, and learn a word or two from the Boo Boo family in 2013. Unless you are an exchange student trying to learn English, in which case you might do better with “Sesame Street.”