Some Southern belles start young.

Southern belles are known by their honeysuckle speech. There are few who do not enjoy the sound of a Southern woman asking “ya’ll” to join her for a dance or sip of mint julep. While the belles from Alabama and Georgia come by their linguistic habits naturally, don’t despair, as you, too, can learn the belle dialect. Open your parasol, tilt your head becomingly and learn how to speak like a true Southern girl.

Take it slow when you converse. The drawl is drawn out so that all those slow-witted folks from other parts can understand you. Make those syllables count by stressing them and breathing in the middle. For example, “That dress looks just per-fect on you.”

Drip your words with lots of sugar and syrup. Southern belles are sweet, in case you haven’t heard. Call all your friends and family by endearments such as “honey pie” and “peaches” no matter what gender they are.

Learn the proper phrases that all Southern belles rely on. Courtesy of the Ashlandbelle's Southern Sayings Page are the following southerisms: “I do declare” or “Well, shut my mouth” when you are surprised; “like two peas in a pod” when someone is just like you; “Do go on” when you want to hear more but dont believe it; “You’re a sight for sore eyes” when you’ve missed someone; and “He’s barkin’ up the wrong tree” when someone is mistaken.

Bless everybody’s heart all the time. It doesn’t matter whether you feel sorry for them, are mad, jealous or happy. The sentiment works for every occasion. For instance, if a girl at a party is wearing a really tacky dress, it is only polite to pull her close and whisper into her ear, “Well, bless your heart.”

Extend invitations to all you meet with spot-on Southern talk. Tell everybody to “Sit a spell” on the veranda and share a bowl of grits. Tell your friends they can go “hog-wild” at your “pig pickin’” or enjoy the “shindig” when they take a swig of some party “fixin's.”

Flirt with all the Southern gentlemen with your adorable talk. Let the belle shine through when you compliment them on their “darlin’ hound dog” and “big ol' bulging muscles.” What man can resist the lovely language spoken by a Southern lady?