Talk:Appalachian English

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Above undated message substituted from assignment by PrimeBOT (talk) 14:33, 16 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Personally I find the fact that most of the vocabulary words listed are associated with "backwards", agrarian culture somewhat demeaning towards, or perhaps conforming to stereotypes of the dialects speakers. I know for a fact that we use many other "special" words on a much more frequent basis than those listed. Anyone who can, please help. I would argue with the fact that coloquialisms must be cited. If the posted words do not conform to the linguistic definitions of the dialect, then take them down by all means, but scholarly works in good repute do not necesarily include every coloquialism that exists within a givin dialect. 02:53, 11 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I reckon I recently asked "where" "chawing bakker" (i.e., "taking a chaw of bakker") is more commonplace in Southern Appalachia than elsewhere. Related to this, I happened to notice that the "word of the day" on the "Dictionary of American Regional English" webpage is "ambeer." Actually, it is not a pleasant word, but I wanted to share the finding. See: The usage--which is associated with "chawing a plug" of the stuff--on the map is not broken down in terms of Appalachia vs. other parts of the South, etc. But notice that KY is well represented. Texas too, maybe not in proportion to its larger population, though??? Some definitions are given (see #1) that do not ring a bell with me, even if I "wu'n' borned" long after 1751, the date usage #1 was cited "fur." That might be related to our growing Burley Bakker instead of the flu-cured ["kyored"] kind. In any case, "spittin ambeer" provides the relevant context. Eleanor1944 (talk) 22:35, 17 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No Original Research, Please[edit]

Please do not contribute original research (i.e. one's own thoughts or ideas) to Wikipedia (especially to linguistics articles). Doing so is against Wikipedia policy. (WP:NOR)

Aside from that fact, just "living in an area" for a long time does not make one an expert on dialect(s). There are too many variables to consider (including the influence of mass media, popular culture, and the 20th Century advent of easily-accessible rapid transit). Unless you are trained and educated in the subject of linguistics, your unqualified opinions may serve to only add confusion to an already complex subject. "I've never heard..." or "I've always heard..." does not cut it.

I grew up in Western PA, having lived in both the northern and southern parts of the Western State, and I only knew two words to be used here out of the list of sample ones. Whomever wrote this entry has no idea of the terminology used in Appalachia English. As evidenced by the fact that some of the examples used for "common" terminology, are terms that people in this area commonly make fun of "outsiders" for using. Ie "Coke for all carbonated beverages" I've also worked in two movie theatres, and have taken an intensive linguistic course based on the Western Pennsylvania area, and this entry is the first time in my life I've heard that popcorn could be called "caps."

I don't think I have heard the word for a long time (and, I confess, I had almost forgotten about it) even during my frequent trips back home. But yes, this is authentic AE. The word "cap," however, was/is used mainly (maybe exclusively???; I'll have to give this matter some further thought)as a verb (as in "let's cap some corn"). And the little pot with a long handle that some of us held over the fire in the fireplace was called a "popcorn capper." All of us used the word then.Eleanor1944 (talk) 20:24, 10 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Rather than be appalachian English spoke in Pennsylvania, this article seems to focus on a dialect spoken in the deep south, that is considered difficult to understand, and "hillbilly talk" anywhere in Pennsylvania. I am less than 20 minutes away from the southern border of Pennsylvania and I don't know anyone who would use these terms. Nor do I know anyone who wouldn't make fun of someone for even considering talking like this anywhere in Pennsylvania —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:03, 6 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The term used to be "Southern Appalachia." I never thought of the mountainous regions north of the Mason-Dixon Line as being part of the same culture region. I was at first surprised when I saw them included. But I may have been wrong. But I wouldn't expedt the kind of dialect found in Eastern KY or East TN to be used in PA. I was surprised, however, to hear the term "you'ns" (just like in Southern Appalachia) from somebody in the Harrisburg area of PA a few years ago. My ear is quick to pick up on these things, but I might have misunderstood him. Eleanor1944 (talk) 11:44, 7 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Anoter Western Pennsylvania anecdote[edit]

I'm also from Western PA and agree that almost none of this article applies to PA. Of the "Sample Vocabulary" the only ones in use in PA are:

  • Blinds - Didn't know this was local slang
  • Lay out - I've heard "laid up", which means to be injured, but it's a very exclusive manual laborer / working class term
  • Hull - I've heard this a few times
  • Ill (bad tempered) - I've heard this as "ill tempered" and am fairly sure it's not local slang
  • Jacket - Not local slang
  • Peckerwood - I've heard this used as a general insult
  • Pop - The dominant word for carbonated drinks. "coke" is incorrect, "soda" is correct but only used by outsiders
  • Toboggan - Is a long wooden sled. Never heard this used to describe a hat
  • Tote - Not local slang — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:22, 2 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If you do have contributions to make, please make sure they are referenced. Arx Fortis 06:58, 30 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Maybe this section is not the appropriate place for my comment, but I have looked at some of the material on Michael Montgomery's site ( He has some great material. There is much that could be added, but he is a very careful scholar. Still, he misses some important features of AE, something he doesn't need me to tell him. There are many other terms that could be added to his dictionary, for example. And I would like to comment on a few points. Does anybody know whether one can still contact him at the e-mail he provides on his site? I suppose he might even be one of the participants in this discussion??? Eleanor1944 (talk) 03:56, 10 November 2011 (UTC) Some of the more "quaint" terms are probably purely local (or even personal) usages of people born in the 19th century and don't represent AE. After all, he was dealing with the Smokies in particular. Still, the main variation is between the "pure" older dialect that prevailed throughout much of the US, including much or most of Southern Appalachia, in the "old days" and, on the other hand, various kinds of "corrections" and "miscorrections" that have to varying degrees replaced many (increasingly, most) aspect of AE. Eleanor1944 (talk) 16:28, 11 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I think this article and others concerning language would be more usefull if in stead of the linguist's shorthand used to describe pronunciation, words were described phonetically.

I believe "Do you Speak American" addressed the "holler" pronunciation. The point was that both "HOLLER" and "HOLLAH" are Appalachian, and there is some kind of pattern to which speakers prefer one or the other. I am from the region and observed these different pronunciations - someone should refer to the accompanying book "Do you Speak American?" and add the information to this article. Personally, I think "holler" tends to be used by poorer people and "hollah" by richer ones.

You have a good point. The authentic Appalachian English (AE) pronunciation is "holler." And that is not one of those old pronunciations that most people have dropped. To a lot of people, the pronunciation with a long "o" seems like a terrible affectation, even if they are aware that it is supposed to be pronounced that way. The tendency for those who don't want to use "bad English" is to compromise by using the "holla" pronunciation. Eleanor1944 (talk) 11:32, 7 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Holla" is not simply a matter of compromise for those who don't want to say "holler", and it makes no sense to say "holler" is the AUTHENTIC pronunciation. The standard pronunciation for words ending in a long "o" has been "uh" in my family, who certainly weren't rich and had no pretensions about getting away from "bad English". A pillow is a "pilluh", and a window is a "winduh". And really there are no "hollers" in our area; they are called coves and pockets. One of the flaws with this article is that there is a tendency to want to "standardize" the "authentic" Appalachian English. But Appalachia is a large region stretching for several hundred miles. I don't know if the variations are regional and vary north to south, or if they vary depending on whether you are Blue Ridge or Cumberland, or what the variations are based on. I do not think it has anything to do with economic status or pretense. Eastcote (talk) 16:10, 7 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree that there are some intra-Appalachian regional differences. I think I mentioned the pronunciation of "bush" in some parts of SE VA and WVA. The word "cove" is another good example. I don't think it ever was used in SE KY, and I think I first saw in in a book on the Southern Highlands, probably the famous one by Campbell which I discovered when I was a teenager (and was overwhelmed to find my great grandfather listed in it!).I fully accept the fact that in some parts of Appalachia it is widely used. I may have made myself misunderstood about "pretensions" etc., though. I know that for many people living in Appalachia a pillow is a "pilluh" etc. A lot of people today are born into families who have gradually lost their ancestors' dialect. They wouldn't be able to speak it if they tried. I have some grandchildren who live in a small town in SE KY who, I think, were more influenced by TV than anything else. I recently mentioned this to them, and they protested that they were familiar with "country talk" because their stepmother's family talks that way. To some degree,this has happened over many generations. Some of the people born in the 1870s, my grandparents' generation, still used pronounnciations such as "pizen" for "poison." Even 6th grade dropouts sometimes laughed at them, as I was taking note of these generational differences. It was not natural for me to say "pizen," although I possibly was "pretentious" enough with some old people as to use it. But yes, there is a lot of commonality in the old dialect, with relatively few local differences. Some people gradually dropped the older forms, and often their children never even became familiar with them, depending on how much contact they had with older people (and which ones) and with families that had preserved old usages. A few local differences yes, but mainly it is a matter of how many layers of the old tongue have been peeled off. There are, admittedly, some individual idiosyncricies; one person born in the 1870s used to sometimes say "sug" for sugar, but that was just her peculiar way of abbreviating the word (I think). On a few occasions, she used the phrase "t'other" (for "the other"). I realize, though, that this was just a matter of playing around with the words. People do that everywhere. But if an outside linguist without insight into the situation had been around, he/she might have recorded it as a localized dialect usage. It was not. Eleanor1944 (talk) 02:22, 9 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I had a great Aunt Sug, long since gone, so I can vouch for the use of "sug" (shug) for "sugar" up through the 1960s. She was called Aunt Sug because she always had candy ready for the kids. But then I only heard it in that particular context. Eastcote (talk) 02:44, 9 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Now I remember somebody in my wife's family that had a dog named "Sug." Still, I would say it is the kind of abbreviation that could be found anywhere. Eleanor1944 (talk) 03:16, 10 November 2011 (UTC) I think I may have been on "edit" a few minutes but thought I was on "discussion." If so, my apologies! I made some good points, I think, but these might not be appropriate except for discussion.Eleanor1944 (talk) 03:16, 10 November 2011 (UTC) We do that with all sorts of words everywhere. It really has nothing to do with dialect (except that it might be disqualified as formal Standard English in most cases). Example: "Tech" as a short for "technology." Some universities have adopted that short form--Cal Tech, Va Tech, etc. Many people say "frig" for "refrigerator"; it's not a matter of regional dialect, although, as I remember, I first heard this abbreviation from somebody from the UK. Eleanor1944 (talk) 21:10, 10 November 2011 (UTC) Hopefully someone with a bit of expertise can tackle this page. Needs to look more like the Southern American English page, but I don't know where to start. --Woohookitty 21:12, 21 Mar 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It really should be combined with the Southern American page. It needs to be considered a subtype of Southern English. The main difference between it and some largely coastal Southern English is its rhotic character. There are many aspects of AE that are not even touched on in this article, whereas they are in the Southern American English article. I take exception particularly to the statement at the beginning of this article that AE is more like "Northern Midland," although immigration from Appalachia has surely affected the speech of the "northern midland" area. Eleanor1944 (talk) 02:22, 9 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

See for information about their series "Do you Speak American," which demystifies and celebrates the fascinating diversity of American English. The Following is an excellent example of Appalachian English taken from their website:

A-Hunting We Will Go …for a-prefix words. This exercise was taken from Walt Wolfram’s 1993 essay, “Teaching the Grammar of Vernacular English” in: Glowka, A. Wayne, & Donald M. Lance, eds., Language Variation in North American English: Research and Teaching.

Authentic speakers of AE, of course, would never put "A-Huntin" at the beginning of the sentence. But I may have missed the point. Eleanor1944 (talk) 11:32, 7 November 2011 (UTC) I meant to say that this looks more like poetry than ordinary usage. Eleanor1944 (talk) 03:16, 10 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I remember posting at least one exception ("foot fo'must and "head fo'must")to the rhotic character of AE. When I was a teenager in the 1950s I drew up a list of exceptions, but that was destroyed long ago in a fire. Another is "further," which is pronounced "fu'ther in AE." There is much more reasonableness in the relationship between this comparative form and the adjective it is derived from than in the case of SE. The adjective in AE is, of course, "fur" (not "far")--although I would not even guess what proportion of the people in any place in Appalachia or elsewhere use the old form. ("Fur is the AE word for "for" too, but not for "four," as speakers of the dialect were always sticklers for the unarticulated rules of pronounciation and grammar.) As for "fur" and "further," a speaker of AE who wants to speak SE has an advantage over many others, most of whom cannot make the distinction between "further" and "farther." Another word that, except for people who are very careful in trying to speak SE, is non-rhotic (with regard to the first "r" but not the second one) is "governor" ("gov-uh-nur"). Or is that just general sloppy speech found anywhere???? Eleanor1944 (talk) 16:48, 11 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some dialects of English put an a- sound before words that end in -ing, so that you hear phrases like "a-hunting we will go.” In the sample sentences given below, only one sentence out of each pair can take an a-prefix. Which sentence do you think can have the a-prefix before the -ing-form? Choose - or make an educated guess. If you’re not sure, try reading each version of an a-prefix out loud to yourself. Do you recognize a pattern?

a. The man likes sailing. b. The man went sailing.

a. The woman was coming down the stairs. b. The movie was shocking.

a. He makes money by building houses. b. He makes money building houses.

a. Sam was following the trail. b. Sam was discovering the cave.

a. William thinks fishing is silly. b. William goes fishing every Sunday.

a. The movie was fascinating. b. The movie kept jumping up and down.

a. Sally got sick cooking chicken. b. Sally got sick from cooking chicken.

a. The man was hollering at the hunters. b. The man was recalling what happened that night.

The sentences which can carry the a-prefix are 1b, 2a, 3b, 4a, 5b, 6b, 7a, and 8a. Most students, including many ESL students, instinctively get this right, even if they have a hard time explaining why. In some cases, they will argue that the other form just doesn't sound right - and they will be exactly right. The important thing is that a pattern emerges from these sentences: not all -ing-forms can randomly be prefixed with a-, but there is a certain set of rules to it:

The a- prefix can occur only ...

... with verb complements, not with -ing participles that function as nouns (sentences 1 and 5) ... with verbal -ing forms, but not with -ing participles that function as adjectives (sentences 2 and 6) ... when the -ing forms is not followed by a preposition (sentences 3 and 7) ... with verbs that have a stressed initial syllable, not with verbs with an unstressed first syllable: in follow and holler, the first syllable is stressed; in discover and recall the first syllable is not stressed (sentences 4 and 8)

The conclusion to be drawn from this pattern or set of rules is that dialects, too, have their own grammar - dialects are not just “bad” or “wrong” ways of speaking; they are subject to grammatical rules just like any other variety of a language. In this, dialects differ from "broken language" or an imperfectly learned second language.

This is excellent analysis! Eleanor1944 (talk) 11:32, 7 November 2011 (UTC) Please let me add that in about 1961 I was telling my fellow graduate students about so-called "bad English" being just another dialect with its own rules and that any dialect hypothetically could have been chosen as the Queen's English and would have been just as good. When I was laughed at, I told them that I really loved the field of linguistics and tended to pick up books on the subject every time I ran into them. One of my fellow students (an older fellow who had an M.A. in English from Vanderbilt and later enjoyed a career at NC State U) responded in a most know-it-all way that there is no such field of study--that the word "linguist" simply means somebody who knows several languages. Eleanor1944 (talk) 20:47, 10 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

American Varieties Index

Suggested Reading/Additional Resources Stewart, William A. 1967. Language and communication in Southern Appalachia. Eric Document 012 026.

Wolfram, Walt. 1980. "A"-prefixing in Appalachian English. Locating language in time and space, ed. by William Labov, 107-42. New York: Academic Press.

Wolfram, Walt. 1982. Language knowledge and other dialects. American Speech 57.3-18.

Wolfram, Walt and Donna Christian. 1976. Appalachian speech. Arlington, VA: Center for Applied Linguistics.

Walt Wolfram is the William C. Friday Distinguished Professor at North Carolina State University, where he directs the North Carolina Language and Life Project. He has pioneered research on social and ethnic dialects since the 1960s, publishing 16 books and more than 250 articles on language varieties such as African American English, Latino English, Appalachian English, and Southern Vernacular English. Wolfram is deeply involved in the application of sociolinguistic information and the dissemination of knowledge about dialects to the public. In this connection, he has been involved in the production of TV documentaries, museum exhibits, and other community-based dialect awareness initiatives; he also served as primary linguistic consultant for the Children's Television Workshop, the producers of Sesame Street. He has served as President of the Linguistic Society of America, the American Dialect Society, and the Southeastern Conference on Linguistics.Frazzled 22:16, 26 September 2005 (UTC)Frazzled.Reply[reply]

The Language of Appalachia Level By Gayle Trent [[1]]

A disagreement on nuance[edit]

The double negative, of course, is not at all peculiar to AE. It probably is more commonly used in AE than in, say, Los Angeles English in that the level of education is (probably) lower in Applachia than in LA. Kids are not taught about dialects (at least were not in my time) but about "correct" and "improper" English. (I got into tiny bits of trouble back in the 1950s/early 1960s with my "crazy" idea that AE had its own rules, although I spoke Standard English better than most of my fellow students in a prestigious university.) Althugh a few people insist on continuing to speak like what they consider to be ordinary folk, the idea that vernacular is just "bad English" causes people more and more to desert their old usages (in other languages, this is not the case to the same extent; in Arabic, for example, people go back and forth between their local dialects and Modern Standard Arabic). As for a place such as LA (I picked it purely at random), there also are more people for whom English is a second language (and some perhaps may not know it at all, and so they will be less likely to be influenced by local English vernaculars (but rather by other languagges, most likely Spanish). In any case, I think this is a very different situation. But my point is that the double negative is more commonplace in parts of Appalachia mainly because education has caused more people to weed it out in places where larger percentages of the population have, say, graduated from high school over the past few generations. Eleanor1944 (talk) 15:43, 7 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In the article, one example given for the prevalence of double-negatives is the comparison of two phrases;

"I will not go to that funeral", becomes "I won't be goin' to no funeral."

While the second phrase does contain an apparent double negative, the nuance of the statement is that the speaker will not go to ANY funeral, not just the one at hand.

I'm not a linguist, just a native speaker.

"I won't be going to no funeral" indicates that the speaker will not be going to the formally-scheduled funeral proper [with any number of reasons, including the possibility of fracas] but does intend to socialize with others elsewhere as an informal funeral remembrance or privately alone. 11/26/2005 22:44, 26 November 2005 (UTC) beadtot

The meaning depends in large part on what word is stressed. If "funeral" is stressed, the speaker might mean that he/she is planning only to be at the visitation. Also: the broader context of the conversation. The double negative does not really affect the meaning. Eleanor1944 (talk) 04:07, 10 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm smack dab in the middle of Appalachia and I ain't got no idear what you just said there. The sentence means "I'm not going to ANY funeral (at all)." I think if he wanted to specify a particular funeral, a speaker would naturally say, "I ain't goin' to the funeral." I'm a linguist, and a native speaker. 23:31, 30 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I second (or third) that point. "I'm not Xing no Y" could be "I'm not buyin' you no beer!". If someone says this to you, don't expect to be sippin' suds anytime soon, ya hear? 'Cause you' gonna have to go get it yourself! In other words, Appalachian/Southern-American English (etc.) can be quite informal, but it is not without logic. Far from it:
A: Borrow me a couple o' bucks, will ya, Whitland.
B: Now, I ain't lendin' you no more money, 'cause you done crossed the line.
A: How d'ya figure?
B: Well, Russell, seein' how's you still owes me from last time and ain't paid none o' that yet, I reckon you just might double your debt and forget the whole mess all over again thinkin' it don't make no nevermind.
A: I won't forget this time, cross my heart!
B: You think I ain't got no brains, boy? Hell, there ain't nobody in this town you ain't in debt with an' I ain't obliged to stand no more of your fibbin'.
A: But I'll pay you back, plus interest. I promise. You know me, Whit. I ain't telling no lie.
B: Yes, I do know you, Russ, and I suspicion that you is."
Question: Did Whitland loan any money to Russell at the end of the preceding dispute?

  • If you answered no, then I congratulate you for having successfully mastered elementary school education.
  • If you answered yes, then you best get your ass in class real quick, sonny, 'cause you ain't got no brains!

I'm a linguist, an native speaker (of English), and consequently filled with pity for the shtunk who apparently doesn't know a colloquialism from a hole in the ground…—Strabismus 18:09, 3 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Just one or two corrections: The pronunciation "idear" for "idea" is indeed fairly widespread. JFK, for those who remember hearing him speak, provides a well known example. When I was a college student in a small Methodist college in Barbourville, KY (near my home), some of the students from Mass. and maybe Conn. talked like that, much to the amusement of us Mountain kids. We almost invariably (?) pronounced the word in the standard way in college (unless, perhaps once or twice in my case?) we were consciously showing off our native speech). But, to get to my point: The AE pronunciation of "idea" is "I-dee," with the long "I" pronounced in the distictive Southern way (with the second part of the dipthongg omitted). The stress is on the first syllable. The second syllable is pronounced like "tea" or "see." There is no "r." Sorry, I need a keyboard with international phonetic characters for those who are familiar with them. Also: Remember that the real AE word is "hain't," not "ain't" (which increasingly has been borrowed from other English vernaculars (partly as a result of schoolbooks that tell us not to say "ain't" but were written by people who do not know that the real "problem" (from the perspective of SE) is "hain't." Again: No authentic AE speaker says "you is." He/she says "you and him is," but NOT "you is" (unless he/she is trying to imitate a dialect he/she does not really know). [Clarification: Plural nouns are used with "is," but only compound pronouns are, in which situation case--e.g.,he/him--is reversed (in relation to SE).]Eleanor1944 (talk) 01:03, 14 November 2011 (UTC) The word "borrow [pronounced "borry" in AE] is/was indeed widely used instead of "loan" or "lend" ("borry me some money"). I was corrected by one teacher in, I think, the 6th grade, for using it in writing. But I am not sure whether we should classify it as dialect or as simply failing to make a distinction between two words (and perhaps it is just as widespread among less educated people elsewhere). When "there" is used as an explitive (as in "there hain't nothing to eat in this house") it is pronounced exactly like "they." When it is used as an adverb (as in "he is over there"), it is pronounced as "thar" in pure AE (as once existed), although almost everybody now uses the standard pronounciation. I can document that from my own experience: When I was about 10 years old, my mother (who went to Berea and finished high school and taught for some time in our one-room school; she read novels like David Copperfied out loud by the coal oil lamp in the late 1940s)heard me say "thar" and shouted something like "Oh, no!" I'm pretty sure she had originally used that pronounciation too, as did most of her parents' generation. I'll get back to some other matters later unless I am boring everybody too much. Eleanor1944 (talk) 16:16, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A (Significant?) Aditional Disagreement[edit]

In the article it is stated that "both dialects have contributed to the devlopment of African-American Vernacular English". This was in reference to both Appalachian and Southern English. In the majority of recent texts I've read, it is assumed to be the otherway 'round.

African-American Vernacular is actually a significant source of many of the pronuciations and words common in these dialects. I will update with sources as soon as possible. Matjac 04:35, 19 October 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I look forward to that, although I see you wrote that six years ago. It seems reasonable that there was such mutual influence. Enslaved Africans contributed some vocabulary to English. I had a speech teacher in high school who told us that her mother (the teacher was a bit "aristocratic," as people might have said, and came from another area of Appalachia, wealthy enough to have had an English governess as a child and a daughter who married a future lieutenant governor, and at least one of her colleagues said that anybody who emulated her "good English" would be laughed at)forbade her from using the word "tote" for that reason. (In any case, I had never heard that word among our country people, although one town kid used it once). Keep in mind that there were few enslaved people in Southern Appalachia, but there were a few, although probably not enough to preserve a distinctive dialect. I believe "okra" and "gumbo" are other examples of words of African origin, although I probably should have checked before writing this; however, these words were not introduced to my area (except, very likely, to some people in towns), although by the 1970s some country people were growing and eating okra (okry) and learning about Cajun gumbo (in some cases). One factor, though, to consider in relation to possible African influence on AE is that many of our people originally came from England to the Tidewater area of the South (often first to MA [and, in one case, Barbados, in the Caribbean], then moving on to VA, and then NC a generation or so later, and finally on across the Cumberland Gap (I know this from what genealogical research others have done about numerous families in the SE KY area). So they were exposed to more African influence before they moved into the mountainous areas. (I know this contradicts the "Scotch-Irish" theory about migration down the Valley of VA from PA, which obviously has considerable merit but does not represent the whole story. A final point: because of lowland Southern's non-rhotic character, Apppalachian people used to think of it and African-American speech as being the same thing. I even heard one racist characterization, if used somewhat in jest, of the speech of the family in Nashville that one of my aunts married into. Lowland Southern White and African-American Southern, I think, had more influence on each other than did AE and Afro-American speech. I'm just engaged in conversation (maybe with myself, but possibly with somebody who is dead or who hasn't been born yet); if anybody can either confirm or refute any of this, I will be happy. Eleanor1944 (talk) 17:22, 12 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


It's funny that "bluegrass" is mentioned in this connection, as I grew up in the KY Mountains, where the world (I exaggerate slightly) was always divided into two parts--the Mountains and the Bluegrass. Books such as The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come helped to perpetuate this. As for individuals, LBJ sounded a lot like a KY Mountaineer, although he obviously did not use most of the vernacular forms. Bill Clinton sometimes sounds a little bit that way too, enough so that he gets caricatured occasionally, especially in connection with the long "i." As for TV, I used to say that the people in Mayberry, in the Andy Griffith Show, demonstrated one of the most authentic Mountain accents (though not most of the older words and grammar). After all, most of the settlers in my area of SE KY came from NC (not far from the Research Triangle) in the early 1800s. I don't think they adopted AE after they came there, and the speech of our area is pretty much identical to AE everywhere (I believe AE developed pretty early among early British settlers, combining different dialects from England and perhaps Ulster, in the back country). Eleanor1944 (talk) 15:58, 7 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I wouldn't use any TV show to illustrate the "authentic" use of Appalachian English. The only ones with any solid claim to "mountain-ness" in the Andy Griffith Show were Andy (born in Mt Airy, NC), and Don Knotts (born in West Virginia). The Pyle cousins (Jim Nabors and George Lindsey), were from central Alabama, bordering the tail end of the Appalachians. The rest of the cast were from all across the country, including New York City, Oklahoma, Los Angeles, Illinois, Kansas, and Michigan. Eastcote (talk) 16:38, 7 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Regardless of where they were from, I thought the actors managed to sound a lot like people from where I was from in SE KY. Of course, they did not use many of the really old-fashioned words/pronounciations. Also, I thought Festus, in Gunsmoke, sounded like a KY Mountaineer. And there was Hoss in Gunsmoke. All were sorty (AE for "sort-of") Mountain sounding. But I guess I haven't seen many of the newer programs. I could identify quite well with the Waltons (although this was not so much, I think, a matter of dialect). Eleanor1944 (talk) 02:43, 9 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How about a list of people with this accent? It would certainly help in identifying it. Good idea. A few come immediately to mind such as blugrass/country artist Ricky Skaggs and NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip. If anybody can add more please do so. WilliamThweatt 01:33, 6 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Darrel Waltrip,Billy-ray-Cyrus,Loretta Lynn, Wynona Judd, Naomi Judd,Dolly Parton  here are some. User:Celticpete

March 25 2006 I think some of them have slightly exaggerated the "Southern" nature of their accents,though. Of course, a lot of people in various towns in SE KY have lost their dialect and would not even understand it. I have a hypothesis that children are learning to speak from TV these days. But I really would be dubious about including the mountainous parts of PA. Eleanor1944 (talk) 16:04, 7 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If that's true than you definitely need to exclude pennsylvania from the map, because none of those people talk even remotely like a Pennsylvanian would. Loretta Lynn's accent, especially, is made fun off all over pennsylvania. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:13, 16 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Of course, this is not my map. I just found my way to this article. But you have a good point. If we are talking about a pan-Appalachian dialect, we need to include most of PA, etc. (even parts of Canada). But if we are talking about a Southern Appalachian Dialect, the map should focus on Southern Appalachia. Eleanor1944 (talk) 02:43, 9 November 2011 (UTC) Addendum: And possibly a lot of areas outside Appalachia, and not just the Ozarks. And maybe exclude some areas, particularly affluent parts of some urban areas???)in Appalachia itself. We shouldn't confuse physical geography and linguistic geography, although there is a relationship between them.Eleanor1944 (talk) 17:29, 12 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I like this article[edit]

I like this article, though it is stereotypical of many of us Kentuckyians, I have heard my grandmother say many of the words described in this article. I am beginning to use the word "reckoned" more myself. Congrats to whomever made this delightful article.

Эрон Кинней (TALK) 08:08, 12 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree! I live in West Virginia, and I think that this article really gets the dialect down to a t. Everything on this page perfectly explains what I hear on a daily basis. Savanna-Violet (talk) 00:38, 16 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Expanded Pronunciation Examples Would Be Nice[edit]

Great article.

It would be great if in addition to the IPA(?) pronunciation guides in the Pronunciation section that standard English examples could be included as well. For example "Creek" is pronounced [kɹɪk] like Standard English's "Rick."

Most readers - including this polyglot - cannot read or understand the IPA(?) phonetic alphabet. --AStanhope 00:43, 14 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree!!!--A. B. 17:00, 27 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I double agree!--Soltera 16:33, 15 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

One problem is that there is a tendency to assume that if a "bad English" pronunciation exists in regional speech anywhere it must be part of Appalachian English (AE). My example: the pronunciation "crick" is found in many places, but it is completely foreign to AE (at least to Southeast KY, and as far as I have been able to observe, this applies generally to AE). We pronounce the word exactly as it is pronounced in Standard English. In my childhood, we people in SE KY giggled when we heard somebody from Nebraska (like my great uncle by marriage in the 1940s) and NY (e.g., a fellow student in the 1950s, whose local fiance jokingly commented that "When he takes a drink of water he gets a crick in his neck"). It is quite possible that a lot of people from NE or NY moved to some community in, say, Western NC and brought the "crick" pronunciation with them, but that is doubtful. I suspect that any native of Appalachia who says "crick" is just doing a bad job of imitating AE. Eleanor1944 (talk) 11:58, 7 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This article does not even mention one of the most characteristic aspects of AE pronunciation. Words with short "a" in Standard English are pronounced with a quite distinctive sound in AE and other Southern American English dialects. One of my biggest problems 50 years ago, when I fancied compiling an AE dictionary/grammar was that I did not know of any Int Phonetic Alpabet symbol for this. The change from the standard short "a" comes in syllables ending with "s" "sh," "g," and "f" (and possibly others in some cases). I see, finally, that the Wikipedeia article on "Southern American English" touches on this, however obliquely. I hope it is o.k. to quote it:

“Some older speakers have a phenomenon that resembles the trap–bath split. Where General American accents prescribe /æ/ and considerably liberal accents have /ɑ:/, Southern American English may have a new vowel diphthong /æɪ/, as in aunt /æɪnt/ and gas /gæɪs/.[citation needed]"

I may misunderstand what this passage refers to, but it seems to be our special sound. I wonder if this exists in any other language. In any case, it is not "just older speakers" who use this pronouncation. When I was in school, nobody even mentioned it, and we were not told not to use it, and so everybody kept using it, even most of the teachers (I think). Only as a result of one class under a very special teacher of Speech in my senior year of high school did I learn to pronounce these words "correctly" when not intentionally speaking AE. The authors of the English textbooks apparently did not know about this "bad" pronouncation. This pronouncation occurs in a lot of words, including "class," "pass," "last," "past," "sass," etc. Also: in words such as "laugh. "Yes, it is found in "gas" too, as the SAE article says. But not (contrary to what the SAE article says) in "aunt," which is pronounced with a long "a" (as in "say"),and I have noticed that this is true in parts of Appalachia that are 300 miles from each other. It is used, however, in "ant." Anyone who is at home with AE will know what I am talking about, although I have no way of making the sound here. Others will be completely confused.

The other vowel that, as far as I know, is peculiar to AE and other SAE dialects is long "i." Although this better known, it may not be that well understood. Eleanor1944 (talk) 03:30, 9 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

And I have not seen any mention in this article (or even the discussion) of another very important part of AE: In words (not includidng gerunds and progressive tenses, which are totally different)containing the syllable "ing," the vowel is pronounced as long "a." Words such as "sing," "ring," and "thing"--absolutely without exception, I believe, both in pure AE and for the most part even in the diluted AE more typically heard today--are pronounced as they were spelled "rayng," etc. In my youth, a lot of people annoyed me by trying to "correct" this but winding up with a truly incorrect prononounciation for any form of English. These people turned the short "i" into a long "e," as in "see" or "bee." Here again, a visiting linguist might have confused this with native usage (and might have seen it as evidence of Spanish influence!!!). I think some people still do that sort of miscorrection, although I don't remember having heard it so much in recent years.

[Postscript on a special case relating to "ng": The word "onion," of course, does not have an "ng" in it in SE or even in AE, at least as it is used today. Even in my day, it was pronounced "un-yin," pretty much like in SE. However, I think our people back in, say, Civil War times said "ayng-urn." When I was so much into codifying the rules of our vernacular during my teens, I thought I vaguely remembered this usage. I asked my grandmother, and she confirmed the the "really old people"--her grandparents' generation, born in the early 1800s--pronounced the word this way. Maybe she was just being agreeable, though??? (Born in 1878, she was very conscious of these matters, often talking about diacritical marks etc. that she had learnt from her Blue Back Speller, etc.--and often insisted on using SE.) I wonder whether there is any other evidence of the "ayng-urn" pronounciation. Eleanor1944 (talk) 16:24, 14 November 2011 (UTC)]Reply[reply]

While I am on the topic of miscorrection, please let me bring up plural words ending in "sts"--e.g., posts, tests, etc.). In the pure AE that still was quite alive in my day, the plural form for such nouns (and singular for verbs), the ending of each of these words constituted a separate syllable ("post-es," "test-es," etc.) A lot of people, though, found out that that was "bad English" (even "a right smart little bit" of the population without much education but who had heard it laughed at when they were "out of the country" in places such as Cincinnati or Michigan), and at least one person who had learnt (please excuse my AE past tense, but I see it that way in books published in the UK and--I think--in all SE dictionaries) some anatomical terms in school made a big brouhaha (not an AE word) about one of these words. However, when they tried to speak "correct English," most people omitted the "s" altogether. Thus: "I dug holes for two post" or "He fluncked out because he did bad on two or three test." That is not AE, but rather a bad attempt to "correct" AE, and hopefully a professional linguist would be able to catch this. I would say that this miscorrection is due to the difficulty of pronouncing the combination of sounds in SE as well as a difficulty even hearing them for some speakers of AE. One more observation: When I was in college, I was startled to hear one of the students from the North use the "es" ending for the word "breakfasts," just like in AE. In the case of such multisyllable words (and especially if the word rarely occurs in the plural), I don't think that many people have noticed the problem and tried to "correct" their usage. Now I wish I had recorded who it was (and the date and time as well as TV network), but not long ago I heard a national newscaster use the word "breakfast-es." Eleanor1944 (talk) 18:13, 12 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't need sources[edit]

I don't need sources, I speak the dialect.

Эрон Кинней 19:05, 16 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Much of the syntactical variation of Appalachian English is derived from the Scots-Irish dialect." How? much. I saw very little that was similar to Scots.

I need sources with proper comparisons (also with other varieties which may be possible sources) and not conjecture. -- unsigned comment

Agreed. Saying "I don't need sources" is like saying "I don't have to explain, I'm just right." It's no way to write an encyclopedia. -- Rob C (Alarob) 17:52, 8 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

i have noticed that only 4 sources are cited on this article..... i think this might be an indication of exactly how hard it is to find "credible" sources on this topic. i also take issue with the concept of credibility in this case because even if a published researcher has a background in linguistics that does not mean they have more than a passing acquaintance with the appalachian dialect, whats more i personally have noticed a huge diversity in the dialect. there are significant variations from state to state and often significant variations with states as well, there is divergence from county to county, and even tiny differences from holler to holler, the end result being that the accuracy of this article is largely dependant on the context of location....... i do not have much experiance editing wikipedia so i have not attempted to change this article but i think there needs to be some sort of forum or portal whereby native speakers can work with those who have a knowledge of linguistics in order to develop a map of the dialect. if space is too limited on wikipedia, then perhaps another wiki or something. but my main point is that sources are lacking, and the lack of sources in my opinion is a huge obstacle to the expansion of this article if not the accuracy of this article. like i said i know next to nothing about editing wikipedia as is evident by my failure to sign a previous statement about you youns and yall, and i would like very much for other users to comment or contact me about this subject as i have a strong personal interest in all things appalachian, and especially all things hillbilly.Ballcreekfreestate 19:02, 5 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The fact that the only people who agree that this article's definition of speech are those who live in this area are people basing their decisions on "Limited published sources," and who have never spoken or lived in this area speaks volumes about the credibility of the information therein. Or should I say, complete and total lack of credibility? The most distinctive feature of speech in this area is the lack of using "to be"{I don't understand what you mean by this. Eleanor1944 (talk) 04:16, 10 November 2011 (UTC) } - not mentioned anywhere in this article, though alot of colloquialisms that have never been used by residents in the described area other than to make fun of the speech of people in other areas are. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:10, 6 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Secondary sources are not really dependable. Not all encyclopedias are on the level of Brittanica (and I would't even trust it on this topic, if only because the editors might consider the details of such a dialect too trivial to attempt to cover in detail but also because the author of such an article likely would not be in touch with the people of different generations and levels of education). Editors of many encyclopedias have to search for people to write the articles. Typically, the most qualified people are too busy. Or they accept an invitation and then fail to come through. The editor then is desperate to find someone. This person who writes the article may be only marginally qualified. And (please don't take this as snobbiness) this is probably not a high-prestige topic and tends not to draw the top specialists at Yale or Stanford. Eleanor1944 (talk) 12:10, 7 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

real-time use of "ain't"[edit]

Use of "ain't" softens speech and diction directed toward a specific person or audience, being a contraction of "would fain not" [a reference to the protection of temples and religion] and is also a slang term for "ancient" as a descriptor. 11/26/2005 22:57, 26 November 2005 (UTC) beadtot

Did you just make this up? Seriously, did you? 23:37, 30 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes,, I too am wondering how so many loonies find their way into Wikipidia. It appears Mr(s).??? deadbeadt [sic] has proven that they also find their way out of straight-jackets. Oh, P.S., the posting of messages containing remarks such as "this is a great article" on Talkpages and surreptitiously signing them under different names doesn't necessarily make it "great".—Strabismus 21:03, 3 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Real Appalachian English (of the sort that has been eroded to a large extent during the past century) does not use "ain't." The word is "hain't." The former was borrowed from outside vernaculars by people who thought of "isn't," "haven't," etc. as being too affected and citified, with "ain't" adopted as a compromise. Also, a lot of people, whether consciously or not, chose to say "I've not" (which is equally correct in AE and Standard English as a way of avoiding the sylla of "bad English" and the charybdis of "citified talk." — Preceding unsigned comment added by Eleanor1944 (talkcontribs) 12:17, 7 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Again, there is not a single monolithic "real Appalachian English". I have primarily heard "ain't", and haven't heard "hain't" all that much, at least in this context. A haint, by the way, is something to scare children.... Eastcote (talk) 23:42, 8 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Exactly, as in "hainted house." That's good AE. As for the contraction, though, it certainly is less used than when I was a kid--and likely will go away, much like "jine the Army" or "he holpt me do my work" (usages that already were disappearing gradually during my grandparents' generation). The more nearly correct "ain't" is taking its place. But people in, say, the 1940s who still had not adopted the "fancy-sounding," "citified" forms like "isn't" mostly still said "hain't"--especially in purely rural areas. One little story that was repeated over and over when I was a kid in the late 1940s: Two girls in my own home (my relatives; in AE: "kinfolks"), about six years old, were talking. One said "I hain't." Slightly misunderstanding what the teacher had said at school, the other one volunteered to correct her: "Ye're supposed to say 'ain't', not 'hain't". — Preceding unsigned comment added by Eleanor1944 (talkcontribs) 04:36, 10 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To an increasing extent, AE and other non-standard dialects have been experiencing a slow death. If you conducted an empirical survey, you would find large portions of the population in this region using SE--or sometimes even adopting aspects of another non-standard dialect because they have heard it and assume that if non-Mountaineers use a pronounciation, that must be correct, something I could give some examples of). The term AE is meaningful mainly in reference to a form of speech that is not fully used today by many people. But a lot of its features are retained by a part of the population of Appalachia and other areas that were influenced by AE (or maybe by the areas that influenced AE) over the past two centuries. One has to have observed this process--as I have for seven generations, starting with my great grandparents and extending to my first great grandchild). An outside linguist or even one who grew up in a less rural area would have great trouble making these distinctions. I can't say that AE ever predominated in every corner of Southern Appalachia or not. I do observe that a lot of its features can be heard in places like Indiana too. If anything, a lot of people in Appalachia are super-sensative and try to erase their old dialect, while it gets preserved in non-Appalachian areas. To an increasing extent, I hear national newscasters using some forms (e.g., "he fell off of the roof") that we in SE KY and everywhere else were taught were "bad English." But as I may have said before, a lot of what is singled out as AE in simply widespread vernacular usage pretty much everywhere. Yes, too much attention is given to rather trivial matters, such as "skillet." I grew up saying "skillet" and first heard the word "frying pan," I'm pretty sure, in "Old Dan Tucker was a fine old man...." I suspect that what people everywhere call this utensil depends in large part on what the label on the box calls it and reflects the place of manufacturing/distributing more than of purchase. I wonder if this was not the case even in the 19th century. I suspect that even then people "up the hollers" had "brought-on" [AE for "not homemade," but not widely used today] skillets. Too much emphasis is put on words such as "slobbering," which are in no way unique to any particular region. Nor is "lay down..." instead of "lie down." I believe "lay" (for "lie") is universal among people who don't know or care about "correct English," not just in Appalachia. Chewing a "plug of tobacco" may represent a stereotype of Appalachia, but has anybody conducted a study of how common it is in different regions, among people of different backgrounds. This a lot like the bigoted association of African-Americans with watermelons. And so many characteritics of our (former) dialect are ignored.Eleanor1944 (talk) 22:41, 10 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The article presently contains this sentence:

  • "Some speakers claim that those who came to Appalachia from Northern Ireland via Scotland, the Scotch-Irish or Ulster Scots, had the greatest role in shaping modern Appalachian English..."

I'm not about to make any claim about the Scots-Irish influence, just the fact that the Scots-Irish were people of Scottish origin waylaid in Ireland for a few centuries enroute to the Americas. The current phrasing makes it sound as though it's the other way 'round. Sigh. This is why I hate the word via. No one knows what it means. Anyway, I'll be changing this. JordeeBec 22:14, 21 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It was a simple error I made. I know exactly who the Scots Irish are, and I sure as hell know what via means, since I've taken lots of Latin. In the ablative singular, it means "by way of." Is that good enough for you or do you want to continue to be an obnoxious snob?

you'ns, we'ns and hit[edit]

I was surprised to see no mention of "you'ns", use in many areas instead of "you all" or "y'all". Ditto "We'ns" The plural of "you" in Appalachian English (AE) is "you'ns." I can't say what percentage of the people in any particular area say that today, but those who are continuing the old usage say that. However, people are made fun of for using their native dialect, which usually is treated as just "bad English." Kids learn in school not to talk that way, and if they go outside the area (or even among those in the area who look down on such vernacular) they learn to say "you all" instead. In addition, many people today in places like SE KY want to identify with the South and learn that that is the Southern way of talking. It is possible that "we'uns" is indigenous to some part of Appalachia, but I doubt it. I never heard it in SE KY, where I am from--or anywhere else as far as I remember. It probably is an invention of somebody who wanted to speak a little AE for fun and did not know how. The logic of this is that "you" is singular, and there is a natural tendency for any dialect to develop a distinctive plural. By contrast, "we" is plural, and there is no need for "we'uns." By the way, I do not normally think of the area north of the Mason-Dixon Line as being part of our region, although much of PA,NY, etc are in the Appalachians. But I was surprised to hear the term "you'uns" from a less educated person in the Harrisonburg area about ten years ago.Eleanor1944 (talk) 02:23, 7 November 2011 (UTC) Addendum (I know I said this before, but it needs to be added here)--When people want to emphasize that they mean every one of you, the say "you'ns ALL." Eleanor1944 (talk) 00:17, 14 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Pronouncing "it" as "hit" is also common as in "Hit's time to go." "Hit" is clearly the AE word. In pure AE, insofar as it exists, it is always used at the beginning of a sentence and also when the word is emphasized. Similarly, the "h" in "her," "him," and "his" is omitted--not just in AE, I think, but generally in American (and British???) speech--when it is in the middle of a sentence and not emphasized.Eleanor1944 (talk) 02:23, 7 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Seconding this - these are all things my entire family says, and I did not realize that it was unique to our dialect until I left home. I am not a linguist, however, and am unsure exactly how far these words are used abroad (I'm originally from the Knoxville/Chattanooga area, where this is common). 06:05, 10 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

i agree that youns should be included because it is kind of like a case of the word , youns, yall, you being an individual, youns being an exclusive group and yall being all inclusive, for example "you come here, youns get back to work, and the rest of yall get around" if that makes any sense at all.... —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ballcreekfreestate (talkcontribs) 22:54, 4 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

All good suggestions. If you are able to find credible sources and cite them, feel free to add them to the article. ++Arx Fortis 00:12, 5 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The problem is that "credible" sources are wrong about as much as they are right. Eleanor1944 (talk) 02:23, 7 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Southern vs. Appalachian English at the fringes -- class distinctions?[edit]

Many of the more educated people have connections in other parts of the South, whereas so many of the uneducated people moved to places such as Detroit and Gary. Yes, there is a tendency for some of the more educated people to try to be more Southern. That is just my observation. Eleanor1944 (talk) 02:28, 7 November 2011 (UTC) Has anyone ever formally studied how Southern and Appalachian English mix in the zones where they meet? I'm thinking of places such as Knoxville, Asheville or Roanoke. My impression is that the more Southern an inhabitant's speech, the more affluent they're likely to be. I could speculate on the reasons, but I'd be interested to learn what more formal studies have found. (Or if any have confirmed or disconfirmed my impression). --A. B. 17:08, 27 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A.B., see "Linguistic Diversity in the South" (Bender, et al) for some research on the issues you mention. In a nutshell, there does appear to be a general tendency that the Southern dialectic person has more formal education than someone with an Appalachian dialect. However, this is a by-product of, and not a cause of this disparity. The remoteness, and hence the difficulty in traveling into and out of the Appalachian mountains before the late 1800's, resulted in a certain amount of isolation that contributed to the disparity in educational resources from those in the flat-lands.
Also, while a rather dated book, "Our Southern Highlanders" (Horace Kephart) gives a very early 20th Century perspective on the Appalachian way of life and speech. ++ Arx Fortis 07:16, 30 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks -- I look forward to reading these! --A. B. (talk) 13:07, 16 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would argue--and perhaps inviting challenge--that AE is the most widespread dialect in the South, as opposed to the non-rhotic speech of some of the coastal areas and elsewhere. Eleanor1944 (talk) 02:28, 7 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

One more point: I agree that AE is rhotic. Dropping the "r" was what was noticeable to us about some people from some parts of the South (as well as England, Boston, etc.). However, when I was barely out of my teens I compiled a list of exceptions. I lost that list decades ago, but I could come up with some of them pretty easily. One of them is the phrase "head fo'most" (or "foot fo'most") (in each case, the last vowel is pronunced as short "u," as in "musty"--as in "he jumped off of the bluff head fo'most" and kilt hisself." (I haven't figured out how to use Int Phonetic symbols on my computer, but I am not sure how widely they are understood in any case.) Eleanor1944 (talk) 12:32, 7 November 2011 (UTC) One more example of "r" being dropped in AE (at least in SE KY, leading me to think it probably applies to the broader Appalachian region): The word "rural" is pronounced as "ru'al." Most everybody pronounced it that way. It was so widespread that college students from the North commented about it with amusement. But I really don't know whether this pronounciation had deep roots or not. I doubt whether this word, with any pronounciation, was part of most people's vocabularies in pioneer days. Eleanor1944 (talk) 04:44, 10 November 2011 (UTC) Another example: North (and South) Carolina, pronounced "Kulina" in my generation. But people born in 1875 or so said their people "come from North Kuliner." I suspect, though, that those who stayed within the boundaries of these states learnt to pronounce the word in the standard way???? Eleanor1944 (talk) 00:37, 14 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Shall only used in Law[edit]

Whaaa? I know 'being from here, speaking said dialect" doesn't make me an expert in most people's eyes, HOWEVER, the term 'Shall' is not and has never been used only in Law. And trust me, I live in an area and often visit the most rural and backwoods parts of Southern West Virginia. We do use 'Shall' in speech. Always have.


I think too much is being made of one word, considering how much other stuff is ignored. But the word "carrion" (pronounced as "kyarn" is (or at least used to be; I would say it still is) very widely used in AE. A supposedly worthless person--e.g., somebody who wouldn't raise enough food for his family--typically was referred to as "sorryier'n kyarn" (sorrier than carrion). But the word was not used widely used in other contexts. I never heard anybody call a decayed dead animal on the side of the road "kyarn." I might be stepping out on a limb, but I don't think we--maybe others did, though--knew the literal meaning of the word. As a child, I thought "kyarn" referred to excrement. And yes, people did (do?)speak of accidently stepping in, say, "dog kyarn." By the way, it is one syllable--no vowel between the "k" and "y." [The "y" also is a consonant.] Like in other instances, my bet would be that this is not limited to our region. Eleanor1944 (talk) 22:24, 11 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I understand that life-long residents who have been raised speaking the dialect and hearing it spoken are "does not cut it" when it comes to explaining to others how we speak, regardless of the profiency in Standard English they have achieved. However, kyarn not a separate collequialism in the sense that poke is when referring to a small bag or sack, but a dialectal pronunciation of carrion and therefore refers to all rotting flesh and not roadkill specifically.

SonPraises 12:19, 18 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What people mean when they say that speakers are not experts in the dialect is that there can be a lot of what you might call "ideolectical interference" -- that is, no two speakers of any language or dialect speak literally the exact 100% same way. There are a lot of minor variations in speech in an area from town to town and even from speaker to speaker, so part of dialect research is gathering data from a broad range of subjects and areas rather than just listening to one person tell you how they talk. (Also, sometimes speakers of a dialect are not able to accurately explain their word usage -- in the same way that native speakers of a language often cannot give good grammar explanations even if they use the grammar 100% correctly in their daily speech.) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 15:04, 27 February 2007 (UTC).Reply[reply]
When I hit college, I was deemed enough of an expert in Appalachian English (wich they referred to as Appalachian Regional Dialect) to be forced to sit through a non-credit class to weed out regionalisms. Be that as it may, there are a lot of claims made in this article, and the only one which is directly cited is my addition of directly.
I also object to the claim (which has every marking of original research!) that native speakers are stumped to explain their language--especially to native speakers. It takes only a teenager of average intelligence to explain what the word hella means (as in he's hella cool). He doesn't need a Ph.D. in linguistics who has conducted field research involving multi-city vocabulary surveys to be able to say "Hella means "very". He just needs a working knowledge of the slang he is using and of Standard English.
But this is a digression. The claim, which has no support that kyarn is a regional lexical feature rather than a reigional pronunciation of carrion, is still in the article. Since no claims in the article are referenced, and it would be useless to add the "citation needed" notation after every single sentence, implies that some original research is tollerated, but just not from native speakers of Appalachian English. SonPraises 02:58, 25 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

ok i am sorry that this is another one of those "i ben talkin like'is hyere awl mah life" comments but i am from from a south eastern kentucky dialect or maybe subdialect community and i would like to mention that in our community we use kyarn to refer to something that has a bad odor or to something that is unclean for example " hit'uz kivered all in nastiness and kyarn" but i'm pretty sure no one around here at least has any idea as to the origin of the word i know i have asked and i have probably heard about a hundred different suggestions, so i dunno if that makes it a lexical feature or not but i think it's a little more than a pronunciation of the word carrion, if indeed it is related to carrion then the relationship is lost to us. but thats all i wanted to say so carry on...(haa haa haa)Ballcreekfreestate 19:41, 5 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Userbox proposal[edit]

I've come up with Babel userboxes that might work for Appalachian English. (If you're a Wikipedian but don’t know what userboxes are, or Babel, please read WP:UBX and WP:BABEL.)

Comments are invited, but will be less welcome from folks who don't recognize that "Southern" and "Appalachian" are not the same dialect. Gin ye caint tell nary a diffrence, I'd as lief ye stayed furnint yer own halss an dint bother me none consarnin thisere.

The boxes are here. -- Rob C (Alarob) 00:26, 12 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Non-ISO language userboxes are here. -- Rob C. alias Alarob 00:17, 24 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Currently the article has two seemingly contradictory paragraphs:

English speakers who settled the area came mostly from West Anglia, the Scottish Lowlands, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland via Northern Ireland in the middle 18th and early 19th centuries, and their speech forms the basis of the dialect. Along with German immigrants, these groups populated an area which is still largely homogeneous culturally.

Some speakers claim that those who came to Appalachia from Scotland by way of Northern Ireland, the Scotch-Irish or Ulster Scots, had the greatest role in shaping modern Appalachian English, but there is no evidence of this aside from overly sympathetic and romanticized comparisons with modern English spoken by Protestants in Ulster. Such comparisons are often made by self-educated amateur local historians who self-identify as Irish or Scotch-Irish.

Aren't the English speaking people who immigrated to Northern Ireland and then to America Scotch-Irish? That is basically what the Scots-Irish American page says, as well as various books I have. So the first paragraph here seems to be describing the Scotch-Irish (aka Scots-Irish), while the second paragraph denies any connection in a rather critical tone. One book I have, "A History of Appalachia" (Drake, 2001), describes the dialect of the 18th century Scotch-Irish immigrants as what became the norm in Appalachia. Among the specifics he describes are "the love of r, as in fire (far), hair (har), and bear (bar); triphongs and quadrithongs, as "abaout" (for about ) and "haious" (for house); the use of h for specific emphasis, as "hit" (it), "hain't" (ain't), and hyander (yonder); the double and triple negatives for emphasis.." and more.

I'm tempted to be bold and simply delete the second paragraph and add some of this info with references. But I thought I'd write here first, since it looks like others have discussed this a bit in the past. Thoughts? Pfly 07:59, 6 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You Fanatic Northeastern Liberals (Wikipedia) have a political agenda rewritting history the way you see fit where im from Southern Ohio Wilmington we Conservative bible-belt Hillbillies disagree with this.
—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Celticpete (talkcontribs) 01:37, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
I have no political agenda and was merely mentioning something I read. But I get the message and will leave this page alone. Pfly 06:48, 12 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There's no such thing as 'Scotch-Irish'. The mis-use of 'Scotch' to refer to people is a peculiar and bad USA habit. It shows ignorance, and shouldn't be part of an encyclopaedia except in a section of its own about why it's inaccurate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:18, 1 December 2009 (UTC) My Scottish fellow student straightened me out on that in 1960. Since then, I have referred to people as having "Scotch blood" only when they drink that instead of, say, Bourbon.Eleanor1944 (talk) 04:26, 12 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Writing 'Scotch-Irish (aka Scots-Irish)' is the height of breathtaking USA-centricity. It's 'Scots' and 'Scottish' that are the norm, and any 'aka' should refer to the USA's habit. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:20, 1 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You're wasting your time. If you put "Scots," somebody will change it to "Scotch." If you put "Scotch," somebody will change it to "Scots." Scottish-Irish looks good to me. Bms4880 (talk) 22:32, 1 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The issue that made me start this talk page section wasn't about the term Scotch-Irish, Scots-Irish, or whatever. It was about the claim of there being "no evidence" of Scots-Irish influence on Appalachian English, and how such a claim contradicted other parts of this page. The "no evidence" passage was removed long ago, so this is no longer an issue. It's funny how my original post turned into criticism of saying Scotch-Irish instead of Scots-Irish. I wrote Scotch-Irish simply because that was the term in the books I was reading. Since then I've read more and come to see Scots-Irish as more generally acceptable. Even so, I'm surprised to see the usage of "Scotch" called ignorant, inaccurate, and so on. I can believe the usage is "peculiar" to the USA, but it seems no more inaccurate than calling Deutsche people "Germans", or calling the trunk of a car "boot". How ignorant is that? Two countries separated by a common language indeed. Pfly (talk) 09:34, 2 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Fly, you shouldn't be such a Fanatic Northeastern Liberal trying to "rewritt" history, with your "books" and stuff :)
From what I can tell, "Scots" is the preferred term, or at least that's what most recent writers and academics are using (including the Encyclopedia of Appalachia), and that's what people from Scotland call themselves. It has been slow to replace "Scotch" in general American usage, I imagine, because "Scots" doesn't sound like a demonym (much like you wouldn't say "Germans-Irish" or "Italians-Irish"). A few writers still use "Scotch," though. One writer (I think John Alexander Williams) uses "Irish protestants," claiming that's what they called themselves when they arrived in America, and others simply use "Ulster Scots." Bms4880 (talk) 15:43, 2 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There a whole section on the Scotch/Scots topic at Scotch-Irish American#Scots-Irish as a general term and the subsection "History of the name Scotch-Irish". Seems to be explained pretty well. Looks like people have gone over the topic repeatedly on the talk page there. There's an interesting quote in the section Talk:Scotch-Irish_American#More on Scots-Irish vs Scotch-Irish. Apparently the use of Scotch for people, while offensive in Scotland, is normal in Ulster. Personally it doesn't matter to me which term is used. It's an interesting example of conflicting usage between America and the British Isles, and apparently between Scotland and Northern Ireland too. Pfly (talk) 19:07, 2 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Certainly the term "Scotch-Irish" is USA-centric. That's because it's an American term. It's a bit of American tradition and it is a correct way to refer to these folks in American usage, even if "Scots" is the correct way to refer to Scots. Traditional American usage may not always coincide with modern European usage, but that's what makes tradition so colorful. Someone mentioned that "there is no such thing as Scotch-Irish". I agree it is a ham-handed way of describing a group of people who were not really Irish and not necessarily Scots. They came to Ulster from many different places, Scotland, England, France, Germany, Flanders, and only stayed in Ulster for one or two generations (not centuries as one person wrote) before moving on to America. Patrick Griffin titled his book on the subject The People with No Name, precisely because of the difficulty in pinning down their identity. His ultimate conclusion is that they defined themselves more by religion than by nationality. Eastcote (talk) 23:13, 4 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


"Reckon: think, guess, suppose. I reckon you don't like soup beans. This is an actual English word that is used only in Appalachia, Britain and Australia."

I live in Indiana, and can attest that the word "reckon" is not used only in Appalachia, Britain and Australia. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 04:03, 15 April 2007 (UTC).Reply[reply]

It is often used in Canada as well, so I've added that in. Not as often as "think", but it's not exactly rare either. Just search for any Canadian newspaper + "reckon" and you'll get many results. In my experience, it is used when the desire is to make the sentence sound a little more sophisticated. Odd how that works, no? Here it is associated more with the King's English rather than with hillbillies. Esn 08:20, 17 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The plain fact is that nearly everything this article points to as being characteristic of Appalachian English is common in most of the South among native white speakers, especially the less-educated ones. It is making altogether too much of a distinction that barely exists. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:11, 25 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    The word "reckon," as used in Mountain Dialect, is fully in line with Standard English, meaning something like "calculate" (e.g., "I reckon that I have the best baby in the world"). It is much more commonplace in Appalachia than in many other places. I am 71 years old, but when I was 10 years old I read a few Western novels. I remember so distinctively  one coyboy charactter of Southern origin (was this Wister's, The Virginian? I am not sure). He observed that Southerners said "I reckon," while Northerners said "I guess." I (and people from my Southern Appalachia–n region) regularly used the former more than the latter. But ever since reading that coyboy's comments, I have observed usage. By the way, has anybody noticed that it is used, for example, in the King James Version of the Bible--in one of Paul's epistles.Come to think of it, I reckon it is in Ch 8 of the Epistle to the Romans, although I should have checked before saying so.

I reckon that few if any others have noticed this, but I reckon I could come up with several usages that might strike most English speakers as "incorrect" but which are, to use the same words again, fully in line with Standard English. In at least a few cases, the Appalachian usage is closer to "the Queen's English" than is that which one hears on ABC, NBC, etc. Another observation: I reckon I may have picked up the usage "I reckon not" (in response to a question) from that Western paperback too. But the more normal usage in Appalachia is (or at least was), "I don't reckon" or "I don't reckon so," as in an answer to a question. Eleanor1944 (talk) 20:31, 5 November 2011 (UTC) Addendum: The one way AE deviates from SE with regard to "reckon" is in pronounciation. In AE, it is "REK-in" (as opposed to the SE "REK-on." Eleanor1944 (talk) 04:26, 12 November 2011 (UTC) ["Yonder is used in all forms of English. It was probably more commonplace in AE than in some other variants. But so what if people in our region have better vocabularies? But old people pronounced it as "yander" or "dhander." In my youth, a few of the people born in the 19th century shortened it and made it a prefix to other words, as in "I'm a-goin to hoe this row o' corn all the way to dhan-end." Actually, I had forgotten this usage until one of my uncles reminded me of it just a few months ago. Eleanor1944 (talk) 04:26, 12 November 2011 (UTC)] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Eleanor1944 (talkcontribs) Reply[reply]

One comment in response to the 2007 statement that "Here [in Canada] it ["reckon"] is associated more with the King's English rather than with hillbillies." Actually, there are several examples of AE usage that correspond to the King's English than it does to general American usage. Many/most people try/have tried to shed those usages because they think they are "incorrect." I don't know if anybody is interested (or would believe me), but I can put a list together sometime. As for "hillbillies," one historian believes that the word originated because of support for King William (and Queen Mary?) in the back country. I doubt that, but I thought I would pass it on. Eleanor1944 (talk) 01:08, 27 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ozark English + Appalachian English + X = Southern Midland English[edit]

I'm baffled as to why the area described does not include the Ozarks where a nearly identical dialect is spoken. In fact, I haven't found any description of Appalacian English, other than geographic, in the article that does not apply to Ozark English. I'm both a linguist (in the sense of speaking multiple languages) and a native speaker of Ozark English but I haven't done any "original" research in this area, I'm just baffled at the peculiar exclusion.

I think the article title should be changed to Southern Midland English and the correct geographic area be covered. There are differences between Appalachian and Ozark varieties but they don't seem to be covered by this article in its current form, anyway.

The Ozark variety may be in greater danger of disappearing due to tourism and dilution but let's not completely forget it. Halfelven 05:47, 19 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That would be appropriate only if the term is already in use among scholars. Coining a new term, or redefining linguistic categories, is well beyond the scope of Wikipedia and would constitute original research.

So is there a consensus among linguists about the existence of Southern Midland English? Is there danger of confusing it with a dialect of the English Midlands? -- Rob C (Alarob) 00:23, 25 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I am not a linguist, but I definitely remember seeing "Midland" as a category or classification of American English dialects on maps from various dictionaries (probably all variations of Webster's, whether Merriam-Webster, Simon & Schuster, or otherwise), and I do believe at least one of the maps broke it down into "Northern" and "Southern Midland". The area basically begins in the Mid-Atlantic region on the East coast, and includes Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, and much of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, and eastern Kansas (areas further west had not been fully studied yet), as well as parts of New York, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. I believe it definitely has, or had, some currency among lexographers (dictionary writers), if not other linguists. I am not sure if in fact it has any ties or relationship to the Midland dialect in England; so I cannot rule this possibility out. The dialect seems to be approximately intermediate between "northern" and "southern" US speech, is largely rhotic, and is basically (though not entirely) identified with much of the Midwestern and Western United States, although points further west than eastern Kansas have not been thoroughly analyzed. By the way, since when does there have to be a consensus (total agreement) among experts in a given field in order for something to be worthy of inclusion? User:Shanoman12.40.34.150 13:55, 12 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Appalachian: Pronunciation?[edit]

I'm a bit put off by the fact that this article claims that AP-uh-LAY-shun is the correct and common pronunciation of the word "Appalachian" outside of the area. I have consulted several sources, including the author of "Is There a Cow in Moscow?" (Charles Harrington Elster), who says that the pronunciation AP-uh-LAY-shun is not accepted by any modern dictionaries as being preferred. I can attest to the fact that AP-uh-LATCH-in is used here. It's even listed in many dictionaries (where as AP-uh-LAY-shun is only listed in two, according to Elster), and was once preferred by most (says his book, "Is There a Cow in Moscow?") Any other users out there that agree that this needs to be changed? - Isaac Smith 03:57, 19 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Examples of Vocabulary[edit]

I have added some material on two allegedly peculiar AE terms today--"hull" and "holler." You may want to change what I did, but I want to assure you that this was not meant as sarcasm. Eleanor1944 (talk) 21:35, 13 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't see much point in quoting dictionary definitions within the article body. I have added a statement explaining that the words in the vocabulary section are not exclusive to the Appalachian region, but merely heard with greater frequency. I'm also not sure "holler" belongs in the vocabulary section, as it's not really a word, but rather a pronunciation of the word "hollow" (the same pronunciation occurs in "follow," "swallow," "wallow," etc.). Bms4880 (talk) 16:13, 14 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some of these words are not really exclusively Appalachian.

Poke is used up and down the east to mean bag. In the AE I grew up with in the 194s/1950s, it was used only for the brown paper bags used in stores. But that must have been a fairly recent innovation. A burlap bag is/was called a "coffee sack." I would be very much surprised to find out that that usage goes back to pioneer days. It might have resulted from the way some particular company packaged its coffee. Eleanor1944 (talk) 00:21, 9 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Coke is the name for all soda in Texas and lots of the sout. In SE KY we called it "pop" when we went to town a few times a year. When we got electricity in 1949 (and refrigerators), RC Cola (and Nehi) started being delivered to our country store. One of the neighbors/cousins had married a woman from Arkansas, and one day, to my surprise, she called it "coke." I was about nine years old. That sounded very strange. I suppose the term has caught on to some extent since then. In any case, these are other examples of words that were introduced only in the 20th century.Eleanor1944 (talk) 00:21, 9 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

People in Chicago and Detroit say "Pop" instead of Soda or Coke.

I don't know about the rest of the country, but I've heard "fixin'" all over Missouri.

ok i want to call into question some more of the vocabulary examples that were given

firstly "Get me that buggy, and make sure it don't have no broken wheel." what the hell, that is a perfect example of a nonspeakers failed attempt to reconstruct the dialect, maybe that statement was recorded somewhere but if you were to walk around here talking like that people would think you were crazy as owl turds, may i suggest that this example just be removed also i think pokestock was made up, to be fair we have a word "polkstalk" which is pronounced like "pokestawk" except that it does not refer to a gun of any kind but rather to the stalk of the polkweed plant (not sure about the proper name)and i agree that coke is more of a southern thing we call a "soda" a "pop" also old timers use the word "dope" which is preceded by the color of the beverage for instance a coke would be a "black dope" a mountain dew would be a "green dope" i think this comes from the days of soda fountains in the drugstore, but like i said thats almost strictly oldtimer speak

i never heard the word swan in it's suggested usage and i suspect that if indeed it is a hillbilly word it is oldtimerspeak from a state far far away from kentucky

also yonder pronounced "yanner" in kentucky is used the same as in the bible or shakespear as in over there, or the opposite of nigh, it can be used with any combination of words and still be corrrect it's only oddity is that appalachians are actually still using it when the rest of the world has dropped it

and trade is ofen used in the context of shopping but trade refers to as in exchanging goods/services/money possibly coming from the deepseated hillbilly passion for flea markets and bartering with friends and neighbors or even complete strangers in order to exchange the junk that they have for the junk that someone else has,

and cornpone....cornpone is correct but the article should point out that the operative word is pone, which is a word that refers to the shape of the bread, pone by it's self can be and often is used to describe a big flat lump of something i.e. "at'air hog was suh big he had big fatpones a-hangin down over ee'z eyes"

and there are boths plums and plumbs, in hillbilly language a plum being a delicious fruit, and plumb meaning either straight (in reference to carpentry) or very/fully as in "i'm plumb tuckered out"Ballcreekfreestate 06:21, 10 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

First let's clarify a few things. First it's Appalachian English, Appalachian Regional Dialect, Midland-South dialect. "Hillbilly language" carries a negative connotation. (If you are trying to position yourself as more intelligent than the region's inhabitants, you might want to locate a shift key.)
I too share your concern that the list may be overly inclusive of terms not necessarily unique to the dialect, and that the example may be overly specific in its scope. One of the examples you mentioned "buggy". A buggy in the dialect is not only referring to a shopping cart, but it is one of several kind. A horse-drawn buggy, a baby buggy, a shopping buggy. And buggy to refer to a shopping cart is found in the broader standard English, as the following notes:
Those looking for a less technological approach to staving off the nasties ferried about by their shopping buggies should attempt to fall into the habit of always washing their hands as soon as they return home.... ("The Buggy Buggy" [
I also object to the following inclusions for the reason stated:
    • Blinds: Blinds is widely used in Standard English. Think of the term Venetian blinds--which yeilds 1.2 million hits when Googled. Indeed there is an Wikipedia Article on Window blind
    • Chair: The issue is not one of vocabulary, but pronunciation
    • Kyarn: For the same reason (see my comments above)
    • Soda: For the same reason (especially since this phenomenon of the dialect was specifically addressed earlier in the article).
    • Yonder: Though this is dated in modern usage, this was once much used in Standard English. (Think of the songs "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder" and the Air Force Anthem [There they go into the wild blue yonder].)

["Yonder is used in all forms of English. It was probably more commonplace in AE than in some other variants. But so what if people in our region have better vocabularies? But old people pronounced it as "yander" or "dhander." In my youth, a few of the people born in the 19th century shortened it and made it a prefix to other words, as in "I'm a-goin to hoe this row o' corn all the way to dhan-end." Actually, I had forgotten this usage until one of my uncles reminded me of it just a few months ago. Eleanor1944 (talk) 04:26, 12 November 2011 (UTC)]Reply[reply]

It may be that these terms while not wholly unique to the dialect in the way that "directly" or "caps" is, that the frequency of usage might make them worthy of inclusion.
Also, as it has been previously noted just because you haven't heard it doesn't mean that it isn't used that way in other ways. I haven't heard of pokestock either, but doing a google search, I find that it is used to describe a gun, though its use is apparently rare. My point to the obsessive warnings against original research is not that I think it's okay to take out information because I've never heard it before, but that for those who speak the dialect -- especially native speakers -- to be told that we lack the wherewithal to describe it accurately is a false notion.
Also I want to assure you that "swan" as is illustrated is used exactly that way and it's used in Kentucky. I've used that exact word and its near equivalent ponm'onor myself and when I get angry, I sometimes revert to its use. I sometimes purposely use the expression "wean that dog from sucking eggs" because it is so colorful, though I suppose some of the color is lost on those who do not know the most effective method of such weaning is.
SonPraises (talk) (contributions) 05:21, 27 October 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

For those who want a professionally-made wordlist, I've got a link for ya. While it does use common English words as well, this list includes them to show how their use differs from more standard kinds.

— ᚹᚩᛞᛖᚾᚻᛖᛚᛗ (talk) 07:46, 21 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks. We actually cite that page several times. It's buried in the Notes section.

I added the word "Quare"--which is so characteristic of AE--with a citation. This is really a matter of pronounciation rather than a vocabulary item, but other such words (e.g., "Drekly") are included in this section. These two words have such subtly different meanings in SE and AE that arguably their inclusion here is justified. If I have included too much bibliographical information for the source, I welcome removal of some of it. As a newcomer to Wikipedia, I was afraid of trying to create a footnote. Somebody else may want to do that if I don't get to the matter soon. By the way, I still have not read the complete article (only the abstract), but it (and a book by the same author) might be significant enough to be referred to at the beginning of the article--and perhaps elsewhere. Eleanor1944 (talk) 16:20, 20 November 2011 (UTC) Another addition: more on "gaum." I hope I've not gaumed up the entry too much. If I am going to continue adding sources, I need to learn how to put them in footnote form. Again, someone else may want to move the sources to footnotes.Eleanor1944 (talk) 03:29, 23 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've moved some messages that I--as as newby to wikipedia--had inserted within another message. Eleanor1944 (talk) 16:04, 23 November 2011 (UTC) To call a grocery cart or whatever a "buggy" is just colorful, jocular language that one could find anywhere. It has nothing to do with regional dialect, I suspect. Eleanor1944 (talk) 00:21, 9 November 2011 (UTC) "Polkstalk" for gun might be a very localized term, but I suspect that this is just another colorful individual usage. Eleanor1944 (talk) 00:21, 9 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

See note 25: Please let me add one qualification regarding "ary'ne" and "nary'ne." If the word "one" is stressed, the "w" sound returns. Thus: "nary ONE." I hope somebody will add this point, as I don't seem to have access to the footnotes edit. Eleanor1944 (talk) 00:52, 27 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


This term is in common use in Cornwall, UK (the only Celtic county in England and with its own distinct and recently revived Cornish language) and, while not exclusive to the area, it is considered to be such a characteristic local expression that it appears on souvenirs and humourous stickers for t-shirts, cars etc (e.g. "Cornishmen do it dreckly"). Worth linking? Expecially given the other Celtic influences/citations (Scots/Irish). Plutonium27 (talk) 15:59, 16 February 2008 (UTC) In my Appalachian dialect, the word "dreckly" had such a distinctive meaning (and was used so often) that only recently, in my seventies, did I realize that it was the same word as "directly." It had something of an implication not of "right now" but of "pretty soon" (sort of like somebody being asked to do something and responding "right away." Eleanor1944 (talk) 20:40, 5 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

West Anglia[edit]

Where is West Anglia? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) at 16:28, 15 July 2008

HAHA!! Just what i was thinking, blatant Americanism, East Anglia is probably what they were looking for. (talk) 09:22, 21 May 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Where in the article is "West Anglia" mentioned? Bms4880 (talk) 13:24, 21 May 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Changes, 11/25/2008[edit]

I've made several changes:

  • Slight re-wording of the lead, moved specifics regarding the Scots-Irish origins to the new "Origins" section.
  • I added citations for as many items as I could find. If there are any examples of original research, please point them out.
  • I split colloquialisms into a separate section.
  • I added several words to the vocabulary section.
  • I created a section comparing Appalachian English to other dialects. This section should probably be expanded, as its the basic statement as to why Appalachian is a distinct dialect.

I removed, truncated, or re-worded examples using eye dialect in the Sample vocabulary section. Attempts to represent Appalachian speech using eye dialect typically rely on local dialects (sometimes very localized), and it's almost impossible to represent our entire region using this method. Furthermore, phonetic Appalachian representation (or any dialect) tends to confuse people living outside the dialect region, especially people who aren't native English speakers. Basically, while eye dialect can be amusing, it does more harm than good. In an encyclopedic context, it should only be used when necessary to explain a word's pronunciation or context.

When adding words to the sample vocabulary section, editors should take care that the word is part of the Appalachian dialect, and not simply local slang or words that have crept into the local vernacular from an adjacent dialect region. I found sources for most of these, however. Bms4880 (talk) 17:15, 25 November 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Neutrality dispute[edit]

I've removed bias words and added requested citations. If there are any more issues with bias in the Origins section, please point them out. Bms4880 (talk) 20:24, 5 December 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

American in origin[edit]

While the Scotch-Irish and Northern English settlers had a strong influence on the Appalachian dialect,[85] linguistic analyses suggest that most of the dialect is American in origin

Really? So it's a direct descendant of Old Euessaic, which itself is a descendant of the native Proto-American tongue that was spoken around 8000 BC by the ancient Proto-Cowboy people in what is today Northern California? Influence from the British Isles is marginal and amounts to a few loanwords? Jokes aside, I suppose I can guess approximately what this sentence was meant to express, but the wording is imprecise to the point of being confusing and it can seem a little Freudian, too.-- (talk) 00:01, 29 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In other words, it evolved as a distinct dialect in what is now the United States. Elements of the dialect are found in Colonial American English that aren't present in the English of the British Isles. Bms4880 (talk) 01:34, 29 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proper picture?[edit]

I don't think that this has been discussed yet; though if it has, I do apologize. My general concern is that the picture currently appearing at the start of the article, which is a picture of the general "Appalachia" region of the United States, is probably not 100% appropriate and potentially misleading. While this article is about the Appalachian dialect of English, the article itself makes it clear that this dialect is not present throughout all or even a majority of the Appalachian region. Although the term "Appalachian English" is spoken in regions of Appalachia, it seems potentially misleading in the sense that the dialect is not spoken in the entire region shown. I would suggest either getting a new picture, which covers a more limited area, or simply removing the picture all together. (talk) 18:04, 17 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Double nouns: "stair step"?[edit]

Could someone with access to the original source figure out why this is being called a double noun, with the second word being redundant? Wikitionary says that "stair" can refer to either a single step or an entire set of stairs. Thanks! Allens (talk) 02:43, 26 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That's why it's a double noun. One could simply say "step" or "stair". To say "stair step" puts two nouns together redundantly. Eastcote (talk) 11:33, 26 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Stair" can mean either a single step or an entire set of stairs (how can one necessarily tell which is meant? Context doesn't always indicate), and "step" can mean a lot of different things. "Stair" by itself is insufficiently specific; "a stair step" is a way of compactly saying "a step of a set of stairs". Allens (talk) 12:23, 26 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's how all the double nouns work. "Standard" American usage would be to simply say "Item X is on the stairs", or "Item X is on the step". To double it up to say "Item X is on the stair step" is an Appalachian usage. Eastcote (talk) 23:30, 26 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In that particular case, I can see the argument that "stair step" is redundant. But in the phrases "That stair needs fixing" or "That step needs fixing", it is either unclear as to that it's only a single step that needs fixing, or a confusing usage of "step", whereas "That stair step needs fixing" is clear(er), and thus not redundant. Allens (talk) 12:41, 5 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The term "stair step" is widespread enough in general English usage that if you go to Amazon you can find "stair step baskets" for sale. It is not even a redundancy, as there are different kinds of steps--stairsteps and,say, doorsteps. Eleanor1944 (talk) 04:26, 12 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think that's why the aticle says "seemingly" redundant. While they seem redundant to a speaker of Standard American English, to the Appalachian ear double nouns are not redundant. One makes the other clearer, e.g. that's not just a dog, it's a particular kind of dog, a "hound dog" or a "poodle dog". Eastcote (talk) 13:01, 5 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Good point; thank you. (Although I'm from Appalachia, and would call "hound dog" or "poodle dog" redundant - it's "stair step" that isn't.) Allens (talk) 13:05, 5 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Pronunciation of the word "Appalachian" revisited[edit]

Eleanor1944 recently made an editorial comment that "in fact, the term [Appalachian] was not well known in the area until recently and thus had no vernacular pronunciation, but some teachers in Appalachian Studies seem to have decided that this [Appa-latch-ian] is the correct pronunciation". (Never mind for a moment that Eleanor1944 should provide citations and should avoid edits that are personal opinion). I would agree with Eleanor1944 on this particular point. No one I know of, while in the region, ever had the need to use the word "Appalachian". My family never used the word till we left the region, and I always heard it pronounced "Appa-lay-shun". If giving a reference of where we were from, we always said "Sand Mountain". These days I say "Appalachia" but that's because of who I'm speaking to. When living in the mountains there was no reason to use the word. Eastcote (talk) 13:22, 5 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's used fairly commonly in East Tennessee, with the "latch" pronunciation. Bms4880 (talk) 20:23, 5 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I am quite aware of the problem of sources. The problem is that the published materials are highly inaccurate. I noticed this when I was a teenager reading novels by people such as Jesse Stuart. One problem is that they often have lost touch with their original dialect (or learnt Standard English forms in the beginning). A greater problem for an outside linguist (or, for that matter, anyone who did not learn this as his/her first language and, thoughout life, listened for the way Standard English had eroded the regional dialect to different degrees for each generation) would not be able to judge whether what they heard was Mountain Dialect or usages that people had learnt to substitute for it. My academic work has been very far afield from this, but throughout my life I have listened for these things, and I often was distracted from my work if I saw a book on linguistics. I don't want to sound arrogant, but I regard myself as an original source on Mountain Dialect. I could easily publish articles in some journal and then cite that, but I am too much tied up with other things at the moment. I was born in 1940, and I occasionally came across the word "Appalachian Mountains" in school. I asked somebody, a former teacher, if that is the name of our mountains, and her response was that she thought these were the "Cumberland Mountains." Those who knew the word, I am sure, used the "ay" pronunciation. The first time I found out the supposedly "correct" pronunciation was when I was reunited with my old high school teacher in the 1980s (by that time, he was the head of an Appalachian Studies program in a small college), and he corrected my pronunciation. My basic point, though, is that there is no traditional vernacular pronunciation of the word "Apalachia." I suspect that the article cited was not really very authoritative. In my case, I actually thought about compiling a dictionary of Mountain Dialect when I was still a teenager. I went around using the international phonetic alphabet. One problem was that I could not find symbols for some of the sounds. Sorry to be verbose! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Eleanor1944 (talkcontribs) 21:16, 5 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I suggest that instead of wholescale edit-warring (one person removing what the other has put in), a tag of Dubious (put inside doubled { and } symbols) on anything that Eleanor1944's experience contradicts is preferable. Allens (talk) 22:53, 5 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't agree. What Eleanor1944 suggests violates WP:OR. It's original research. The material in the article must be backed by a secondary source. Bms4880 (talk) 00:08, 6 November 2011 (UTC).Reply[reply]

I'm sorry! I won't be able to get any corrections made unless I find somebody who has got it right in an encyclopaedia or whatever. But what I find written about this dialect is always defective, although it usually includes some correct stuff. You know nothing about me. How would I expect you to take my word. That is not even my name. Let's say it is the name of my favorite aunt or whomever and the date of her death or whatever.Eleanor1944 (talk) 01:23, 7 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would have to agree with Bms4880. The Talk page is the place for personal commentary, not the article. If Eleanor1944 can provide sources, OK, but otherwise it's OR. Eastcote (talk) 02:29, 6 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sorry! I was just feeling my way with this thing and too much of a hurry to read the rules. Eleanor1944 (talk) 01:23, 7 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I see that what I said was unclear. What I was suggesting was that Eleanor1944 not put in new material without sources for it - but that she should label (via Template:Dubious) material that, so far as she knows, is incorrect, so that people can be encouraged to seek out new reliable sources on it. The material in the article should certainly be backed by sources - but it should also be correct, or at least warn the reader when it might not be; such a warning is the function of that template, as is encouraging seeking out new reliable sources. Allens (talk) 02:44, 6 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
OK, I see. Yes, I agree with that. Eastcote (talk) 03:33, 6 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't see the point of a dubious tag. If Eleanor1944 thinks all the published material is flawed based on nothing more than personal experience, then there isn't much to discuss. Furthermore, I don't understand the complaint– that the "latch" pronunciation is not frequently used, that's not the correct pronunciation, that it's not the original way to pronounce it, what's the complaint? Bms4880 (talk) 03:55, 6 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree that the "latch" pronunciation is likely common now, but it has nothing to do with the region's traditional dialect. It is a book word (to make up a term for the lack of a better one), not something that we learnt from our grandpaps.Eleanor1944 (talk) 01:23, 7 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Walt Wolfram, a noted linguist at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, was raised in Pennsylvania. When asked about the correct pronunciation of "Appalachian" his response was that it was with the "LATCH". Since his career has been dedicated to studying dialects, his voice carries authority on the matter.[1] Those who use the "lay" pronunciation often come across as trying to sound more educated than they apparently are. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)


That's just your opinion. As to Wolfram, he's also entitled to his opinion, and he's probably right about where he is from, assuming he actually said/believes that, as you provided no sources for the claim. We're certainly not going to add it to the article without a direct citation. - BilCat (talk) 07:32, 27 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wash vs Warsh.[edit]

This article contains a sourced statement that somehow "warsh" or "worsh" is an Appalachian pronunciation of "wash". Maybe some speakers of "Appalachian English" use it, but none in my family (from the area where Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama meet). I now live in Michigan, and it is often heard here, spoken by native Michiganians. I always thought it was a Michigan thing and it always sounded strange to my ear. Even if some speakers of Appalachian English pronounce "wash" this way, it is by no means an exclusively Appalachian pronunciation, so shouldn't be used as an example of Appalachian English. Eastcote (talk) 17:13, 5 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is r-intrusion, explained under phonemic incidence. It's extremely common in some parts of the region, and occurs in other words ("ought to" as "orta", e.g.). Bms4880 (talk) 20:21, 5 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It is fairly common, although that was not the way I (growing up in an ultrarural area of Southeast KY) first learnt to pronunce the word. Some people used the "r" sound. I reckon that the "r" sound must have been in the dialect, though, in say the late 19th century and was one of the features being gradually peeled off (I have always thought of the effects of standard language on dialects as being like the layers of an onion, with the outer part coming off first.) I was quite impressed when I went to the closest big city (Knoxville, TN) and heard the "r" sound in the word there. I suspect that the "r" sound was present in the word generally throughout Appalachia at one time but gradually was omitted by more and more people under the influence of "correct" English. I can't say for sure, though. I have heard it from people from various areas of Appalachia, and possibly outside the region too. Eleanor1944 (talk) 20:52, 5 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, but is it something that is peculiar to Appalachian English? Or is it found in other regions as well? As I said, I hear it in Michigan, from people with varied backgrounds: Polish, German, Irish, etc. So I'm not sure this is something that is peculiarly "Appalachian". Eastcote (talk) 20:58, 5 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, it's not peculiar to Appalachian English. Bms4880 (talk) 21:03, 5 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Very little in AE is peculiar to Appalachia. Yes, "Ought"--pronounced "ourt" (with a long "o" in pure AE)is another example. Far from being used only by very old people, you will hear it from many college graduates, I daresay, in SE KY. I remember a school principal at the U. of KY in Summer 1959 using it. Sorry I said that "worsh" is the only example of the intrusive "r." I think there may be one or two other examples, but not many. [One more example of "r" intrusion: in "ruin" (pronounced "rurn" to rhyme with "churn." I can't say right off how much this pronounciation is being "corrected," but it was pretty general three or four decades ago. Eleanor1944 (talk) 02:40, 14 November 2011 (UTC)] By the way, although AE is indeed rhotic, unlike some other Southern American dialects, there are a few exceptions. One is in the phrases "head fo'must" (for "head foremost) and "foot fo'must" (for "foot foremost"), as in "he fell off of the bluff head fo'must and got kilt." I was thinking of these pronunciations some months ago and asked my wife, who is from near Roanoke,VA, whether she was familiar with it. Her reply was that her grandmother did. That is another indication of how most aspects of the dialect are the same even in areas three hundred or so miles apart. In AE, there are also at least two examples of "r" being dropped before a vowel. "Through" is pronounced as "thu," and "through" is pronounced as "tho"--as in "He tho'd the rock thu the winder and broke the glass." I've rambled from one topic to another too much. I'll get bback to the pronunciation of "glass," "class," etc. on another occasion.Eleanor1944 (talk) 00:06, 9 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Again, not something I can point to as research, but I likewise grew up in Southeast KY (Middlesboro, to be precise), with the nearest city being Knoxville, TN, and do not remember hearing that much r-intrusion there - I think I did when I went further south, though. Allens (talk) 21:18, 5 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I am from the next county, a rural area in which Middlesboro is considered quite a city. Although not everybody pronounced the word with an "r," a lot of people did. I am not quite sure whether all of the less educated people born in about 1875 did so. The two pronouncations may have co-existed in the same area all along. That is one point I am not quite sure of. I even asked one of my grandparents in the 1950s about how their grandparents pronounced certain words, but unfortunately that was not one of them. As for whether it is peculiarly Appalachian, I suspect not. I doubt whether there is anything that is peculiarly Appalachian, although some of these forms are more highly concentrated there than in other places. As for the pronounciation "worsh," I believe this is the only such word with "r" intrusion. Eleanor1944 (talk) 21:24, 7 November 2011 (UTC) See above for another example, though.Eleanor1944 (talk) 00:06, 9 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I know this is a very old post, but I wanted to add in something. My family is Appalachian and most say it the "warsh" or "warsh." All my older family members say it, except my parents, one of which is from Kentucky and the other is educated and gave up the dialect. I don't remember hearing young people say it (I mean, we don't really wash stuff together much, so why would I hear them use the word?). I am curious if it is shifting because I know the dialect is often attacked by virtually everyone else in the country. I don't really know why it would matter if it is peculiarly Appalachian or not. It is very uncommon in the US and, at least in my experience, is the norm in Appalachian English. The dialect will have similarities with others but it should still be mentioned. (talk) 00:17, 18 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposal to automatically archive the page[edit]

This page is getting quite large. It's a good practice to archive older comments, moving them to indexed pages that are linked to this talk page. This can be a tedious chore. But there is a bot, MiszaBot I, that will do the work for us if we choose. The bot userpage makes the following suggestion:

So do we have a consensus? — ℜob C. alias ÀLAROB 05:43, 18 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That's fine with me. Bms4880 (talk) 14:17, 18 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No objection. I'll look for the archives. Eleanor1944 (talk) 00:56, 27 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Some of the contributors who are active on this page might want to get involved in other parts of Wikiproject Appalachia. If so, please join us at Wikipedia:WikiProject Appalachia. --Orlady (talk) 22:19, 19 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Up spake and he commenced to[edit]

I see no mention of the link between French and the Bible in Appalachian speking here which is odd. For example, "Then up spake this man...." OR to start an action in a rapid fashion with no reason, as in "He commenced to singing". Coal town guy (talk) 17:41, 17 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

None of the sources I checked mention French or the Bible as an influence on this dialect, specifically (French, of course, influenced English in general). Bms4880 (talk) 18:17, 17 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Jasper" is not synonymous with "acquaintance"[edit]

The term "jasper" is a generalized usage of the male given name "Jasper" and is used similarly to "joe" as a token for an unnamed male individual. It is slightly derisive, carrying the flavor of stranger or outsider. The closest general American equivalent I can think of would be "guy." Hogwaump (talk) 12:09, 14 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Expand phonology section and always give IPA[edit]

The current phonology section is incomplete and needs to be revised. In addition to many examples only being given in the author's personal pseudo-phonetic rendering (which in many cases is ambiguous even if it referred to a single standard dialect, and regardless is ambiguous as to which dialect is used as the reference point), many important differences between Appalachian English and other dialects are ignored. All examples should be given in IPA and probably En-PR, with a note at the beginning about phonetic transcription. Also, is there a good description of the exact realization of AE's vowels? I know certain vowels are quite different from other dialects, /u/ being realized as /y/ for example, and there must be proper linguists studying AE phonology. Telmac (talk) 04:41, 9 February 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Word List too long and inappropriate for article[edit]

The sample word list given is excessively long and inappropriate for an article of this scope. We're not providing a dictionary here, I'm aware of short lists of dialect specific words appearing on their wikipedia articles but it's excessive here. Also, as mentioned above, no mention is made with regards to inter-appalachian variation and some or many of these words might not be present in all regions in appalachia. Someone with more knowledge of AE should tighten the list to a handful of common examples. Telmac (talk) 04:47, 9 February 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I disagree with a "handful." I think the list is a decent length, but I don't think it would be bad to shrink it some. It think it should have at least 25 words. I'm not sure what words you would want to leave in though. Dope and poke are some deep Appalachian words that are common examples, but aren't in some regions such as mine. These are some really unique words that I believe belong in the article. There is no reason to limit the list to words that are everywhere in the region. (talk) 00:24, 18 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"It is mostly oral but can also be written and appears in some known literary works."[edit]

What works? It says this but I do not see any links nor references to these known works. (talk) 00:28, 18 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"The southern drawl is of an unknown American origin, although some suspect it originated in African-American English."[edit]

I do not think that this line really should be on the page. First, it is sometimes said that African-American English developed from the Southern drawl, not the other way around. Secondly, the Southern accent at times is not viewed very friendly. Therefore, the line could be perceived as blaming African Americans for the Southern drawl. (Note: the Southern drawl is sometimes used in general to refer to the Southern accent.) Therefore, I feel the line should be removed. Thank you.LakeKayak (talk) 01:09, 14 December 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As it seems nobody has an opinion, (I have learned from experience. When users have opinion, they speak.) I am going to remove only the latter part of the sentence. I see nothing wrong with the former part: "The southern drawl is of an unknown American origin." Over and out.LakeKayak (talk) 01:14, 15 December 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Merger: Ozark English → Appalachian English[edit]

Studies suggest that "Ozark English" and "Appalachian English" are the same dialect (one an "extension" or separated "island" subset of the other); features of both traditional Ozark and Appalchian English may be declining, as evidenced by a lack of much Ozark-focused dialect research since the middle of the 1900s, as well as the recent classification of both the Ozark and (especially) Appalachian regions under the Southern dialect region by the 2006 Atlas of North American English. Any sources that don't directly equate the two do consistently highlight their similarities, yet never their differences.

The merging of the two articles has never happened, though I proposed it in the past on the Southern American English talk page. In that discussion, one user opposed without further discussion (even when asked to elucidate), one user brought up a single argument I feel I countered, and one user supported without further discussion. No full discussion was ever had over the course of at least 9 months, though I found and included later evidence to bolster my points. Below is my evidence in full supporting the merger:

  • The 1948 article "Southern Mountain Dialect", for example, refers to an Appalachian-Ozark variety as a single dialect with as much slight internal variation as any dialect: "Though fairly consistent in the isolated districts (with which we are mainly concerned), the dialect may vary slightly with the locality, and even from family to family." It lists "four main divisions" geographically, which include "the Blue Ridge of Virginia and West Virginia, the Great Smokies of Tennessee and North Carolina, the Cumberlands of Kentucky and Tennessee [all three constituting the Appalachian region], and the Ozarks of Arkansas and southern Missouri" [p. 46]). This passage unifies Appalachian and Ozark English.
  • Here is what the more recent research that I could find has to say on Ozark English:
    • John C. Wells' (1982) Accents of English lists "Ozarks" in the index with a "see also 'southern mountain'". Wells clearly centers "southern mountain" speech on Appalachian and "upland states", which "form a transition zone between the south and midland dialect areas; their southern mountain speech is classified as south midland by Kurath, but popularly regarded as a variety of southern accent" (527). This passage unifies Appalachian and Ozark English.
    • "Variation and Change in Geographically Isolated Communities: Appalachian English and Ozark English" (1984), a 200-page comparative study, does initially speak of Appalachian and Ozark English as two different dialects or "varieties", yes, but the entire goal of the study is to unearth more about the relationships between the two. The conclusion states that the study considered "the descriptive detail of the [grammatical] structures we have examined, [and] the frequency with which the various structures are used" (p. 235). The findings of the study: "that there are no descriptive differences in the representative structures we have examined here" (p. 235) and then: "the frequency relationships between the varieties also shows fairly close parallels, with some non-significant differences" (p. 235). This passage unifies Appalachian and Ozark English.
    • World Englishes (2013) plainly says "The Ozark Mountains can be seen as an extension of the Appalachian English dialect" (48). This passage unifies Appalachian and Ozark English. Wolfdog (talk) 14:37, 4 February 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • ANAE (2006) mentions the term "Ozark(s)" only twice:
      • Referring to the card-cord merger, "while the general merger has disappeared in most of the Appalachian–Ozarkian region, the function words or and for often remain lower and fronter (closer to /ahr/) than the rest of the /ohr/ class, which has merged with /ohr/" (277). This passage unifies Appalachian and Ozark English.
      • "The area of the South in which the Southern Shift is most developed is defined as the Inland South... an Appalachian region extending across eastern Tennessee, western North Carolina and Northern Alabama.... This region was populated by a settlement stream... most often identified by cultural geographers as the Upland South.... Secondary concentrations of Upland South settlement are the product of further migration to the Ozarks and to east Texas. Map 18.9 indicated that the strongest development of Southern States phonology is found somewhat to the west of this area" (261-2). This passage unifies Appalachian and Ozark English.
      • Although the ANAE never again mentions the Ozarks, its maps show the Ozark region to be located on the borderline between the Southern and Midland dialects, with the biggest city in the area, Springfield, Missouri, firmly documented as Southern. Knoxville, Asheville, and Chattanooga in Appalachia are all firmly documented as Southern. This again unifies Appalachian and Ozark English. There is no reason given in the ANAE that Ozark English should be considered exceptional.

Wolfdog (talk) 14:42, 4 February 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]


OK, since the opposition to the original move has apparently passed and/or there is no opposition to the new move specifically to Appalachian English, I'll prepare to move the page in the coming days. On the topic of this dead or dying dialect, we will likely only lose sources over the years, not gain more. This will make it difficult to ever meaningfully expand the Ozark English stub. Wolfdog (talk) 16:29, 5 March 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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Adding a section about the controversies?[edit]

While I am not personally a speaker of any of the varieties of English found in Appalachia, this is a topic that I find fascinating. Reading through this talk page as well as looking into some of the existing linguistic research, I have realized that there is a fair amount of controversy over how the boundaries for this variety should be drawn. There are even some linguists who believe that the whole variation of Appalachian English might not exist at all given the huge variety of dialects spoken in this area of the country. There are many sources about this topic, but I will link a couple down below that I found interesting.

Is There an "Appalachian English"?-

Yet Again: The Midland Dialect - — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mbooneroberts (talkcontribs) 18:26, 27 February 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi Mbooneroberts. I am your fellow ANTH 383 classmate and chose your article to peer review. I have a few suggestions for the article and thought it would be nice to have them on the article's talk page.

Overall, the article was very strong. It had comprehensive coverage of different aspects of this language variety (grammar, lexicon, phonology, etc.), and seemed to give fairly balanced and neutral coverage. Here are my suggestions/comments going through the article:

  • The first sentence was a good definition sentence to start out the lead section.
  • The second sentence of the lead section was a run-on and hard to follow--you might consider breaking this up or not including so much material.
  • In all, the lead section was a bit too detailed for an opening. The types of Appalachian English and its relatives could have its own section in the body, but the lead section might be better used to go over the main points of the rest of the article. This, I think, will help the reader better follow what's going on.
  • In that regard, the second paragraph of the lead section would be great for the beginning of the "Origins" section.
  • The third paragraph of the lead section seems to belong in its own section, perhaps on the social role and realities of Appalachian English (now we're getting into sociolinguistics territory).

Now on to the "Phonology" section ...

  • This section has some great details, but the "Phonetics" subsection would benefit from an introductory sentence that clues the reader in to what follows.
  • Both subsections have material that is not cited. Most of the time, the uncited content is not imperative to the article, and can be easily deleted.
  • The 4th bullet of the "Phonetics" subsection is referring to the PIN/PEN merger--it would be good to make this explicit.
  • As a reader I am not immediately certain about how the content of the "Phonetics" and "Phonemic Incidence" subsections is different--maybe you could clarify this with introductory sentences or merge the two subsections?

Now on to "Grammar" ...

  • This section might also benefit from a very brief introductory sentence.
  • Maybe you could add an example sentence for the "To Be" subsection?
  • The "Other Verb Forms" subsection has a lot of missing citations.
  • The "Liketa" subsection might fit slightly better in the "Lexicon" section--however, this might not be ideal since there is much more detail about this particular word than the other words included. Maybe you could reprise the word in the "Lexicon" section?
  • The "Pronouns and Demonstratives" subsection doesn't have any citations.
  • Finally, the "Origins" and "Ozarks" sections are well-done, but I feel like they would fit better at the beginning.

In all, this article presents a good summary of Appalachian English and is fairly Encyclopedia-like. The biggest themes for change are adding introductory sentences where necessary and making sure things are properly cited. I hope this helped, and I look forward to seeing the final product! Sparks9714 (talk) 00:35, 26 March 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

...Why... thank you? Wolfdog (talk) 02:01, 26 March 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]