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The dialect of appalachia - humor


Imagine my alarm when I went to Jamaica a few years ago and erudite that I do, indeed, have an accent. You see, contrasting my fatherly grandmother, I don't stretch the word "cornbread" into four syllables. She might say, "Here. Have ye some co-orn-bray-ed;" but I might say, "You want some corn-bread?" See? Two syllables on the cornbread; "you" considerably than "ye. "

Unlike my affectionate grandmother, I say "carrion" moderately than "kyarn. " In fact, I had no idea what she was chatting about until freshly when I mentioned the word to my husband. I told him, "Grandmother used to say, 'That stinks like kyarn. ' I never figured out what 'kyarn' was. " He said, "Road kill. " My jaw dropped. "You mean, carrion? Kyarn is carrion?" "Yeah," he said. "Put the Appalachian accent to it. " It made sense.

Unlike my mother-in-law, I say "they fought," not "they fit. "

Thus, I concluded that I have no accent. After all, I'm absolutely well educated. I considered French for three years, and I did some self-study of German and Greek. Plus, I'm well read, and I've authored more than a few books. Ain't I the berries? I couldn't probably have a hillbilly, Appalachian accent. And, yet, in Jamaica, all I met asked, "What part of the South are you from?"

So, I did a hardly examination and erudite that the Appalachian borough has its own language. Linguists call it "Appalachian English. " The Scots-Irish developed the full area known as Appalachia (all of West Virginia and portions of Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia) in the mid-1700's. At the time, animal boundaries kept innovation out. Then in the 1940's, the Great Smoky Mountains Countrywide Park was created; and that brought tourists to the area. By the 1950's, highways and telephones were more prevalent all through Appalachia, bringing the current world a further step nearer to its rural inhabitants.

Now, I don't want you to think we in Appalachia are a bunch of snobs. We appreciate that the same immigrants who developed here complete land elsewhere, but the linguists tell us that our dialect patterns will not be found in any other dialect to the boundary that they are in Appalachia. In addition, we Appalachians use variants of our own address patterns. Just as I don't use the same words as my grandmothers doesn't mean that I don't have an Appalachian accent. In fact, the linguists say that each area has its own communication patterns and that most of us allow our situations to govern our speech. For example, when I'm conversation with my family, I'm apt to let down my guard a little-use a bit more Appalachian English and a bit less Average American English. In a more conventional situation, I'll try to employ a lot less Appalachian English. Even although I know from not public come across that most Appalachians are not "dumb hillbillies," I'm frightened that others might see me that way if I use the dialect I artlessly use. And yet, some phonological differences are so inbred, that I can't not use them.

Did you know that the t at the end of slept is not silent? You might say, "I slept in this morning. " I would say, "I slep in. " To me, that "t" just doesn't feel right. It reminds me of an episode of "All in The Family" where Edith met a Jewish baker and he called her "Edit. " She told him, "My name's Edith! Th!" So then he called her "Edit-th. " To me, "slep-t" would be every bit as awkward.

Do you say "exactly" or "exackly"? And how about ten? I've in fact heard citizens say "ten" with a short e sound-like in the word "bed. " How weird is that? Tin and ten are words with the "exack" same sound but atypical meanings.

The linguists also point out some lexical differences in Appalachian English. For example, the Average American English word might be faucet, but the Appalachian English description would be spigot. If a big cheese looks sick, we might say, "he's peaked" (that's peek-ed). Did you hurt your finger? Then we might say you "stoved it up. " I once knew a man who substituted "for" for "because. " He'd say, "I need to go to the store, for I'm out of milk. " My brother would exchange the complete remainder of our category with the word "nim. " He'd ask me, "Did Mama and nim go to the store?" Some colonize say "knowed" fairly than "knew. " We're illustrious for our amplify negatives. "I don't have none of that. " Our acquaint with absolute tense has raised some eyebrows, too. "He's done done it now!"

This hardly foray into my Appalachian heritage has given me new insight. We might chop off some of our "-ings"; we might "reckon" moderately than "guess" sometimes; and we might have chairs with such bizarre names as "Lick Skillet," "Frog Holler" and "Sugar Loaf," but we have a rich history. We know where we came from and, for the most part, where we're going. And if any person thinks we're a bunch of ignorant hillbillies, then you ought to come and get to know us a a small amount better. If you stay long enough, we might be able to teach you how to talk right.

Gayle Trent's most up-to-date book is a comedic mystery upper-class Connecting A Clasp AND A HARD PLACE. Find out more about the book at Gayle's Web Page.


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