Appalachian English


Talking about like that like we had some wood out
in the yard. Instead of saying “carry it in the house”
you’d say “tote it in the house” and like if you had something that you wanted to put
in a paper bag, you’d put in a paper “poke” you know instead of a paper bag. Well, the way people talk around here, I guess
it’d be what more like you’d call hillbilly style or something, I guess, I don’t know. It’s just Mountain Talk. Most of your local people have your Mountain
Talk. That’s the way you can tell the mountain people
from your outsiders, by their language they use. Say, “I’ll see ya over yonder.” That means I’ll see you like in Waynesville. It’s a Mountain Talk, kinda. Never nothing stops, it’s like a-singin’,
you know. We’re kinda like we’re singing. Lida said we’re singing, not talking. Ya, I like my moped. Everybody hears about Graham County, don’t they? How good the people is, how they’ll help you. I run into people I don’t know, never seen
them in my life, and I help them in any way I can. Somebody said, one day you’ll get knocked in the
head, I said, “well, if I do, I’m just knocked.” We’re just good-hearted. Everybody you meet, just 99% of them. If I didn’t live here, I’d move, wouldn’t
you? Where you gonna go on vacation? If I was gonna go on vacation I’d just stay
right around here. Wouldn’t mind this all the time anyhow. We are 20 years behind the whole country. But I wouldn’t swap places with nobody. I feel much more comfortable here being 20
years behind everybody than I would be a-settlin’ a lot of places and being so miserable. You don’t like your neighbor, you don’t speak
to your neighbor, you’re bitter with the world. Atlanta’s a good example. Or Raleigh. You drive down the street and everybody’s
wide open, blowing their horns and don’t know nobody and don’t want to know nobody and don’t
care about nobody. It’s quite a bit different up here. Well I Iived in Washington, D.C. about four
and a half years and I’d just as soon be in hell with my back broke than live there. People are so good to each other here. Many of the words and expressions in Mountain
Speech are unfamiliar to outsiders. Scots Irish settlers brought much of the vocabulary
from Europe, but many new words and expressions were invented here by their descendants. There’s just somebody coming up with a strange
word is what it means. I mean let’s say you’re trying to get something
done, you’re building something. And you’ll take a look at it, like the word
sigogglin. You’re looking at it and it’s all out of line
and you might just come up with a word “sigogglin”. I do that myself. Can’t think of anything right off, but I come
up with a lot of new words myself and so you get somebody standing around, they hear that
and okay it’s sigogglin. Say a carpenter’s done a real poor job and
then you say that’s all sigogglin. You know, he didn’t have his walls straight or They’d stand back and look with something
angled like, they’d say, “That thing’s sigogglin” They’d say, “I want you to look.” I’d say, “What is it?” If you’re building some kind of, so that’s
sigogglin right yonder. And so that old road going up there, say that
thing’s sigogglin. My grandmother, she’s always talking about
people being stout. Or gaint. She used words like “peckerwood”. If it’s somebody she didn’t like, she’d call
him a peckerwood. If it’s somebody she didn’t know but he’s
probably alright, she didn’t have any animosity for him, she’d say, “He is a jasper.” “There’s this jasper come by here this morning
and knocked on the door,” you know. But if it was a salesman, “There’s this peckerwood
out there on the porch.” It’s like people used to, you know, like you
go in a store, say “put it in the bag”? Old people says you put in a poke. That’s a bag. I used to go to the store, walk two miles,
the store, when I was a kid and carry a 25 pound poke of flour home. That’s “fler”, by the way, not “flour”. And me and my two sisters, one brother, we’d
be a-waiting on them at the house to get our candy. Saul, the older man I was talking about, had
a little poke of candy. He said, “Well I forgot to get anything!” But we’d scream! “Oh here it is!” “Plumb” was a common word when I was growing
up. Plumb this and plumb that and you’d get “plumb
over there.” “Well, he was just plumb wore out.” And that copper mine, that vein, they tunneled
under the ground plumb out through here to Snowbird. Like the wind was a-blowing. You know, a lot of air. They’d say it’s very airish outside. Airish? It means it’s a little bit chilly outside. It means, it’s airish, it means it’s chilly
today. It’s airish today right now as we speak. The air is blowing and breezy. A good one, you know a good one, you’d go
to the store and buy a coke? They’d call them dopes back then. I don’t know if you’d ever hear anybody say
that or not. That’s what we drank when I was a kid and
it was called, they had Nehi, they had Pepsi-Cola, Royal Crown Cola, a lot of them, that was dope. Oh, a dope! You’re talking about like a soda pop, soda
water, yeah. Yeah, soda water, yeah. Dope. That’s all they ever call them around here
as a kid. Now if you go up toward Ernestine’s place up there, Stop along there about where you turn up to
Tony’s there in them pine patch, right, along with that log house, you’ll probably see a boomer
right there. A lady came through and she said, “Oh,” I
said, “that’s a pretty boomer.” She said, “A boomer? What’s a boomer?” You know what a boomer is, don’t you? You ever see one? What’s a boomer? [laughter] They make a lot of chatting noises, they’re
about the size of a wharf rat. A wharf rat? Yeah, a wharf rat. Big old rat. A boomer is like a little squirrel. It’s not a squirrel. It’s a mix between a grey squirrel and a chipmunk. Except it’s red. Can you eat them? Yeah. She said, “That’s a red squirrel.” I said, “Well, to me that’s a boomer.” We always called it boomers. Say it’s an old scald. That mean that’s old dead land, won’t grow
nothing, you know? We call it scald. I don’t know if any of you ever heard that,
or I know you have. Call it a scald, poor land. That’s like the carburetor in my van, all
gaumed up with all that old dirty stuff. Gaum. It means like all cluttered up. Gaumed up. Yeah, that means it’s in a mess. That’s what I would’ve said. They didn’t know they were talking to such
educated folks, did they? Instead of saying yonder, you know, “over
yonder,” it’s “over yander.” Do you ever hear that word? Over yander? Yeah, well I say over yander. Yeah. My momma used to come up to use when we was
little and she’d say, “Goose? Or gander?” She’d pull each ear. If you say goose, she’d say pull it here, loose. And say gander, she’d pull it way over yander. They all know me. They’d say yander comes him a-riding
that Harley-Davidson. They think it’s a Harley.




Comments
  1. I love reading comments that draw connections between Appalachian speak and Scottish and Irish dialects. My family has almost exclusively scotch Irish heritage, and it’s really cool learning that we brought a lot of the way we speak from there! These accents are so comforting me- when I hear them it makes me feel like I’m talking to someone I can trust. Of course there’s bad people everywhere, but so many people in rural Appalachia come from incredibly close-knit communities. I loved hearing one man reference the Snowbird- I hiked it many times as a kid. Also calling sodas dope! My grandparents called em dopes!

  2. You all sound good to me. I was raised in Arkansas and Tex. Always have sounded different. People sure like to let me know too. God bless you all

  3. There's a particular word usage that ruffles my feathers, tho: 'kindly' instead of 'kind of'. C'mon, guys, an adjective just doesn't fit there!

  4. My grandparents were from Appalachia; Pineville, Kentucky to be exact. They didn't care who you were. They helped my father and my family so much and they continue to live by the values of doing what you say and saving your money. They don't make them like my folks around these parts! 😉

  5. My son in-laws from eastern Kentucky, they put one of those Siri things in their new house that controls the heat and air , but it cannot understand his accent, it just says sorry I don’t speak that language.

  6. Remember well the days my granny would send me up yonder to Rile's store to fetch a poke of dope and a pack of fotch-ons (already rolled cigarettes).

  7. This isn't all "mountain talk". A lot of small towns in TN spoke the same way, especially the elders. Some still speak in this lyrical way. My grandmother was of Scot Irish decent. Born in 1898 she lived 98 years and I LOVED to hear all her colorful, lyrical language that drew pictures in my mind and wrapped me in emotion in ways that aren't heard anymore. We have lost a true legacy with her generation although in the small towns of East TN particularly and much of Middle Tennessee, much still lives on. Although my children were not raised in the same small town I grew up in, they still hold to a small to moderate amount of the Tennessee lyric. We didn't have but four channels on television and books were often read, some of the lyric and cadence of our past remains but sadly much has been lost. I could always pick up the different dialects between Middle, East and West Tennessee. It was, and to some degree, still is the music with which we drew the pictures of our own time but more importantly, of our ancestors legacy. I miss my grandmother greatly and the lyrics with which she painted her life and times. She instilled in me a love of words and how important our personal lyric is in our own life, our times and most importantly, our history.

  8. These people are the real Americans. It is what the rest of the country envies – love of their community, family, stress free and strong. They are truly educated , we can only hope to be.

  9. What about his/hisn' and yours/yourn'. A lot of older Appalachian folks used to say "a" before a verb. I'm a comin'. He's a goin". I'm a fixin' to (do this or that).

  10. Lol most of these comments are talking about how most Americans hate this dialect…but I don't see any hateful comments. Plus we use most of these words all around the country 😂

  11. My Uncle is from SW VA near the NC border and if he decribed a location it was always "back over across the mountain" or "right over yonder".

  12. I understood all of this perfectly. I grew up in Winston-Salem, NC. Near the foothills. Sounds just like my Mamaw and papaw.

  13. Vernacular english come from this? Cuz to me, as a non american, black people and this people sound very similar.

  14. The Appalachian people don't care what "outsiders" think. They are extremely independent and highly self sufficient. When the next civil war in America happens most of them will survive and most of you won't.

  15. The gent on the moped was Jim Tom. He's a trip and had a stroke some time ago but, is still wide open for his age. No issues came from it except it rattled his cage and woke him up some. I live where they talk like they sound on here. A's are O's and vice versa. So, the word counselor I've heard it pronounced cans-ler. I was told they speak so drawn out sounding so they don't speak so fast that nobody can understand what their saying. I call it lazy talking and a dumbed down dialect for those who mostly never made it to High school way back when. The dragging out of single words when a sentence is spoken sounds like they are an old record being played on semi-slow motion. Some words kill me when I hear them like the word home. They pronounce it down here as haome. The same with the word road. Ray-ode. Not easy to spell out like they say it. Schools are called Skuuze always said like you stick your bottom jaw way out to get that dummy draw sound out of the word. I always think of the bashing about black people speaking ebonics and can't understand them. Evidently, people other than ebonics speakers haven't listened to the destroyed English that should be the straight plain pronunciation of the words. I remember a friends daughter who came home crying one day from school and when we asked her what she's crying about she said she missed a 100% on her verbal spelling test from the lady teacher. She said I spelled the word the way she said it. We asked what was the word and she said the teacher said Nah-worth. The teacher was meaning the direction North but, put that long jaw draw uneducated sound with it and the kid missed that words correct spelling. I hear all these other accents if you may from all over the world and wonder how they can talk crap about ebonics when they've destroyed the English pronunciation of words by adding in some dumbed down type vocalization. I never see how they pronounce their words in a dictionary either. Faddish type dialect passed on every generation. It sounds uneducated and usually, that is the first impression they leave on "others" when we hear it. Southern hospitality is pure bullshit down here. It's every ass for themselves and that isn't any hospitality like an India joker owning a hotel for your hospitality. That isn't happening.

  16. Born and raised in Raleigh, NC black female. Language isn’t much different from our slang. Si-goggly, my gma said bunga-lunga-sunga-lunga! 😂😂

  17. I used to like it better when you could tell what part of the country people were from by the way they talked. Now we are all just one crappy generic flatline.

  18. Nobody mentioned the word "well", which is used to mean just about anything.

    "They say she weighed upwards of 400 pounds before she died."
    "We-yul."

    Could mean:

    "Poor old thing."
    "That's disgusting."
    "I don't believe you."

    What it really means is, "I don't want to say what I think. Figure it out from my tone of voice."

  19. Comparing the understandability of american dialects to the understandability of german dialects, the american dialects are easy, eventhough different. Germany fits into Cali three times. But a man from the north coast can barely understand someone from Bavaria only 700 miles south in the Alps. I guess that comes from the rather short time dialects had to "evolve" in the US.

  20. Ok. I grew up in PA, I guess that's why I know a lot of these words. Si gogglin' is a new one and wow! What great word.

  21. I’m from the Dengie marshes in Essex England, you can hear so many similarities on this video to the old boys of the Dengie, unfortunately Essex has become an annex of East London and now everyone speaks Cockney/TOWIE. I wish someone had made recordings of old Essex 40-50 years ago…. oh and most people think of Essex people as having fake tans, bleached teeth and butt holes… 🥺

  22. My fathers unmarried farming brother, who was intelligent and well read, also liked to make up words, if he could not fine a proper one that fitted the occasion, we regards ourselves as Ulster Scots btw., and the vernacular they are speaking is very familiar and 100% understood, by me. We would also pride ourselves as being a bit "thran an carnapcious" bytimes.

  23. This is why mountain folk tell the best tales and sing story songs. It doesn’t matter if it’s true—as long as it sounds good.

  24. Grew up in Alabama,but so many familiar terms in this video.My great grandfather was Scotch-Irish. And yes, I still use them proudly.

  25. Many irish indentured servants moved to West Virginia and the Appalachians after being freed, looking for land and settling opportunities.

  26. My family was from cabin creek WV and they all had this lingo. Since the 70s though we’ve moved into the Pittsburgh area and now we’re Yinzer/Appalachian speakers. Or as I call it, coal miner talk.

  27. I'm from south Louisiana my grandmother and father spoke Cajun French i wish they would have passed it on

  28. I'm laughing. I grew up in Oklahoma. Irish Cherokee. My family are mountain folk. I sound like em! I love this clip! "And I love toting things around in my pocket book!!" Lol God Bless

  29. In 1972 my parents moved to Macon county NC. They were told it was the best place for child abusers. I was 9. It was a culture shook to me. It took several years to learn how to talk and hear what they said. My dad ran me out of NC in 82'. But to this day I can still talk and understand mountain talk.

  30. If only teachers in these regions introduced the difference between monosyllabic and polysyllabic, a lot of the Southern Accent would be impossible.

  31. As soon as this video started I recognized "pop corn" Sutton- he passed on a few years back and it's a shame. Popcorn is widely known in the moonshine community still. And the gentleman on the moped is Jim Tom, another moonshiner that many have learned how to make a good copper still from. I learned about these gentlemen watching a program appropriately named Moonshiners. Jim Tom always makes me smile, because he loves to sing and flirt with the women he meets (he's" ruint" for sure. Or as my Nanny, aka grandma, would say he's a mess.lol)

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