Today’s post is a continuation from last week. Sharing more delightful tidbits of our Appalachian way of speaking!
NOT AS WRONG AS YOU THINK – Appalachian dialect can be labeled uneducated or backwards. Maybe folks need to rethink that one . . .
- His’n, our’n, and your’n – These words date back to the Middle Ages and are based on the model of thine (thy’n) and mine (my’n)
- You wasn’t scared, was you? – Think about it–was is singular and were is plural. Why would you say “you weren’t” but “he wasn’t” when they’re both singular??
MADE-UP WORDS – Because smart people play with language!
- Redd up – to tidy up–I used this one in a manuscript and got some ?? from northern editors
- Whelks – welts caused by a bee-sting or other injury
- Slue – a whole lot–I’ve heard this one so often I didn’t realize it was regional!
- Skift – a light dusting of snow (a skimpy sifting?) – I love this word and use it every chance I get
Wylene P. Dial had this to say to close out her essay about dialect. “Southern Mountain Dialect has a distinctly masculine flavor–robust and virile. It is spoken by a red-blooded people who have colorful phraseology born in their bones, and who are undoubtedly the best talkers in the world.”
I’ll have to agree with that assessment. Last week a cousin I connected with on Facebook called about recording some WV family history. After we finished talking about that, we settled in for a good, long visit that ranged pretty widely. At one point she mentioned seeing the grass grown up in a local cemetery back home. She said, “It went right through me!” And just like that, I was pure homesick. I think my husband could hear it in my speech even after I hung up.
What words or phrases transport you back home when you hear them?