Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – The Way I Speak


“The way I speak tells the world who I am. When the language of Appalachia springs forth from my lips those who walked the mountain trails before me still live.”

~Tipper Pressley 2016



Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.

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  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    December 7, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    Some that have moved away from the depths of the hollers are forgettin’ their dialects or at least having it changed somewhat…
    I want to remember to “warsh my taters”…to “rench my dishrags”…to “tote my kettles from the “far to the eatin’ board” and to take my ” used pokes to the larder” so I can always remember that I can “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”….just like my family (generations) before me…
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Roy Pipes
    December 7, 2018 at 10:58 am

    Tipper, Thank you for the plug on my books. I enjoy the Blind Pig. I read it daily.

  • Reply
    S. Taylor
    December 7, 2018 at 10:26 am

    Hi Tipper,

    I love your quote. I admit I once failed to appreciate the various dialects from across Appalachia until I got to know and love so many of the people. You know that because of my upbringing and where I grew up (Western NY) I expect for myself and my immediate family to consistently use what is termed Standard English. But I love the richness that different dialects bring to English when we let people reflect their upbringing. Mass media has done too much to flatten cultural differences. So please, continue to let your ancestors live through the words and sound that spring forth from your mouth.

  • Reply
    December 7, 2018 at 10:03 am

    I think back to my first job in Detroit, MI. and how management allowed me to tell the world who I was. My job was to stock, mix paint and cut window shades at the S.S. Kresge store. That was until someone decided to put me on the register. I had to use the PA system several times a day to call for change. It still baffles me why people thought I said that funny, as most of the shoppers were transplanted Kentuckians anyway. My manager tried to educate me when I told him I ‘thank’ a roll of pennies was all I needed at the time. Some of the shoppers probably just came in to hear ‘that hillbilly’ talk.

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      December 7, 2018 at 9:21 pm

      If it got ’em in the store, you were a valuable asset. Think you!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 7, 2018 at 10:00 am

    I do not fear to walk the walk and talk the talk of those who trod this path before but when I look back I can see no one. I thought to stop and wait for them but fear my wait will be eternal.

    Who said? Appalachian, It’s not the altitude, it’s the attitude – I did!

  • Reply
    harry adams
    December 7, 2018 at 8:36 am

    I will never forget a teacher in Aiken SC was complaining about the way the students talked and their southern twang. The woman was from Toledo OH and had to us one of the worst sounding dialects of anyone and she was complaining about Southern!
    I have lived in Ohio for the last 25 years and it amazes me that I can tell what part of Ohio someone is from from the way they talk. And yes Northerners do have their language.

    Lower Ohio is part of Appalachia and have a mountain dialect. I don’t know if your area says warsh for wash and collar for color, but these are two words that come to mind. I still say ain’t and y’all. I can’t tell the number of times that I have heard y’all misused by a Yankee talking about one person.
    I have considered my speaking a major handicap in my business career. Now that I am retired it doesn’t bother me.

    One last anecdote: I had to testify in a civil trial for a product failure. Since I had recently been transferred to Ohio, the defense tried to use that as a way to reflect that I had been part of the problem. Our lawyer asked if my responsibilities had increased. My reply was” I am responsible for furnaces in South Carolina, South America, and South Korea.” With my strong southern accent, the Jury just broke into a laugh. so not always a hindrance.

    hope you get your snow for Christmas and not ice.

  • Reply
    Bob Creswell
    December 7, 2018 at 8:35 am

    I once had a person from “up there” tell me that I had the most significant “southern appalachian twang” that he had ever heard. At the time, I considered that a compliment of the highest degree, and I still do.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    December 7, 2018 at 8:27 am

    There is much to be said for simply being oneself while not using it as an excuse not to get better. Somehow when I travel around and hear Appalachian spoken I feel like I’m among friends-to-be. I hope that is what they hear on their side to.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    December 7, 2018 at 8:19 am

    A friend’s Daughter was getting a big kick out of her Grandmother. The Grandmother had asked her to go to the store and get a musk melon and some hamburger hepper. The hamburger hepper was what she laughed about. She made it to the store and couldn’t find any musk melon and finally asked a clerk to find it. Of course they didn’t have any of the old variety of musk melon but did have cantaloupe.
    The Grandmother was a wonderful church going lady from Johnson co. Ky. with a heavy Appalachian accent. The Granddaughter has a pleasant hill accent but didn’t know all the old words.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    December 7, 2018 at 7:59 am

    The older we get the more we appreciate the way we speak and the mannerisms that are so much a part of us. We don’t even realize what we do or say but others do notice. Proud to be a mountain person even though I was raised in town from teenage on. It is instilled in me and has never gone far. Now I am back in the mountains where I belong. It is amazing how familiar and warm it felt the day I moved back 15 years ago. It felt like I never left.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 7, 2018 at 7:54 am

    Well and truly spoken, Tip!! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Larry Proffitt
    December 7, 2018 at 7:49 am

    Amen, Tipper I had not thought of it that way. I will pass that along to my grandchildren.

  • Reply
    Ed Karshner
    December 7, 2018 at 7:28 am

    One of my favorite philosophers, Heidegger, says that we build and dwell in language. He also says language speaks us. I think you are saying the same thing…only better.

    No matter where I go, Appalachia is with me every time I speak. I’m always home in my words.

  • Reply
    December 7, 2018 at 6:34 am

    Yep, glad you do what you do. ByThaWay got some of the white stuff headin your way, and that’s ok, you can have it.

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