Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Grammar Lesson 15

Appalachian Grammar Lesson 15

Its been a while since we had an Appalachian Grammar lesson so I thought one would be good for today’s post. Only I couldn’t think of an Appalachian grammar usage to point out. Lucky for me I can always turn to my Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English for ideas.

According to the dictionary, adding a ‘s’ suffix to verbs to indicate agreement with a third-person-plural subject is common in the Smoky Mountain region of Appalachia.

I must admit its been way to long since I had a grammar teacher, and just thinking about the sentence above makes my brain hurt.

But once I read the examples given by the Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English I at least knew the grammar usage is still very common in my neck of the woods. See if it is around your area:

  • 1954 It’s where people gathers up and shucks corn, in the fall when they get the corn gathered.
  • 1973 That’s the way cattle feeds. They feed together.
  • 1989 Things changes so much anymore.
  • 1999 Me and Tunney Moore and all the Moore Family goes back many years.

The sentences all came from the dictionary, but I can hear myself saying each of them because that’s exactly how I talk.

Hope you’ll leave me a comment and let me know if using a ‘s’ suffix in your area is common too.



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  • Reply
    March 2, 2013 at 1:14 pm


  • Reply
    WV Whippoorwill
    May 2, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Tipper, I recently found your wonderful site while searching for words and phrases unique to our beloved Appalachian heritage. While reading your daily blogs and comments from your faithful followers, I feel that I have found a whole passel of new friends! I grew up and still live in a small rural community in central WV, where these words and phrases are still spoken. I am familiar with most of the words in your vocab and use a lot of them myself. However, there are a lot of words and phrases in my memories that I have only heard my family use and, wanting to preserve this unique way of speaking for my children, I launched a search (which is why I found your site!) There are many of these words that I am curious about, but I will just give one this time: Upon seeing a child with skinned/scratched arms or legs, my grandmother (and mother) would say, “Looks like you were sorting wildcats and ran into a peart-aleck!” (Not sure of the spelling) I have often wondered what a peart-aleck was and where this word originated from.

  • Reply
    April 30, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Sometimes I do, it just depends on where I am and who I am talking to. LoL

  • Reply
    Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings
    April 29, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    I understand perfectly how ya talk, Tipper.
    My sister, who is 14 years older than me, moved to the Chesapeake, GA area years ago (25 or so I reckon) and she makes fun of how I talk.
    Well she was born to the same parents and grew up in the same holler I did.
    I guess my dialect rubbed off on the young’uns because I hear them saying stuff the same way I do and grew up hearing from my parents and grandparents.

  • Reply
    April 28, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    I’ve heard the “goes” and “feeds” around here along with “shrimps” and “deers” among others.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2012 at 10:25 am

    I don’t use that and I never thought of it ’til now but as I think about it, I hear it all the time…cool!

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    April 27, 2012 at 8:46 am

    I don’t use it a lot, but I am familiar with that way of talking.

  • Reply
    Gorges Smythe
    April 26, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    I don’t use the “s” much, but some folks I know do. I DO use extra “A’s” in some of my expressions, though, like, so-and-so was a-hankerin’ for a fight.”

  • Reply
    April 26, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Tipper, my Mother and grandfather both were stickers on grammer, but It never rubbed off on me. Today would have been my Miss Julie’s birthday(my Mother)
    I am so country it hurts I use the mountain language sometimes as humor; thanks for all your sites,they are all great.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    April 26, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    How funny-I know Tunney Moore!

  • Reply
    April 26, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    The 1999 sentence ~ would be the most familiar with me. These are so interesting and make the months fly by!

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    April 26, 2012 at 11:45 am

    For some strange reason, I’ve always had a keen sense of subject-verb agreement! Even though I grew up in the country in the mountains of N. GA, Union County, and heard peaple say: “The dogs barks”…and “The hogs roots at the trough”…I had good English teachers at Choestoe Elementary school and at Union County High School, and they taught us how we were to think in terms of what the subject is, and how to get proper agreement of the two. With that said, though, I admit I still enjoy hearing our mountain folks speak in the “old style” and not have any care at all about whether they speak in “proper, educated” English or Mountain-ese!

  • Reply
    Jeanna M
    April 26, 2012 at 11:43 am

    I actually do not add “S” to words. However, when my husband and I first met most people swore I wasn’t from the mountains. I just didn’t have an accent. I guess it was because my mother is from Iowa. But after 26 years of marriage people now make fun of me because I am so country. Now for the funny part. I am heading back to college in the fall to become a teacher and I will probably specialize in English.
    Anyway, love your grammar tests and your blog.

  • Reply
    April 26, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Whats a Suffix anyhow? …Ken

  • Reply
    April 26, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Yep, adding the ‘s’ is common usage around here too!

  • Reply
    Dennis Weathers
    April 26, 2012 at 9:58 am

    These are commonly used as well: These are the tenses of “be”….you be, they be, he be, y’all be. He be the Deputy, you be funny, they be a mess, y’all be crazy!

  • Reply
    April 26, 2012 at 9:55 am

    I’s don’t thinks I’s hears that much round here…
    Thanks for the post, makes me thinks:)

  • Reply
    April 26, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Adding the s is so natural for me. I get confused when the word sounds better with the s, but I know it’s not the correct pronunciation. I have a hard time with words like cares and shows.

  • Reply
    Jessie : Improved
    April 26, 2012 at 9:23 am

    That is exactly how everyone spoke when I was young, but as a lover of English in school I had to move away from it. Brings back memories though!

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    April 26, 2012 at 9:10 am

    ‘s is used in some simple ways – it indicates that a letter is missing, ex. that’s his name means that is his name; ‘s is used to show ownership, ex. Mary’s pencil means that the pencil belongs to Mary; a plural verb does not necessarily end in s; often the ones that end in s are the singular form of the verb, ex. from Ed’s post his first sentence, and third sentence are correct – Confusing to say the least, but that’s our English language. I love it!

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    April 26, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Youins have me totally mixed up. But I loves this posts.

  • Reply
    April 26, 2012 at 8:52 am

    I don’t think this is so much a “dialect” thing of the Smoky Mountains as it is just no subject-verb agreement. You hear it all the time on the news and stuff, from undereducated people.

  • Reply
    April 26, 2012 at 8:29 am

    I don’t add the “s”, but I do hear it done quite often here. Thank you for another interesting lesson.

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    April 26, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Hubby just told me “We gots to get out to the garden this morning.”
    I already knows that, the bean have to be replanted.
    Have a good day!

  • Reply
    April 26, 2012 at 8:17 am

    love the mountain way of talking! course we call it hills, not mountain. my family moved around a good bit when i was little and it was common for me to be in conversation and no one would “get” what i was talking about. still happens today with my little city-slicker grandchildren. Happy Birthday to my sweet Uncle Kenneth! xoxo sandyk

  • Reply
    Special Ed
    April 26, 2012 at 8:05 am

    My tooter sez sheez dun bout all she can fer me. yeownt me to tell her yore havin truble with yore gramer an spelin? Sheez hepd me alot. Mabee she cud hep you two.

  • Reply
    kathryn Magendie
    April 26, 2012 at 7:52 am

    You know, I have such a conglomerate way of talking
    But I do catch things I say – like “dawg” instead of dog and “jury” instead of jewlery
    we moved a lot when I was a kid, so my “accent” is like a patchwork I think!

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    April 26, 2012 at 7:45 am

    I don’t use the “s” like that, but I grew up with lots of folks that did!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 26, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Tipper, you don’t usually starts us offs with a headachs and thanks lots Ed, nows I’ve forgot my name.
    If course I’ve heard the additional ss’s, this is Appalachia. However I’ve never stopped to think about them before. Of course it is not proper to add an ‘s’ suffix to verbs to indicate agreement with a third-person-plural subject! What were we thinking! LOL

  • Reply
    April 26, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Reading your post makes me stop and think if I use it or not and I find that I do sometime.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    April 26, 2012 at 7:22 am

    This is one of those areas where I’m afraid I’ve had the proper way of talking educated plumb out of me.
    You’re right, Tipper, it’s still in practice – and I’ll testify to having heard examples from no less a standard bearer than the Brasstown Angel herself. However, I’m afraid that it is a lovely melody whose strains you seldom hear.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    April 26, 2012 at 7:11 am

    Ah shucks, ain’t this a duck-plucking mess…My brains hurts…
    I thought thats the way we talked…After I read Eds comment I started thunking about sheeps, sheep and wools and wool…
    Thank Tipper uhhhh, Thanks Tipper!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    April 26, 2012 at 7:09 am

    Interesting, when I think about these circumstances, I find that sometime I do and sometimes I don’t. I must be very confused/

  • Reply
    April 26, 2012 at 7:00 am

    No I do not add an s. I have heard it. Again I enjoy reading your lessons!

  • Reply
    April 26, 2012 at 6:26 am

    i don’t use it but I remember it from kentucky.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    April 26, 2012 at 6:02 am

    So when you make the subject plural, you make the verb plural also. What’s wrong with that? Actually I’ve always tried not to add the s, but if it is accepted Appalachian speak, I think I’ll give up and just let it flow.
    So whichin is right:
    My neighbor’s dog barks all night.
    My neighbor’s dogs barks all night.
    My neighbor’s dogs bark all night.
    So if they have one dog. it barks. If they have plurality of dogs, they bark.
    Oh, good lord, now I’ve got myself confused and won’t be able to talk all day. or should that be gotten?

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