Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Grammar Lesson 16

Appalachian Grammar Lesson 16

This Appalachian Grammar Lesson is all about the.. well.. its all about the all!

  • We often add the word all to pronouns: “I don’t know who all will be there, but I’m going down to that meeting they’re having.” or “After the food was eat they all got up and left out of there pretty quick like.”
  • We use all the for only: “That’s all the one I seen in the shed. Somebody must have took the others and never brought them back.”
  • We use the phrase, all fired to describe a state of anger or high emotion: “It made me so all fired mad I may never step through the door of that place again!”
  • We use all with the word how: “I don’t remember all how she made them, but Momma’s tomato pickles were the best you ever eat.”
  • We use all’s in place of all that: “All’s I know is I did what she told me to do. And if that ain’t good enough then I don’t know what else a body could do.”

The grammar usages above are all very common in my area of Appalachia, and in my household. When I’m writing there are a few words that I use way too often and one of them is all. I feel the need to put all in at least every other sentence.

Please let me know if the usage is common in your area too.



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  • Reply
    April 29, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Same but in NC Smoky Mountains we say “yuns” instead of “y’all” and sometimes people “not from around here” trying to mimic us stick out like sore thumbs saying, “you-uns” or “we-uns.”

  • Reply
    June 5, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    I couldn’t tell you if it is common around here because I use about the same as you and I don’t notice who all else says it, too. LOL

  • Reply
    Jackie @Syrup and Biscuits
    June 2, 2012 at 7:32 am

    This dialect covered LA (lower Alabama), too! This is exactly the way my people talk. One of my favorite uses of all is, “That’s all in the world you need.” I frequently do “Today’s lesson in Southern vernacular” on my FB page. People love it. Thanks, Tipper!

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    June 1, 2012 at 12:02 am

    We say “how all”-as in, “I don’t know how all she made them fancy mater pickles.” And that’s all, ya’ll!

  • Reply
    Granny Sue
    May 31, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    Yup, all’s I know is the usage is similar here in WV 🙂

  • Reply
    May 31, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    I hear most of your examples. The only one I use is y’all. I taught english as a 2nd language for several years and hear different ways to express things just about everywhere I go. Around here I hear ‘Hosepipe’ for the garden hose and ‘hot water heater’ for the appliance that actually heats cold water.

  • Reply
    S Kalvaitis
    May 31, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    All in all it turned out pretty good. Explain that to me. I have heard it and used it all my life but while I feel like I know what it means I couldnt explain it if I needed to.

  • Reply
    May 31, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    We use them all except “all for only”

  • Reply
    May 31, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Yep, heard ’em all and used most all of ’em.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Barb Johnson
    May 31, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    I have also heard it used and use it as everything “he is my all in all”

  • Reply
    May 31, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Your East Anglian correspondent doesn’t know any of those usages except the last “All’s I know” is pure East Anglia. The full words wouls be “All as I know”, “As” being the way we pronounce “that”. An’ ‘as all I got t say bout it.

  • Reply
    Carol Killian
    May 31, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    I enjoy the vocabulary lessons. In middle TN some of us overuse the word all in the ways you have described. Y’all take ker(care). Aren’ t you proud of our southern language (dialect) with its special rhythm?

  • Reply
    May 31, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Yes, this is common. I love the way you bring these things to our attention.

  • Reply
    May 31, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Don’t hear “all how” much in my part of Oklahoma, but the others are right at home here.
    We kid around with saying that “y’all” is singular and “all y’all” is the plural.

  • Reply
    Dorothy Sanderson
    May 31, 2012 at 11:39 am

    No Tipper we don’t use this word that way here in Kansas However the “aliens” from other states sure do. One is my husband and the first time I ever heard anyone say “you all” was from him. That is just on of many odd word usages coming from him & Oklahoma. HA I also learned to eat okra.
    I love this part of your blog and always look forward to it.
    I have a niece & nephews in IL who think we talk funny. Have you heard the northerners? I love to listen to them.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 31, 2012 at 11:24 am

    All is such a good all inclusive word. All, all y’all, all y’alls, you all overall a very useful word.
    Y’all come see us, here?

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    May 31, 2012 at 10:47 am

    My favorite is y’all. I especially like hearing a Yankee trying to imitate Southern and saying something like, “Y’all sure are looking pretty today.” Every true Southerner I ever knew uses “y’all” to include more than one person, either directly addressed as a group or implied, such as, “Why don’t y’all come over for supper tonight.” (implying the person being addressed and his/her family. The very practical reason is to distinguish between singular “you” and plural “you”. Non-Southerners have not figured out this shortcoming of the English language!

  • Reply
    May 31, 2012 at 10:33 am

    I use them all except for “all’s I know.” Surprisingly enough that phrase is very common in the midwest.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 31, 2012 at 9:41 am

    To all y’all that don’t get the “all how” combination, try putting “of” between the two words, read it aloud, take it out and say it again. If you still don’t get it then, you will be permanently relegated to the hopelessly citified list.

  • Reply
    Tim Cuthbertson
    May 31, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Yes, I am familiar with all those uses of all. I especially remember frequently using the term “you all” when I was younger, but now I just contract it to “y’all”. Maybe that is because I grew up in Ga but have now lived most of my life in Al. And y’all is certainly no worse than the northerners use for the same need, “you guys”. That term really grates on my nerves, especially when it’s used by a southern kid.

  • Reply
    Charles R. Perry, Sr.
    May 31, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Y’all is both plural and singular. The kids of today can’t make fun of how we talk because of such words as “you know”. Sometimes when my grandaughter’s get going I will start holding up a finger for each “you know” in a sentence and generally by the time I have four or five fingers up, they will realize what I am doing and concentrate and eliminate a few.

  • Reply
    Grandma Sallie
    May 31, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Great Post Tipper..I loved it !I remember when I visited a cousin in Virginia after I had been gone from Western NC for quite a long time. Virginian’s think they are ‘all it’ ya know. Well, he said, “Sallie thinks she is sophisticated with her Yankee accent, but every once in awhile, Western North Carolina is written ‘all’ over her.” He went to William and Mary and was ‘all’ conceited. I took it that he was saying Virginians are better, but you know what? He was born in WNC.

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    May 31, 2012 at 8:59 am

    The fourth use was a very familiar
    usage to me; the other three were heard often by the friends I have made here in the foothills.

  • Reply
    May 31, 2012 at 8:39 am

    We say, “I don’t know who in all will be there.” I’ve been working in the garden and got all itchy and sweaty this morning. I talk like that all the time and it sounds right, all except your example of tomato pickles. I never used all how and that got me all confused.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    May 31, 2012 at 8:33 am

    I’ve never heard or used the “all how” combo either, the rest are common over here on the north-east side of the Nantahala Mountains.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    May 31, 2012 at 8:32 am

    I’v heard the use of all the ways you presented “all” in the North Georgia area where I was reared (notice, I didn’t say “raised”.) I think these passed into disuse when we got “educated” and we were told in school that “our older folks may have talked that way, but now the PROPER way to speak is…and we would then get the “correct” or “proper” terminology. So these somewhat fell into disuse. But there’s a beauty and eloquence about them still; at least, our forebears were understood by each other, and that’s more than we can sometimes say now in our day of subtelties and half-truths.

  • Reply
    Bob Aufdemberge
    May 31, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Heard ’em all out here on the edge of the plains too, but the one with how isn’t too common.

  • Reply
    May 31, 2012 at 8:26 am

    This is familiar here in PA too. If something is gone, it’s all. “The cereal’s all; what are we having for breakfast?” When our kids were little, it was “ally-all”. We also use “yet” and “awhile” a lot.

  • Reply
    Bill Dotson
    May 31, 2012 at 7:53 am

    I think I use all in all those ways especially when I am in an all fired hurry for something or the other. I am so used to hearing all used that way I pay no attention so I don’t recollect when I do.

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    May 31, 2012 at 7:44 am

    All I can say is I hope all ya’ll have wonderful day. I’m all fired up about going camping up in the Park next week.

  • Reply
    May 31, 2012 at 7:39 am

    I use “all fired up” often, or as we say around here pretty often. It can describe anger or enthusiasm.

  • Reply
    Laurie Stone
    May 31, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Long after you leave Appalachia and get caught up in the trappings and fast talking of the cities, the “alls” stay with you. Especially before pronouns! It’s one of those subtle hints you can hear in a conversation that let you know you’re with one of your own.

  • Reply
    Donna W
    May 31, 2012 at 7:18 am

    I seldom hear such expressions any more, but I grew up with all of them in north Missouri. Of course you have to realize that my daddy’s people came out of Kentucky and Tennessee originally, long before I came along.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    May 31, 2012 at 7:10 am

    Never used all for how, but I have and do use it in all the other ways.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    May 31, 2012 at 6:58 am

    Purty near spelt “good” wrong…Now then, I did have a right smart of trouble larnin’ with spellin’… unliken to this little Tennessee young’n in the spellin’ bee this week..She’us only 6 year old, bless her heart…”Lordy, I don’t think I’us outta the hayfield by then!
    By the ways, How in the world could us folks say, “You’all come back ya hear”…if’n we didn’t have all them alls…That’s all! LOL
    Thank ya agin, Tipper

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    May 31, 2012 at 6:44 am

    All’us folks around these here parts use a lot of alls…They’ins’ told us it twernt goog Ainglish…but till the All’s and the Theys stand a’fore me and says that there is bad Ainglish…I’m just agonna have to keep on with my keepin’ on….Thats alls I have to say about that! LOL
    Thank ya kindly Tipper,

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 31, 2012 at 5:30 am

    I think the use of all in these examples are a way of making a unarguable statement in the middle of a sentence. Like a period without ending the sentence. Like “that’s my final statement on the subject.” or “nuff said”
    I have no aversion atall to all.

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