Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Grammar Lesson 17

Appalachian Grammar Lesson 17

In Appalachia it’s common to use the word that(s) instead of the words whose and who.


*Henry Wade that lives at Brasstown will be there to play the guitar.

*We should help a man thats down on his luck but willing to try.

*I know a man thats kids work harder than he does!


If I’m speaking I use that for whose and who every last time! But when I was typing out the sentences above I almost typed whose in place of thats on the last sentence. I guess writing or typing gives you more time to think about the correct usage.

How about you do use that in place of who or whose?




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  • Reply
    July 2, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    For most things I write, I write properly even if I do not speak properly…but “that” is so much a part of my way of communicating that I am sure I do not even think about it whether speaking or writing…

  • Reply
    June 27, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    Not only do I use a lot of ‘that’s”,(but, rarely when writing) I usually pronounce it as ‘thit’. As, “The lady thit called me.”

  • Reply
    June 27, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Yes, the word is used around here a lot, especially while speaking. I usually don’t overuse it when writing.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    June 27, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Once again I just had no idea that everybody didn’t talk like that. Is that crazy or what??

  • Reply
    Dorothy Sanderson
    June 27, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    I welcome the day you post these word usages. Some are used here “in my neck of the woods” (now name the man on TV that says that) and some are not. The first 2 sound ok but that last one was just all wrong for me. LOL
    Wish I could go to the music festival you are having this weekend. Sounds like alot of good music.

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    June 27, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Hummm1 I didn’t feel the sentences were incorrect except for the second one. I feel that the word thats should be spelled that’s for that is because that really fits the sentence. For some reason I think the words are interchangeable except for the second sentence where you would use the form who’s or that’s. That’s what I think!

  • Reply
    June 27, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    I use those substitutions only when I am talking with my relatives!
    We rarely leave our community on weekends, but we just might make an exception and pop over to Cashiers.

  • Reply
    June 27, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    It just feels better to talk that
    way. Sometimes when I’m writing
    something, I can’t help but
    remember those wonderful English
    teachers of long ago that left
    an impression on my life…Ken

  • Reply
    Laurie Stone
    June 27, 2012 at 9:59 am

    The use of that is one reason I never edit my own work!
    Then again – isn’t that the way Shakespeare used the word? I guess we’re just better informed.
    Love your new play list!

  • Reply
    June 27, 2012 at 9:26 am

    I’m the one that is guilty of saying it as well as writing it. I, like Miss Cindy, never even thought about it.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 27, 2012 at 8:58 am

    I used to work with a lady from Buffalo NY that ended most of her sentences with -and that. She started most of her sentences with -And I was sitting there and. Have you ever heard sech. She thought we talk funny.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    June 27, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Whose idear was it to use all them whoooos like that?…Whose was it?..Who done it?..Who’s the varmit with the pencil…and why in the darnation is hit spelt…Who… instead of Hoo?…I don’t git no W sound with a who or whose..of course if you said whose without whe W…hose, it would be a’liken to somebodys fancy socks. So you would have to be spelt hoose…and some says that would look like noose..which I’m a guessing some folks by now would like to use on my neck….Well, I think I’ll leave the Who, Whos and Whose.. to the OWLS..since they shore WHO a lot bettern me..
    Thanks Tipper for a thought provoking post….

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    June 27, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Tipper–Ed, Ethelene, and others correctly note that spoken English as opposed to what is put in writing can vary appreciably among folks in the high country. I have to be particularly careful when it come to the written word inasmuch as I earn my livelihood by selling words for nickels. One difficulty you don’t mention is the conundrum of when to use which and when to use that.
    Also, if you want to make the spoken “thats” a bit more proper (and accurate) it should be “that’s”. For example: “Did you hear the rumor that’s going around Tipper fishing without a license?” Forgive me–I just couldn’t resist the poke (poke as in prod, not as a paper bag).
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    June 27, 2012 at 8:21 am

    Miss Cindy – I also feel we should never strive to be what we are not. When we try to fit into a mold someone else has prescribed or deemed correct for us, (whether right or wrong) we can never be authentic. I believe when we are not we will be rather dull or, at best, just another “Face in the crowd”. LET’S BE UNIQUE! Besides, my Granny had a saying for those who didn’t like the way she said or did something.

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    June 27, 2012 at 8:15 am

    What? You mean I am supposed to actually be using who & whom? 🙂
    In all seriousness though, I always use that and thats when speaking. Like you, when I write I generally use proper grammar, but I do have to stop and think about it!

  • Reply
    Sunni Green
    June 27, 2012 at 8:12 am

    Talked this way all my life! Tipper, my family and I will be vacationing in Bat Cave, NC this weekend, June 29 – July 3. Is Bat Cave near Cashiers? If so I would love to come to the music festival. Thanks,
    Sunni Green

  • Reply
    June 27, 2012 at 8:12 am

    I am one of the people That like the new music player.

  • Reply
    June 27, 2012 at 8:07 am

    that’s what I always say, and tell the girls i like the I’ll fly away

  • Reply
    Carol Killian
    June 27, 2012 at 7:58 am

    I know the correct usage, but use that about half the time. I am going to listen carefully to myself. Happy Day!

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    June 27, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Tipper, Ed and John, I agree that we use different “standards” to speak and to write. I’m very likely to say, without giving it much thought, “The lady that lives across the road from me went on vacation last week.” But if I wrote it, I would no doubt write “who” instead of that. I guess our “education” has wiped out some of the delightful nuances of our Appalachian way of talking. When I was growing up, I soon learned there was “down-home talkin'” and standard, correct English. As a result, some of our old, quaint expressions are nearly extinct.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    June 27, 2012 at 7:29 am

    In the referenced sentence the use of whose instead of who’s is actually an example of Appalachain grammer itself.

  • Reply
    June 27, 2012 at 7:29 am

    Indeed I am guilty of that same thing using “that” in my speech and good heavens I do not even live down there so it must be a common thing many of us do no matter where we live.?

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    June 27, 2012 at 7:25 am

    whose, all the time

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 27, 2012 at 7:23 am

    Well, yes, that is what I say too. Tipper, I never even thought about it.
    I used to work with a guy(from upstate NY) who would occasionally say to me ‘Cindy, your country is showing’ most of the time I usually didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. THAT may be one of the things he was speaking of.
    That’s just the way it is. I quit trying to be something I’m not.

  • Reply
    Barbara Gantt
    June 27, 2012 at 7:09 am

    Have done that for years, dont plan on stopping, Barbara Gantt

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 27, 2012 at 5:39 am

    The use of that has been one of the biggest stumbling blocks in my attempts at writing. Almost always after I use that, I will stop and try to find a better word. It disrupts my train of thought and I end up saying something I didn’t intend. So I have to go back and rephrase the whole sentence and maybe the whole paragraph.
    Lately though I’ve been letting the thats fly. It seems pretentious that I use it in my speech but try to leave it out of my writing. So, if you see that in something that I wrote, rest assured that I saw it first and that I chose to leave it there. Now that’s that!

  • Reply
    john Dilbeck
    June 27, 2012 at 4:07 am

    I wasn’t aware that I used “that” that way. (grin)
    When I’m speaking, I am very likely to say what you describe.
    When writing, I’d probably use “who” or “whose,” but not when I’m intentionally writing as I speak.
    I’m going to watch and see how I do this. Thanks!

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