Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Grammar Lesson 29

Unusual grammar usage in appalachia

We like s’es in Appalachia. That statement sounds silly doesn’t it? What I mean is we like to add an extra s on some of our words. Today we’ll focus on the adverbs of place and time.

  • anywheres “Just put it down anywheres. This place is such a mess it won’t matter where you put it!”
  • everywheres “I’ve looked everywheres and I can’t find that soap that momma used to buy.”
  • nowheres “Where you headed?” “Nowheres special I’m just out loafing around.”
  • somewheres “He said he was going somewheres but I wasn’t paying him no attention and can’t remember where he said.”

If I’m talking I add the extra s to the adverbs above almost every time. Funny that when I write or type them I don’t ever add the s.



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  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 16, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    There is a song that contains the phrase “today I passed her on the street.”
    If the word today were changed to yesterday, would we have to change passed to past?
    Today’s topic has stirred up a firestorm in my gourd! If I don’t soon shut up I will have to go to Wally World tomorrow for a new keyboard!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 16, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    English is just a language. It’s not a gospel. The gospels were not written in English (OK, well you’re right I wasn’t there.) I’m sure God speaks English but I’m not entirely sure it is his primary language.
    Language is a way for the population of a specific region of this globe we all live on to transfer ideas from one to another. Language is ever evolving. What works today may not apply tomorrow. Those who profess to teach a language are merely fooling themselves unless that language is completely stagnant, ie Latin. Those who profess to teach a language should study that which they hear in the streets and the countryside, not that which they read in text books. What they hear today will be the language being taught in schools twenty years from now and will already be outdated by then. Just ask Paul! (that’s Paul the brother, not Paul the Apostle, but either one would probably agree.)
    My theory is: Use whatever works best and let the professors, pundits and the textbooks try to keep up!
    PS: Evolving, in my humble opinion, doesn’t mean we always go on to something new and different. Sometimes (maybe most times) we try something new and if it fails we revert to the original. Most times the original is best because it is what got us here to begin with (if there is solace in that.)
    I am perplexed by the radical changes perpetrated by the electronic revolution we are undergoing. My grandsons communicate largely with their mouths but, will their progeny talk with their thumbs or possibly their eyes. Maybe they will communicate with something we cannot even envisage today. It is an exciting prospect. It’s a shame I can’t hang around to watch all it unfold. Or, maybe I will! Hold the popcorn, I’ll go get us a drink! How’s about cherry lemon Sundrop?

  • Reply
    Brenda Kay Ledford
    June 16, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    I always enjoy your Appalachian grammar test, Tipper. I do enjoy the mountain language. It is so unique. Hope you have a great music show.

  • Reply
    June 16, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    As a former English teacher, I’ll just pass on this one. The sounds of them with the extra ‘s’ make me cringe.(I will show verbal respect to those from the area!)

  • Reply
    June 16, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    I got neighbors and friends who
    add to the “King’s English” too.
    It makes me just smile and think
    to myself “who am I to try and
    correct ’em”.
    Lordy, what we do with the adverbs!

  • Reply
    June 16, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    I don’t type the way I talk, (which is prolly a good thing ’cause I’d wear out the apostrophe key) but I caught myself using a phrase the other day, talking about someone who did or said something really foolish: “He jus’ wadn’t at hisself”. I can remember using it down in Georgia once or twice and no one knew what I meant, I don’t think that would make sense anywhere but in this part of the world.
    The reason you can’t find that soap anywheres is ’cause Procter and Gamble quit making Octagon ’bout two years ago…

  • Reply
    June 16, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Yes Tipper I have heered those sayins all my life.although I have to move out of my beloved hills a long time ago I still condsider myself a hillbilly and always wlll and proud of it..some people recognize my hillbilly accent and ask me about it..thanks for the pig and acorn…

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 16, 2015 at 11:36 am

    As I was bringing my cursor to click on the button below to Post my first comment, I was reminded of something.
    I had a friend at work that spoke as backwoodsie as I do. We had many conversations and her speech seemed perfectly normal to me, but then she asked me to proofread an important paper she had written for a college course. It contained the phrase “post to” which in context didn’t mean anything to me, so I had to go ask her. “You know, post to, like it is your responsibility. Then it dawned on me. “Supposed to!” It was an embarrassing moment for her but even more for me. I don’t normally correct someone’s speech but in this case I had no choice.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 16, 2015 at 11:15 am

    I don’t put the extra s’s or t’s on my words but the “where” part of all your words come out of my mouth as whur.
    My speech patterns are so far from the mainstream that for many years I would refrain from speaking at all outside my own home. I remember being at a gathering of my wife’s family and speaking to one of her cousins whom I recognized but to whom I had never spoken. My wife later told me that after our conversation Carolyn had said “He can talk!”
    As my ability to view the past increases exponentially and the future diminishes, I have reverted to my native tongue. It’s so much easier than having to think about what I am saying. Now, if the listener doesn’t understand then I will gladly repeat it. As many times as necessary!
    I still don’t like to talk on the phone.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    June 16, 2015 at 10:39 am

    yeses for the eses…..

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    June 16, 2015 at 10:34 am

    I heard these a lot, but didn’t grow up using them.
    But the added ts were even more common: acrosst,
    warsht, messt, as in: You’ are NOT goin’ acrosst the street to play with Patsy until you have warsht your face and cleaned up that table you messt up with your paper dolls.

  • Reply
    Shirley B
    June 16, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Hi,Tipper.We love to use those s’es way down south ,too.We say so many words like y’all do.The one that I hear around here a lot is” Walmarts”.My sister-in -law from Louisiana ,when talking about yard work,will say”I have to work in my yards ”.I keep wanting to ask ,well, how many yards do you have? Its always fun to read about you,your family and neigbors. We have a special love for the mountains,and we come that way every chance we get.

  • Reply
    June 16, 2015 at 9:01 am

    I still hear some folks say “summers” instead of somewheres.
    Gary, my sister recently told me about a bargain she fount at a yard sale.

  • Reply
    June 16, 2015 at 8:38 am

    I’m guessin’ you are going to hear that added s’s and t’s on the words mentioned are going to be very commonly remembered. Dad and his brother still use them and I still hear folks using them throughout rural Texas and Kansas. Same with leaving g’s off “-ing” words.
    funny – we were watching a “Firefly” video (sci-fi/adventure) last night and I noticed this manner of speech in much of the dialogue.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 16, 2015 at 8:22 am

    It’s hard to catch ourselves using those little tricks of speech that are so ingrained we don’t hear ourselves say them. Then if we do try, it affects how we talk enough that what we say is no longer natural. I expect some folks are naturally talented to hear nuances that others, like myself, do not. I know I speak ‘Southern Appalachian’ but I also know I have modified it in the direction of ‘standard English’ due to education and experience. I just can’t judge how much or in what particular ways. When I was younger, it concerned me to speak ‘properly’ for my own sake. Now I only care about not embarassing others. Within the bounds of courtesy, I just want to be myself.
    But that’s a subject for another time. Hope each of you all have a blessed day.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    June 16, 2015 at 7:58 am

    I have heard people put a rs after a noun like snack to snackers

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 16, 2015 at 7:32 am

    Yep, oncest I looked everywheres for them shoes I bought down at the Dollar Store. They was nowheres to be found.

  • Reply
    Glynn Harris
    June 16, 2015 at 7:21 am

    Down here in Louisiana, we sort of restructure words. In your last example, “He said he was going somewheres”…..we say it “He said he was going summers”…

  • Reply
    June 16, 2015 at 6:14 am

    Gary-thank you for the comment! YES we had t-s to some words. You mentioned cross, across and once also come to mind and I’m sure there are others : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Garry Ballard
    June 16, 2015 at 4:16 am

    I dunno whether it’s from your region or not but I often hear mountain people put a t after a word ending in s like crosst. For instance some blue grass gospel singers do it when they sing ‘Near the cross”. It’s sounds a lot like crost, do Appalachian folk do that?

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