Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Grammar Lesson 7

Time for this month’s Appalachian Grammar Lesson. Anyone who’s heard an Appalachian accent-can tell we mix up pronouns and use them every which way. But today I want to focus on the way we use the words own self/selves in place of pronouns.

*I took care of the trouble my own self. I started it, I aimed to finish it, and I did!

*People need to learn to take care of their own selves and not depend on others for every little thing they need.”

*Last week Darren cut his foot wide open with a axe. It needed stitches but instead of going to the doctor he sewed it up his own self. That boy is tough as a pine knot.”

I’m sure you can tell which pronouns should replace the words own self/selves in the sentences above. If I’m talking-I’m going to say the example sentences exactly the way they are written above. When I’m writing I’m more likely to get it right-but not always.

How about you-do you use the words own self/selves in this manner or know someone who does?




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  • Reply
    January 20, 2022 at 8:30 pm

    From ole Bill S hisself when writing of that doleful Dane:
    This above all: to thine own self be true,
    And it must follow, as the night the day,
    Thou canst not then be false to any man.
    Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!
    Most humbly do I take my leave, my lord.

  • Reply
    February 15, 2013 at 10:27 am

    I grew up in Mobile, AL, and we certainly used “ownself” Kids made fun of my sister because she used the verb “tote.” Her response to them:
    well you jist carry your books and I’ll tote mine. Everthing’ll be all right.”

  • Reply
    Mama Crow
    May 29, 2011 at 10:32 am

    As a greeting when someone says to me, “how are you today”, i like to say “fine, and how is yourown sweet self”. it makes people smile and glad that someone, even a stranger thinks theyown self is sweet. Mama Crow

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    May 28, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Tipper–As seems my wont of late, I’m about a day late (and several dollars short in this durn awful economy). Usages of the sort you offer, nicely supplemented by Bradley and a bunch of others, actually have a strong underlying purpose. The repetitive nature of phrases such as “do it my own self,” actually strengthens the impact of what is said. After all, howe bland is “I’ll do it” or “I’ll do it myself” in comparsion with “I’ll do it my own self and that way I’ll know for dead certain sure that it’s done right.”
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    May 28, 2011 at 7:33 am

    Bradley I loved your comment!
    There are some folks thats been around me so long and “poured it back in the jug” so much that the milk is beginnin’ to blink…HA
    But, you know what, there’s nothing like sweet butter outta sour milk!
    Thanks Tipper

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    May 27, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    I hear ownself used a lot and use it occasionally for emphasis my ownself

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    And I swear…I really can spell. That’s what I get for doing two things at once!!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    I grw up with peole saying His self, took me forever to train myself to say himself!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Donna-thank you for the comment-hope you drop back by the Blind Pig often!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Tipper, can’t say I use those words but in the community where I grew up we talked in “opposites”; in other words if someone was called “bright” it meant he wasn’t too smart. “Come here!!” meant to get out of my face. “Burnt out!” meant I was very happy about something. Not many people are left who knew the meanings of these words, but occasionaly they just slip out. Recently I pulled together a list of these sayings that I could remember. Our upbringing must have been similar.

  • Reply
    Barb Johnson
    May 27, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    What? You mean they were not written the correct way in the example sentences? LOL

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Many of these Appalachian phrases are also heard in Eastern England, mainly from country people. “Do it your own self if you wants it done proper” was a frequent exclamation of a man I worked with on a farm many years ago. “Yourn” for “yours” and “theirn” for “theirs” are also heard, but not “hisn”, though everyone in my junior school used “his-self” rather than “himself”, much to the annoyance of the teacher.

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    yes i do, use these words just like this, i do it my own self. I like doing thing my own self, do not like being helped at all. another good one Tipper

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    I have learned that if I need something done, I might as well do
    it my own self. Its more rewarding
    or satisfying anyway…Ken

  • Reply
    Granny Sal
    May 27, 2011 at 11:25 am

    When my family moved to Ohio, at the time I was almost 16,many years ago, I did not get an A in my High School English Class. I asked the teacher how this could be, as I had made perfect marks on my tests? She said, “You do not speak English properly.”, so I do not think you practice what you claim to have learned..I thought this was most unfair. Love your Appalachian Language Tests. To this day, my (now grown kids) will correct my English. I used to help them with school work by typing up papers for them. My son said, “Please do not insert your own interpretation of what I wanted to say, Mama!” The teachers know I do not talk that way. I lived in West Asheville,and I do not think our language was quite as “country” as relatives from Hayesville and the like.

  • Reply
    Brian Blake
    May 27, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Granny says, “Just pour it back in the jug!” Have to figure out a way to put that in my book’s section on mountain lore. Ah! Got it!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Yep, I use it here in the northern foothills my ownself! A lot of the older folks do. Sad to say our younger people are turning away from these homey usages.
    Speaking of young people, I must tell you I’ve been enjoying your girls’ rendition of There Is A Time. Such sweet young voices are hard to listen to dry-eyed!

  • Reply
    Donna Frano
    May 27, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Since I moved away, I have fallen into the speech patterns of the cosmopolitan folks down here in DFW, but I do miss mountain talk! When I visit up there, I fall right back into those old familiar speech patterns. *sigh* I miss my mountains!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Mary Kay Anderson, who is a southern chick-lit writer uses it often in her books. Example: ‘Aunt Gloria liked a lot of different music, but lately she had been on a Frank Sinatra kick. With the rain pounding at the windows, I found that I was in the mood to listen to Old Blue Eyes my ownself.”

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 27, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Hey Tipper, I use these when speaking but, like you, not when writing.
    Seems that when speaking the words just flow by never to be seen again and I can be myself. When writing, however, the words are preserved as witness to who I am…and you know we have an inborn need to be somebody!lol
    I use it mostly for emphasis….I’ll do it my own self, now don’t bother me!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 7:43 am

    I hear (and say all these)everyday, just about. If a person could be “A fly on the wall” in our area (usually at some gathering) they would probably hear a conversation of this sort………. “They brought a dinner to the picnic. She brought hurn and he brought hisen, but after a while they couldn’t tell which was which.” “After that they decided to put thurn over by their ownself so’s they could tellum a-part from then again.”
    It can really get deep sometimes but I’m agwinna keep talking like I want to and if some ubbum don’t like it, (as my Granny used to say) they can just pour it back in the jug!

  • Reply
    Joe Mode
    May 27, 2011 at 7:20 am

    Yep, that’s what I say, and most of my family as well here in East Tennessee, or Halls Crossroads proper.
    And I might could add, “And if you don’t like the way I say it, you can figure out how to say it your own dad burned self.”

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    May 27, 2011 at 7:17 am

    Oh yes, sometimes emphatically my own d–n self. 🙂 To be used when explaining cutting that foot wide open!

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    May 27, 2011 at 7:02 am

    I myownself uses self/selves thataway…Why do you ask?
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS: Have you ever read the fairy tale myownself err…yourownself about the fairy who was named Myownself?…You can google it!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 6:44 am

    Well since I am from the Appalachian foothills, you know I do. LOL

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