Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Grammar Lesson 18

Appalachian women

The most common definition for the word take is: lay hold of (something) with one’s hands; reach for and hold.

In Appalachia we use take in that exact manner-but we also use it in a few other ways like:

  • To run or go immediately: “Once I seen that bear I took off running fast as my legs would carry me!”
  • To get very upset: “She took a fit when she seen the mess they made in her clean house.”
  • To resemble someone: “Chatter takes after the Pressleys more than her sister does.”
  • To start: “Take and rinse the beans before you cook them.” or “He took to drinking after she died and that was the fall of him.”
  • To like: “I took a shine to The Deer Hunter the first time I laid eyes on him.”
  • To become sick: “He took sick and left right after dinner.”
  • To control: “I told him, all he needed to do was to take hold of that mess and make it work. I know he’d come out on top if he did.”
  • To become emotional: “Why she took on like the end of the world was coming.”
  • To give birth to a baby by c-section: “Her labor wasn’t progressing at all and they had to take the baby sometime after midnight.”
  • To begin: “School always took up at 8:00am when I was going-now it’s closer to 8:30am before they get all their ducks in a row.”
  • To date: “She’s took up with a little old boy from Andrews.”

As always-I hope you’ll leave a comment and tell me which-if any-uses of take you are familiar with.



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  • Reply
    September 6, 2012 at 8:59 am

    I use them all but To become emotional, To Begin and To Date…I am familiar with them but I just don’t use them!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2012 at 12:13 am

    How about interest: “She took up gardening when she retired.”
    I noticed the ‘know’, same as Jim C. It would need to be the past tense ‘knowed’, or ‘knew’. And I always thought the term “I swone”(@Tim H.), was “swan” and it was funny to me when my mother would say it so dramatically.
    Love these lessons!

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    August 29, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    The very common “conjugation” of “Take and rinse these beans” is a usage like … “She took and dumped the whole mess in the sink.”
    Same as “She went and dumped that whole mess of beans …”
    I’m not sure we could talk if we didn’t say “went and did this or went and did that”.

  • Reply
    August 28, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Fun post and comments!

  • Reply
    susie swanson
    August 28, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    I love them Tipper.. Grew up hearing them and saying them..Thanks for the reminders.

  • Reply
    Carol Killian
    August 28, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Dear friend,
    Wow! I knew all the definitions and have probably used them. I enjoy reading your posts especially the grammar lessons.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    August 28, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Another use: “He really got took on that trade. He coulda got twicet as much for that corn as that miller gave him.”

  • Reply
    August 28, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Several were familiar to me. I always enjoy your grammar lessons!

  • Reply
    Larry Proffitt
    August 28, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Tipper , sorry to say that all these vocalizations are common to my family . However , my wife has continued to try to correct my use of the present tense rather than the past tense . One would think that after 46 years she would have given up. ( eat and ate get the most attention )

  • Reply
    Julie Hughes
    August 28, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    We use this term in the ways shown and also as an indicator of something failed. “I tried to learn Spanish but it did not take with me.” “The dentist gave me all kinds of novacaine but none of it took.” Thanks

  • Reply
    August 28, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Here’s a Howland original:
    He on’y ast five dollars for that ol’ shotgun an’ I pulled the money outta my pocket so fast th’ back o’ my hand took th’ wind-burn…

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 28, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Tipper, another hit. Great take on our word usage.
    I agree with Ethelene. We are a thrifty people making the best use of what words we have.
    I know all the examples you gave!

  • Reply
    August 28, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Don-excellent use of the word!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    August 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    How about the use of take to indicate a perceived understanding, such as:
    I take it that you’ve about given up on getting anything useful out of that Swain County crowd.

  • Reply
    August 28, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    On yesterday’s blog there was a
    pretty woman in the first picture.
    Bet you took after her…Ken

  • Reply
    August 28, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    I love these tests! I did very well with this one; the only usage not common here in the northern foothills is to begin.

  • Reply
    August 28, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Bill-thank you for the comment! And another usage of take that I didn’t think of!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    August 28, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Ed-all great examples that I didn’t think of!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    August 28, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Jim-thank you for the comment! I do agree with you when it comes to most mountain people they would say knowed : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Ed Reed
    August 28, 2012 at 11:48 am

    We were walking home when it started to rain, so we took up at Old Man John Smith’s house ’til it stopped.

  • Reply
    Stephen Ammons
    August 28, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Hey Isaac and Tipper,
    I shorenuff didn’t learn them there words frum watching the Beverly Hillbillies. I learned them from living the Beverly Hillbillies. 🙂
    Another example of the word take that I hear very often is someone at work will say “Well I am gonna go that a whiz and then get back to work” which I usually respond that I am gonna do the same but I am gonna leave one. Wishing everyone a great day. 🙂

  • Reply
    August 28, 2012 at 10:40 am

    The only one I didn’t know was the one to do with beginning.
    My husband, who grew up on a dairy farm in South Appalachan, NY,says it doesn’t matter what part of rural America you grew up in “Country is Country.” Sayings, grammar and culture are pretty much the same.

  • Reply
    August 28, 2012 at 10:28 am

    How funny since I am not a Southner that I have heard all of these and have even used most of them. Maybe it is “Kansas Talk”. LOL
    Your distant friend Dorothy

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    August 28, 2012 at 9:24 am

    All of these are familiar to me! 🙂

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    August 28, 2012 at 9:09 am

    The usages are familar to me although I never really broke the word down as finely as you did. The word usage just came naturally in the course of conversation. Very interesting! I guess I will take the given information and tuck it away in my brain for further use.

  • Reply
    Tim Hassell
    August 28, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Hi Tipper,
    I’ve heard and used all these, except #2, I don’t remember ever hearing took used that way.
    One use of take that I have often heard and used is ‘taked’ (rhymes with caked). –I’ll be swone taked if he didn’t eat that whole cake.– The word swone rhymes with won and I assume means swoon, but this is a common expression of exasperation in my area.
    I really like these grammar lessons, it’s so interesting to see how the speech patterns of our different areas agree and sometimes how they are as different as the areas themselves.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    August 28, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Funny, well not funny that you should mention the use of this here wordin’….
    As I’us peddlin’ my rollator thru the edge of the graveyard, I seed a spook-like risen around one of the newly planted…I was “taken aback” and it shore weren’t no
    “will-o’-the-wisp”, at least my thinker thunk hit twernt…I didn’t last in thar another minute, I solonged that place purty dern quick!
    Wordin…”Twernt”..meaning either hit is or hit ain’t..or it tis or it taint..
    “Solonged”…meaning I’m a’gone, caint stay for seconds, or my feet are movin’, solong as they are I’m outta here! Bye, bye see ya later!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    August 28, 2012 at 8:47 am

    words from my past, have not heard these in 50 years, but remember them fondly

  • Reply
    August 28, 2012 at 8:46 am

    It tuck me awhile to realize your examples just about covered everything. Can’t think of any other way to use it, but I’m fixin’ to take a headache from all that thinking.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    August 28, 2012 at 8:46 am

    After reading this topic I took and read it again because I talk just like that! I’m a gonna take and show this to my wife just to prove I ain’t the only one that talks like this.
    Great post Tipper!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    August 28, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Tipper–all of these usages are familiar to me. With that out of the way, I’ll offer a gentle reproof. Usually your ear for mountain talk is perfect, but I would humbly suggest that it momentarily failed you this morning.
    I think that if someone uttered the last sentence in the example you give under To control he would say, “I KNOWED he’d come out on top if he did.”
    Do you agree?
    Interesting, as is invariably the case.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Sallie aka granny Covolo
    August 28, 2012 at 8:24 am

    I really love our Appalachian Grammar Lessons..I have heard all of these uses of take and to tell you the truth I still use most all of them. I did not realize that this usage of take wasn’t the King’s English.

  • Reply
    Isaac Izenglass
    August 28, 2012 at 8:06 am

    That Stephen Ammons feller has been watching too many reruns of the Beverly Hillbillies.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    August 28, 2012 at 7:52 am

    I can remember an aunt saying, “oh, I’m about to take a ‘sick headache’.” She said it often, too!!!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 28, 2012 at 7:41 am

    How about:
    Take as in the number of animals killed or fish caught. Their take for the day was three squirrels and a possum.
    Take as in establish. He tried grafting that apple tree a dozen times before he got one to take.
    Take as in write. I’ll call them out if you will take them down.
    By the way, how many ducks does it take to make a row?

  • Reply
    Sheryl Ormond Paul
    August 28, 2012 at 7:28 am

    Use them all Tipper

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    August 28, 2012 at 7:25 am

    Here’s another variation: When you took a shine to the Deer Hunter he must’ve been quite taken by you.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    August 28, 2012 at 7:24 am

    All those uses of “take” and past tense “took” are familiar to me. I guess you can say about our Appalachian speech: We take it to the “Nth” degree, getting all the meanings we can our of one word! And furthermore, we know what we mean when we express ourselves as we do! Good grammar lesson!

  • Reply
    Stephen Ammons
    August 28, 2012 at 4:58 am

    Most of the cases of take and took I have heard used many times.
    I decided to write a short story about the words that I have heard over my life or the ones I can remember anyways.
    Youins best look out, granny is bout to throw a real hissy fit bout that mud we tracked thru her kitchen. I wuz shore she wuz gonna take to chunking thangs all over the room.
    I gots a good notion to skedaddle down to the crik until she simmers down abit.
    I wreckin its pert near time to go clean it up. I would ask sister to help but she has been acting mighty persnickety and don’t want to help with anything

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