Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 111

the-language-of-Appalachia

It’s time for this month’s Appalachian Vocabulary Test.

I’m sharing a few videos to let you hear the words and phrases. To start the videos click on them and to stop them click on them again.

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1. Quare: strange. “I knew something was wrong with that coon. No matter how quare a coon is it ain’t going to come out in broad daylight a acting like it’s a dog that wants to be petted!”

2. Quare turned: unusual personality. “I don’t think he was trying to be hateful, he’s just quare turned and sometimes what he says don’t come out sounding just right.”

A post shared by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

3. Quietus: a state of quiet or calm. “If you kids don’t settle down I’m going to put the quietus on you!”

A post shared by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

4. Quile: coil. “That rope was a laying in the back of his truck all quiled up like a big ole snake and it like to have scared me half to death!”

A post shared by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

5. Quarrel: to scold or fuss at. “Stop quarreling at me! I done an told you I’m doing my dead level best to fix this mess, but it’s a gonna take me some time to get it done.”

All of this month’s words are still fairly common in my area of Appalachia. Not many young folks are using the word quare, but there’s still plenty my age and older who use it.

I don’t say quile (like The Deer Hunter does in the video) but I do hear other folks pronounce coil that way.

Funny when I got Chitter to do the word quarrel for me I realized she says the word totally different than I do. I found that interesting since I taught her to say so many of her words.

Hope you’ll leave a comment and let me know how you did on the test.

Tipper

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28 Comments

  • Reply
    Garry Ballard
    May 13, 2020 at 11:18 pm

    When I was listening to a Christian quartet on YouTube one of the said we’ll get the Quare (just like you say it) to help us on the next verse, couldn’t work out what he was saying till I twigged he meant choir!

  • Reply
    Quinn
    April 29, 2018 at 9:34 am

    My goodness, I’m so glad you posted the videos on this vocabulary test, Tipper. Not only are all your speakers doing a great job – and Deer Hunter’s story made my hair stand on end!- but also I’d no idea how some of these words are being pronounced. I’ve seen “quare” written in conversation in books, but in my mind I was hearing it as “qwayre” not “qwahr” – now I’ll know better and “hear” it right!
    Quarrel is sometimes used around here as a squabble or a disagreement. “They had a quarrel about the way that job needed to be done, and now they don’t speak anymore.”

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    April 28, 2018 at 3:27 am

    Tipper,
    Heard them all but don’t use them to often…However, last Saturday morning the sun was warming the bank as it rose toward noon. A huge black snake had “unquiled” and was a’layin’ on that warming soil…It must have felt pretty good to him stretching out in the sun after being “quiled up” all winter under a rock somewhere in the woods…He didn’t move a lick when we stopped on the gravel driveway. I rolled down the window to take pictures of the front, middle and back end…couldn’t make head nor tails of him…he was about five feet long…kinda thick in the middle, maybe he had a big breakfast that morning as well…

  • Reply
    Julie Moreno
    April 27, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    We used quile as quile down or hush not to mean coiled. Quarrel and quietus was used as you use them. We say someone is odd turned in the meaning you use as quare.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    April 27, 2018 at 11:25 am

    Quile was a new one to me. The others I use. Re: quietus – I don’t think I’ve ever heard it used without being preceded by “put the” and followed by “on.”

    I sure thought that Corie was Chatter and Katie was Chitter. Seems like my confusion on that has come up before. Or are you checking to see if we’re paying attention?

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    April 27, 2018 at 10:49 am

    Mama threatened us with Quietus pretty often.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    April 27, 2018 at 10:07 am

    All the words today are words I grew up with. I don’t hear them used very much now except when I use them and sadly enough that is not very frequent. I still use the word quare around people who know what it means but those are becoming less and less. When I moved “off” from home and started working around people who were from different places I seemed to have tucked away some of the words and expressions and assimilated into this kind of non discriptive dialect. I am very proud of my Appalachian heritage and I am quick to point out just exactly where I’m from when asked but I am often told that I don’t sound like I’m from the hills. Well, I might not sound like it but I guarantee you that I am a 100% dyed in the wool, son of Appalachia. My goal today is to use all of the words in conversation just as a little refresher of who I am.

  • Reply
    Lee
    April 27, 2018 at 10:04 am

    Heard all except quile. It was just plain coil. Quietis was ‘ee tis’.
    I’m the last in my family who will ever use them . My youngest son and grandsons speak as if they grew up in Midwest or sound like the nightly news. Was talking recently with my good friend from Waynesville , she said “we always used to quarrel about that at the bank, didn’t we” , so that’s very common, to us.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    April 27, 2018 at 10:03 am

    Quietus and quarrel, yes. But the others seem to me to simply be mispronunciations of other words.

  • Reply
    Ken
    April 27, 2018 at 9:55 am

    Tipper,
    I was talking to my oldest girl the other day and she said something about him being “quare” anyway. I’m like the Deer Hunter, I use the word quiled up too. I new all those words and say them about the same way as my Appalachian Friends. …Ken

  • Reply
    Papaw Ammons
    April 27, 2018 at 9:55 am

    I knowed ’em all this time. I am familiar with “Quile” both as Matt is describing the snake and as “Quile up” meaning to stop making noise. I have also heard it pronounce more like Qual

    That creature in the first picture is a Katiepillar. It hatched out into the beautiful butterfly in the third picture.
    Ain’t that good? I made it up all by myself!

  • Reply
    tamela
    April 27, 2018 at 9:29 am

    I know the words as you write and describe them but the pronunciations are a bit different. Quietus is “kwi-a-tus. Quir gets 2 syllable (quah-ur) as does coil (cah-yuhled). Quarrel becomes “quah-urhl”. Haven’t heard “quar turned” much; more likely to hear and say “quar streak”

    (PS – loved yesterday’s link then found Peggy Seeger’s “The Housewife’s Alphabet”on you tube – another fun one. Made me think of Erma Bombeck and her vacuum cleaner story . . . .

  • Reply
    Ava
    April 27, 2018 at 9:15 am

    My aunt always used the phrase “quare and peculiar ” to describe me. I considered it a compliment.

  • Reply
    Shirl
    April 27, 2018 at 9:12 am

    It has been years since I have heard anyone say quile, but you can bet they still say it back home. The rest of the words are used all the time around here. Quare turned people, as I see them, are usually snobby, unfriendly or stuck up. My ex husband used to say quietusangus. I don’t know where that came from because he was born and raised a few counties away from where I learned to say it the right way. Quarrel? That is a word used to describe fussing at someone, right?…I’m going to have to Google that!

  • Reply
    Jack
    April 27, 2018 at 9:07 am

    Never heard quile. In first picture, the caterpillar looks like what we call a catalpa worm, but what’s that wooden looking object behind it?

    • Reply
      Papaw Ammons
      April 27, 2018 at 10:00 am

      That’s a shiny pocket knife. The illusion of wood is a reflection off the back. The knife has yellow handles.

    • Reply
      tipper
      May 1, 2018 at 11:07 am

      Jack-I took the photo down at Pap’s big garden. In the background you can see the harred field and a very small rock wall that lines the road. Actually it really isn’t a wall-just were we piled rocks over the years 🙂

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    April 27, 2018 at 8:28 am

    I have heard and used all of today’s vocabulary words in the context used. I’m Appalachian and proud of it. These are all perfectly good words and convey the speakers meanings very well.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 27, 2018 at 8:15 am

    I know all these words and heard them growing up. I don’t hear most of them much these days but when I do hear them they are like old friends. The Deer Hunter is an avid supporter of the old language using most all these words regularly.
    Some of the words in the tapes have just a slight difference in pronunciation from the way I normally hear them. I think they must still be evolving.

  • Reply
    Carol
    April 27, 2018 at 8:06 am

    Quile – in my part of WV meant to quiet down.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    April 27, 2018 at 8:04 am

    Got them all this time. We pronounced “quietus” as ‘kwy ee tus’. While the words are common, they are not heard often because they refer to uncommon situations. The expression ‘quare turn’ covered all forms of misfit behavior: standoffishness, stingyness, etc that stopped short of criminal. Like you, I don’t think I ever say ‘quile’ myself. I do not like that proof that I have changed. It is even worse to know I have but have no real understanding of how much and in what ways. And our kids have changed further still.

  • Reply
    aw griffgrowin
    April 27, 2018 at 7:47 am

    I don’t always get all 5 but this time I got an A. Don’t hear quile much anymore.
    My Mamaw had spells of vertigo and she called it the quar head.

    • Reply
      Papaw Ammons
      April 27, 2018 at 8:31 am

      My mother called it swimmy headed.

  • Reply
    Brynne
    April 27, 2018 at 7:42 am

    All but quile are familiar to me. I haven’t heard quare or quietus since I was a child. I appreciate all your posts — but the language ones really take me back. I’ve been away from Appalachia for too long.

  • Reply
    Ed Karshner
    April 27, 2018 at 7:42 am

    I’ve heard all of these used by older folks. I’ll use “quare” when talking to my Dad. But, “quietus” and “quarrel” are pretty common and used even up here with my kids. Yesterday, we went to my daughter’s open house at school. Another parent asked if I’d had a busy day. I said “No. I put in my final grades in the morning and now feel awful quietus.”

    Pinnacle Creek had some good ones, too. Where I grew up, to be Off meant you had left home. I went off to college. But, it then gets used generally as a location anywhere but home. Someone asks my brother, “Where’s Eddie?” My brother might say “He got a job up North and moved Off.” I’m raiding to kids Off and I’m determined they not lose their language and heritage.

    So, I agree with Pinnacle Creek here, too. It is important we remember, use, and bring back our language. I can think of nothing more quare than being Off in our own place.

  • Reply
    Sheryl A. Paul
    April 27, 2018 at 6:14 am

    Quits and while are new to me but readily understood. Square I know but don’t hear much anymore. But quarrel all the time

  • Reply
    PinnacleCreek
    April 27, 2018 at 6:04 am

    I had all but forgotten, but my Dad was always using quietus. I don’t recall anyone else using the word, but he would occasionally threaten to put the quietus on us. A friend of mine from NC used quare for anybody that was a little odd. I knew exactly what he meant even though I had not heard it used in that way around here. An expression I heard occasionally years ago was that somebody had a strange turn, and if they were really strange then it was upped a notch to “off.” Quarrel is still used commonly. This saddens me because it seems our language is changing over more to a television talk personality. We are losing who we are slowly but surely. Thank you, Tipper, for keeping our Appalachian language alive. I had never really thought about it until I started reading your blog.

    Because of the unstable coal industry many of my relatives left to find jobs in various cities around the country. We have that close Appalachian connection, so we always have reunions. Some of them have changed completely how they speak, and I can detect no trace of their Appalachian dialect. Yet there are others who have been gone since the sixties, and they sound just as they did those many years ago.

  • Reply
    Tmc
    April 27, 2018 at 5:23 am

    Well, I did pretty good except for the first one, sounds to close to another word we’d use but that’s not socially excepted now days.

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