Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 12

Appalachian Highlands Science Research Center

With all the haints and spooks running about-I almost forgot about this month’s Vocabulary Test.  This test is unusual for me-I don’t really hear or use any of the words. So I’ll definitely be interested to see if you do.

  1. Fillum
  2. Far dogs
  3. Fotch
  4. Fight one’s face
  5. Friz


  1. Fillum-film. “There’s a fillum on that water and I wouldn’t drink it.”
  2. Far dogs-metal wood holders in a fireplace. “Just as I put the wood on the far dog the bird flew down the chimney.”
  3. Fotch-fetch. “Fotch me the taters and I’ll start peeling them.”
  4. Fight one’s face-eating with great gusto. “Fresh turnip greens makes a body fight one’s face.”
  5. Friz-frozen. “The pond has already friz over for the winter.”

The only one I can say I’ve heard this month is far dog. I’ve never heard the others-wonder if they are common in other parts of Appalachia? Please leave me a comment and let me know if you are familiar with any of them.



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  • Reply
    April 30, 2011 at 11:29 am

    I’m originally from eastern KY, and I can remember my grandpa (born 1913) using ‘fotch’ plus a few other words I’ve never heard anywhere else. One was ‘ken’ – to know something, and ‘poke’ for a sack or bag used to carry something.
    I live in Canada now, and I really enjoy reading your blog, especially the vocabulary & grammar sections. It’s always fun to test my Canadian hubby & co-workers with the phrases and words you mention. I still surprise hubby with the occasional word or turn of phrase that makes him ask what I just said. lol

  • Reply
    October 28, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    Well, the face fight and the far dogs are new to me. I’ve heard the rest.

  • Reply
    October 28, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Ooooh didn’t do so well on the “f”s ‘cept for far dogs. But I’m a hangin’ in there still with my claim I’m just a mountain girl a few generations removed and in mountains on the other side of the Great Land!

  • Reply
    October 27, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Very interesting words this month! I’ve heard, and used, friz – our pond frizzed over all the time when I was growing up – but the rest of them are completely new to me. Loving fight one’s face. Too funny!

  • Reply
    My Carolina Kitchen
    October 26, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    I flunked this one. Didn’t get a one, but it’s fun to try.

  • Reply
    teresa atkinson
    October 26, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    Far dogs – I’ve got a set of these on my kitchen porch now. We tore the fireplace out, but I use them to store wood on for the wood heater.
    Have a great week

  • Reply
    October 25, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    I knew a lot of people who put fillum in their cameras when I lived in Northern Ireland.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Tipper, I have heard friz, never heard far dog or any of the others with the exception of fillum. The boys say I have an accent and I guess I do say fillum instead of film. LOL
    Enjoyed your vocabulary test, as always. Now I need to go and catch up on some of your posts.
    Hope you enjoyed your weekend.

  • Reply
    petra michelle
    October 25, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Always enjoy learning new words, language, dialects. There’s always something new here, Tipper!
    I’ve only heard the word friz referring to frizzy hair.
    Thank you for the lesson! :))

  • Reply
    laoi gaul-williams
    October 25, 2009 at 7:01 am

    i have never heard of any of those! but ‘haint’ makes me think of ‘to kill a mockingbird’ 🙂

  • Reply
    Carolyn A.
    October 25, 2009 at 5:47 am

    I’ve only heard the word fillum cause my Dad used to say it. Never heard any of the others before. I do miss the local dialect though, such a beautiful sound. Makes me think of down home, back woods and small town living. *sigh* xxoo

  • Reply
    Glenda Beall
    October 25, 2009 at 3:35 am

    I heard of far dogs and fotch, and I wasn’t raised in Appalachia, but rural south where I grew up had some old ways of speaking. My father always said, I hope him get that job done. The past tense of help was hope. I read that is the old English way of using the word. He was of the English descent and probably Scoch also.

  • Reply
    October 24, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Fight one’s face is a good one that I’ve never heard.

  • Reply
    October 24, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Born in Asheville,NC…
    Raised in East Tennessee over the hills..Scoth/Irish German descent.
    Never heard of.. Fights one’s face…have heard “ate it in spite of his/her/ or my face…
    Fotch.. used by my granny..NC
    Have heard far dogs.. used here in ETn especially around firewood cutters/sellers..”That woods sa good ya can put hit’ on the firedogs and hit’ll last til mornin’.”
    My Mother used to laugh and say..”It’s gonna be sa cold that crick ul friz up…” creek/freeze
    I have heard fillum used as fillum-up, also .. I heard it used more in fillum for cameras..
    To look at the word…it sure seems as though it should be pronounced fil-M..ha our English language is a hoot…with all these dialects..
    One of my friends has never been able to say, Electrocardiogram…she would get nervous talking about someone and say “Lordy, they had to give her one of those “heart-a-grams”..LOL
    One other one I got from her was..
    “Shew’ee that milk is blinked!” I couldn’t drink it…meaning soured! these two totally East Tennessee hills

  • Reply
    Brenda Kay Ledford
    October 24, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    I’ve heard of “feeding your face” and I’ve heard of “fetch,” but I’m not familiar with the other terms. These are very interesting. I guess I failed today’s vocabulary test. HA! Ha!

  • Reply
    October 24, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    I haven’t heard any of those before. It is amazing how much different they.

  • Reply
    Nancy M.
    October 24, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Wow, I really failed on this one! I don’t think I’ve ever heard any of them.

  • Reply
    Julie at Elisharose
    October 24, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    I’ve never heard any of those, but I rather like “fight one’s face”. I may have to start using that one.

  • Reply
    October 24, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    That far dog sounds vaguely farmiliar. Like maybe I heard it somewhere long ago.
    Other than that one, nope, haven’t heard those.

  • Reply
    October 24, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Hey good one, I don’t use any of these. We call far dogs, dog arns, (irons). How bout, “my belly n backbone were bumpin I was so hungry. When dinner was set to the table it smelled so good it made ya wanna slap sombody.” Terry

  • Reply
    October 24, 2009 at 10:23 am

    I’ve heard of far dogs, and I think fillum~but none of the others. Very intersting group of words. I know for sure I’ve never hear friz used for frozen!

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    October 24, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Tipper: I would like to make two corrections:
    1. fillum – Used in conjuction with up when you used to have attendent to fill up your car. You would just say “fillum up”, they knew what to do.
    4. Fill one’s face – Stuff your mouth full of that great food.

  • Reply
    October 24, 2009 at 9:04 am

    I’ve heard of far dogs and fillum. But, the way I’ve heard fillum is for ‘fillum in the camera.’

  • Reply
    October 24, 2009 at 8:43 am

    The only one on here that I have ever heard is far dog. The others are new to me!

  • Reply
    julie curtis
    October 24, 2009 at 8:34 am

    I’ve heard far dogs, fotch and fight your face but not the other two. Those were good!
    Here’s another one……Have you ever heard anyone say they are “going around by Laura’s place”? Can anyone guess what that means?

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    October 24, 2009 at 8:14 am

    I knew all of them except for “Fight one’s face”. Actually, I had not heard “fotch” but I figured it out. I really enjoyed “Fight one’s face”, though. I love to eat and enjoy food, but am blessed with a pretty good metabolism, so I am not overweight from my love of food. There are many times that I “fight my face”. I definitely heard the others from people during my growing up years in East Tennessee, though.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 24, 2009 at 7:50 am

    Tipper, I don’t believe I have ever heard “fight one’s face” or “friz”.
    I can see “friz” as an attempted past tense for “freeze”.
    I have heard “feed your face” meaning to eat.
    We have so many new words is the last 30 years it makes me wonder what the vocabulary test will look like 100 years from now!!

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