Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 125

mountain laurel bloom

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.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

1. Anothern = another one. “Here  if you’ll hand me anothern I’ll get started peeling it while you finish cutting that one up.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

2. Apurpose = Intentionally. “I don’t care what he says, I know he tilled over my flowers apurpose. Why he’s been talking about planing corn there for years.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

3. Arbor meeting = outdoor church service held under a brush arbor. “There was the biggest crowd you ever saw at the arbor meeting last night.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

4. Ary = any; a single one. “Whenever you need a hand you can’t find ary kid around this place to pitch in and help. There all gone gallivantin’ somewhere when you need them.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

5. Awful to = having an inclination to. “I don’t know what was wrong with that boy but he was awful bad to start fires. Its a wonder he never burnt nothing up before now.”

All of this month’s words are beyond common to me, although I don’t hear arbor meeting or even brush arbor that often these days.

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


Subscribe for FREE and get a daily dose of Appalachia in your inbox

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Eldonna Ashley
    July 5, 2019 at 7:53 am

    My daddy used all these, but the bush/brush arbor was not used much.

    I think one of the reasons an arbor was developed is that some churches did not allow eating in the church. There was a custom of “dinner on the grounds.” That meant church grounds or church yard. I was brought up that way. I married a seminary student, he was fixin’ to pastor another denomination. I had to adjust to the idea that there were fellowship dinners in the church even though the kitchens and dining areas are in a separate part of the building.

  • Reply
    June 22, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    I’m familiar and use all these words, and still remember the Brush Arbor days, you don’t see actual Brush arbors anymore but I remember as a child the old brush used for a top spanning across, and the old tree post used to hold it all up.

  • Reply
    Tamela Baker
    June 21, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    Mercy me! every word in this post and comments except “I Ginney” or “I Ganney” are familiar and well use by me although, like several of your readers, I’m more likely to use “nary” than “ary”. I can still her my grandmother fussing at me – “Don’t you touch nary a one of those cookies until after supper!” Dad still thinks its a “mortal sin” to have a cookie without ice cream – – but then he don’t mind “sinnin'”. But I digress. . . .

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    June 21, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    When I was a little thing, Daddy told me to stay at the house with Mama. He took most of my older
    brothers to get cook wood for the winter, they had already got heating wood earlier. That is where Harold got his Nickname, he was almost 7 back then.

    John was sawing a pretty big Locust with our David-Bradley Chainsaw, and got it lodged between two big trees. They didn’t know what to do and John was a good sawer. If he could get that David-Bradley cranked, there wasn’t any quiting.

    Harold leaned on the Locust and it fell. They had almost given up and it come loose just as Harold leaned against it. John watched it fall and called it a “Giant” of a man who could make that thing come loose. It stuck with Harold all thru these years, I never called him that, I called him a bunch
    of things when I was mad at him, but we’ll not go into that.

    After we got Businesses of our own, and daddy and mama was gone, I never called him ‘giant’, he was my best Friend, and closest Brother. …Ken

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    June 21, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    I’ve heard all these words used but seldom use a couple of them. One of the worst to grate my nerves is one Cousin Ed mentioned, that is seen as in I seen Joe Blow at the grocery store several times. I try to correct my children and Grand Children to use saw or have with seen. As in, I have seen Joe Blow several times at the grocery store.

  • Reply
    June 21, 2019 at 11:56 am

    Never heard Arbor meetings, but otherwise most still used a great deal except for ary. A doctor laughed at me once for telling him somebody was doing “pretty good.” It made me glad I didn’t use my usual “awful good.” To differentiate they are doing really well when they are doing awful good. When they are doing pretty good it would seem they are are maybe doing okay. This Appalachian language sure is a complicated thing, and I wish I had appreciated and studied it more earlier in life. But then it seems I remember someone saying, “Youth is wasted on the young.”

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    June 21, 2019 at 11:14 am

    I have heard and used all but brush arbor, I never heard that one.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 21, 2019 at 10:59 am

    I’ll say all 5 for knowing’ but maybe just a 2 .5 or 3 for using or even having heard recently.

    I wonder if part of the reason for brush arbors, beyond the practical, was a harkening back to the feast of tabernacles in the OT which was itself an allegory for ‘no continuing city’. Or as my Dad used to say, “a short time here and a long time gone.”

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      June 21, 2019 at 4:39 pm

      If the truth be known it was probably the lack of air conditioning that spurred the building of brush arbors. Old church buildings were notorious for their extreme heat in the summer. Little old ladies fanned furiously themselves from singing to altar call. Outside in a brush arbor you could at least catch a wisp of wind now and then in the evening.

  • Reply
    Glyn Underwood
    June 21, 2019 at 10:12 am

    Much obliged for the test,

  • Reply
    Tom Hansberry
    June 21, 2019 at 10:10 am

    reading this post put me in mind of Ron Thomason (sp?) lead hillbilly of The Dry Branch Fire Squad. I’m sure you know of them. One of my favorite bands. Ron is an English teacher so he has probably educated himself out of mountain talk but he still uses it very well in his stories.
    As always, thanks Tipper.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    June 21, 2019 at 9:52 am

    I love the vocabulary posts! I’m familiar with all of today’s. I’ve never seen or been to a brush arbor but heard family talk about them often. By my time revivals were held in tents. I always dreaded when the preachers started coming down the aisles absolutely preaching hell fire. I was afraid they’d start preaching to me.

    We had a hilarious experience at one of these tent meetings. Anyone was allowed to sing a “special” with extremely mixed results. That night an elderly lady got up to sing the 23rd Psalm. It was incredibly terrible, drawn out forever and unfortunately hilarious. Our grandparents would have killed us all for laughing in meeting but we were overcome one by one and one by one we slunk out behind some cars where we were all just rolling–of course we could still hear this poor lady and it just revved us up. Even Daddy came out and he was not easily tickled in any situation. We felt mean but we couldn’t quit laughing & it’s now one of our family legends.

  • Reply
    Robin S
    June 21, 2019 at 9:40 am

    Made my day hearing all y’all speaking words I grew up hearing! Live too far from Appalachia now so I never tire of hearing “our language”. P.S. We also used “nary” for “not any”, I guess.

  • Reply
    June 21, 2019 at 9:26 am

    It’s been years since I heard arbor meeting. All the other words are used often, real often, around here. It would be a toss-up to decide if ary or nary is used more often by me. Anothern, apurpose and awful to sounds so right in your examples.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 21, 2019 at 9:16 am

    1. Or anuddin
    3. Leonard Lindsay’s church built a big brush arbor not too long ago just off I-40 at exit 113. It stayed there for a long time while they built a church building. Leonard originally came from Alarka over in Swain County. I know his family did.
    4. I am guilty of saying ary a lot. When I don’t say ary I say nary! But I don’t bleve I’ve said ary nary time today. Nor nary neither.
    5. Awful bad to can often produce good results. Awful good to never produces bad.

    I know apurpose but I always say on purpose. If I’m with high muckety-mucks I might say purposely or but I might jist hesh up and not say nothing atall!

  • Reply
    aw griff
    June 21, 2019 at 7:56 am

    Awful is the word I use the most and I think nary more than ary.
    There is a place close by that has a brush arbor service ever summer. It is up straight creek. Ever who named it straight creek had a sense of humor. It is the most crooked creek I ever seed. There has to be others but my late Uncle is the last person I heard say seed for saw.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    June 21, 2019 at 7:34 am

    Yesterday I said “well don’t that beat all to hell” and my neighbor asked me to repeat it. I didn’t think that was especially mountain but she thought it was.

  • Reply
    Sheryl A Paul
    June 21, 2019 at 7:20 am

    I have heard all but the arbor church. I still use most of TV he others with variations like nother and bad to

  • Reply
    Grandma Cate
    June 21, 2019 at 7:19 am

    All are words I use, ‘tho I have less use of brush arbor these days. I use “nary” instead of ary most times, & I get some good-natured teasing ‘bout using “awful” with “pretty” down here among these eastern VA flatlanders. Seems like the older I get, the more I sound like Mama!

    • Reply
      June 21, 2019 at 12:39 pm

      The older I get, the more I sound like my Mama. I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all.

  • Reply
    Sanford Mckinney, Jr.
    June 21, 2019 at 6:47 am

    “There was the biggest crowd you ever saw at the arbor meeting last night.”
    Many of the older people also pronounced saw as “seed”, as in “There was the biggest crowd you ever seed at the arbor meeting last night””

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      June 21, 2019 at 8:57 am

      Or “seen”. That’s the way I would say it now if I was just in ordinary conversation. “There was the biggest crowd you ever seen at the arbor meeting last night.”

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    June 21, 2019 at 6:24 am

    My Grandpa Byers had an exclamatory phrase, “I Ginney” or “I Ganney”…….instead of “my gosh” or something similar.

  • Leave a Reply