Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 149

Black Walnuts

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.

1. Sang digger: a person who searches out and collects wild ginseng for sale. “There’s not as many sang diggers as their used to be, but you still hear of a few folks that get out and hunt it to supplement their income or to enjoy being out in the woods.”

2. Saucer: to pour hot beverage into a saucer to let it cool before drinking. “I wish I could go back and sit at Granny Gazzie’s Sunday dinner table one more time with Aunt Pearl and all the other family and watch her saucer her tea.”

3. Saw brier: a brier. “Saw briers are tough! Over my life I’ve heard of several local men with the nickname of saw brier.”

4. Scatteration: a dispersion; state of being scattered. “I can’t think straight when my house gets to be a scatteration. No matter how busy I am it does me good to get things back in order at least once a week.”

5. Section: a district or locality. “Another term that’s similar to section is settlement. Pap used settlement to describe different areas of the county. For example he might say “He lives down in the settlement of Hanging Dog.” I’ve noticed the articles that were written by Harvey Miller (Tri-County News located in Spruce Pine, North Carolina) often contain the word section in relation to the story he is telling.

Hope you’ll leave a comment and let me know how you did on this month’s test. Not many folks still using saucer in this area, but the rest are fairly common.


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  • Reply
    December 31, 2021 at 11:51 pm

    Very familiar with saw briers. They draw big drops of blood.

    I’ve seen “Grandpa” on the Waltons ‘saucer’ his coffee. He was a registered Communist.

  • Reply
    Marty Parker
    July 8, 2021 at 10:43 pm

    I live in eastern NC and I’ve heard a lot of the same sayings down here in the flat lands keep the southern dialects strong thanks for sharing

  • Reply
    aw griff
    June 28, 2021 at 8:46 am

    I know I’m really late but I’ve been so busy I hardly have time to breathe, but I had to give another definition of sang digger I’ve heard. Sang digger is used to describe someone with a very huge nose.

  • Reply
    June 27, 2021 at 9:15 am

    My paternal grandfather ‘saucered’ his coffee. When a fresh bottle of milk was in the house he was always the first person to use it. He’d pull up the pasteboard cap and dip out some of the cream that had risen to the top for his cup of coffee, stir it in and pour out a saucer full of creamed coffee for the first sip. He had to be careful to keep the base of the cup more or less centered over the saucer because the coffee would follow the contour of the cup and if the bottom extended over the rim of the saucer he would have made a mess on the table. Grandma didn’t like messes on the kitchen table. And yes, the unhomogenized milk from Norris Creamery used to come in bottles with pasteboard stoppers.

  • Reply
    Don Wright
    June 27, 2021 at 12:50 am

    My late Grandmother grew up in the Dalton, Ga area and always “saucered” her coffee. That’s where I first saw it and asked my Aunt (her daughter) why she did that. Just this past week I asked my Aunt (91 yrs young) if she remembered Grandmother doing that. She laughed and said ‘of course’.
    I didn’t grow up in the mountains but have traveled/vacationed there many times from Athens & Atlanta.
    Those GA, NC & TENN mountains claimed my heart many years ago and I have loved them and the great
    people I’ve met there for a long time. Tipper, you’re a treasure.

  • Reply
    Ron Bass
    June 26, 2021 at 11:22 am

    Use all but sang digger, we don’t have ginseng here in flat country.
    Love your vocabulary test.

  • Reply
    Tommie Lyn
    June 26, 2021 at 12:47 am

    Sometimes Daddy would say, “It’s been saucered and blowed,” meaning something is ready to use. I’ve never saucered coffee myself, as I like it hot 🙂

  • Reply
    Brad Byers
    June 25, 2021 at 6:17 pm

    Miss Tipper and Family,
    I so enjoy these posts on Blind Pig and the Acorn. I tell my 86 year old mother about each new installment. She was born and raised in a coal mining “town” in Walker Co. Alabama in 1935, and when the local coal mine was closed they went from residents to trespassers overnight. Grandpa and his brother caught a bus heading north to find works. That’s how they came to Veedersburg, Indiana, my home town.

    • Reply
      June 25, 2021 at 6:45 pm

      Brad-so glad you and your mother enjoy what we do!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 25, 2021 at 3:28 pm

    Speaking of Spruce Pine, do you know what a spruce pine is?

    • Reply
      June 25, 2021 at 6:45 pm

      Ed-please tell us what one is 🙂

      • Reply
        Ed Ammons
        June 25, 2021 at 8:55 pm

        Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis). We called it hemlock but others in the community called it spruce pine. A few called it hempine. I’m sure you have hemlock over there in Wilson Holler. Ask Matt. He may know it as spruce pine too.

  • Reply
    June 25, 2021 at 3:26 pm

    I haven’t heard any of these expressions. I totally flunked the quiz!

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    June 25, 2021 at 10:45 am

    Well, I flunked today–only one I’ve heard is “saw brier”.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    June 25, 2021 at 10:02 am

    Saucer and blow, yes. All the others, no.

  • Reply
    Freida Pearce
    June 25, 2021 at 9:17 am

    Grandsir….this is what we always called my paternal grandfather. His name was J.O. Griswold. People who knew him in the community called him Uncle Bud, I have no idea why. He was a character, lived 5 months shy of being 100.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 25, 2021 at 9:08 am

    I heard it as “saucer and blow”. When the coffee was too hot you would pour a little in your saucer and blow it to cool it off. I even tried it myself a time or two but it didn’t work too good. I always managed to get more in my lap than my mouth. Pouring hot coffee in your lap is an experience. It’s right up there next to drinking hot coffee through a straw on the list of fun things to do to yourself.

  • Reply
    June 25, 2021 at 8:52 am

    Scatteration is the only word I don’t recall ever hearing. Daddy used to saucer his boiling hot coffee. I have seen him pour it from one cup to another to cool it.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 25, 2021 at 8:49 am

    4 of 5, never heard “scatteration” but I’ve made more than a few. That one about “section” and “settlement” intrigues me. I suspect each are holdovers from the earliest days when folks usually didn’t travel far out of their area and settlement was in pockets on the best farm land. Cades Cove and Cataloochee would be examples of settlements.

    Especially in the earliest days of a county, it often was much larger than it ultimately became and could include very un-alike country, lending itself to having distinct sections. It also seems (to me anyway) that streams were named among the very first features and watersheds made a handy ‘section’, partly because they had definite boundaries.

  • Reply
    Vann Helms
    June 25, 2021 at 8:44 am

    My Grandpa Helms always “saucered” his coffee. His cup was oversized to begin with, and his saucer was even larger. Sears Roebuck sold matching sets of these large cups and saucers, and it seemed he always got a new one every Christmas. Grandma didn’t saucer her coffee. They never drank hot tea, only coffee, which she needed to make her Redeye Gravy for breakfast. I remember Grandpa having a touch of the Shacks, and he could make a real mess with that saucer.

  • Reply
    Patricia Price
    June 25, 2021 at 8:29 am

    My dad used to describe somebody who was “snurling up their face” as looking like “a horse eating sawbriers.” My uncles saucered their coffee. Instead of section or settlement, we’d say community, like “They live over in the Elkmont community.”

  • Reply
    Sandra Harrison
    June 25, 2021 at 8:03 am

    I love these vocabulary posts! I also love it when you interview the older folks in your community. They have such a refreshing and interesting perspective on life and living!

    • Reply
      Kevin Knight
      June 26, 2021 at 6:52 pm

      Hi Sandra, my name is Kevin and I understand exactly what you mean. The older folks that I grew up with would explain things in such a practical and logical way that it made me feel secure being around those people. I meet very few people today that have that gift. I so miss the lost art of conversation. Thanks for the comment !

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    June 25, 2021 at 7:50 am

    Tipper–All are familiar, but two in slightly different form. I’ve more commonly heard “sanger” or someone doing “some sangin'” as opposed to sang digger. Likewise, Grandpa Joe didn’t saucer his coffee, he “sassered” it.

    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney
    June 25, 2021 at 7:13 am

    Your post today reminded me of a word I haven’t heard in years. Wretched: past tense of reach. I wretched my brother the bee smoker when he needed it.
    Dad wretched up in the tree and pulled me a big red apple.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 25, 2021 at 7:04 am

    Scatteration, I don’t ever remember hearing that word but I love it! That’s exactly the way my house is! Wonderful descriptive word!

  • Reply
    Julie Hughes Moreno
    June 25, 2021 at 6:45 am

    Only saucer today! They all make sense but I have never heard them used.

  • Reply
    Sheryl A Paul
    June 25, 2021 at 6:43 am

    Never heard scatteration, but love yhe image

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