Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 155

Sunset behind Granny's house

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. Write a good hand: to have good handwriting. “I was always envious of people who could write a good hand. My writing has always looked like chicken scratch.”

2. Worriment: trouble, worry. I’m so glad that whole mess has worked itself out. It’s sure been a worriement for Granny since last fall.

3. Woods loafer: a person who lived in the woods and survived by hunting, fishing, and gathering but was thought to lack industry by the rest of society (Brown). “The Deer Hunter and I finally have a name for our dream life: we want to become woods loafers.”

4. Yeller/Yella: yellow. “I seen the first yella peeking through the woods last week. The sunshine and warmer temperatures have the daffodils blooming throughout Brasstown.”

5. Yellow root: plant medicinal remedies for mouth and throat are made from. “There’s a big patch of yella root down behind Paul’s house by the creek.”

Hope you’ll leave a comment and let me know how you did on this month’s test. Although I’m familiar with worriment not many folks are using that one today. I’ve never heard of woods loafer nor even noticed it in the dictionary until writing up this test, but boy I like it 🙂

Last night’s video: How To Easily Force Blooms & Folk Dancing in Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    February 25, 2022 at 11:43 pm

    I learn something new every time you do these vocabulary video blogs. I can’t say I’ve used any of these from today’s blog.

  • Reply
    February 25, 2022 at 7:04 pm

    Never heard woods loafer but I was one up to about age 16.

    I’ve heard ‘yaller’ (with a short ‘a’ like the one in ‘callow’) a lot. It’s used by the docents at the Oconaluftee Village reenactment center. I’ve also heard it used by many in the East Tennessee and Western NC mountains, especially in rural areas.

    As for writing a good hand, my mother and father were both taught the Palmer Method and had beautiful handwriting. I worry about your twins because I remember Chatter saying in a video that they weren’t taught cursive in school. I think that’s criminal, but I’m old and my daughter is past the point (and learned cursive and writes a good hand).

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    February 25, 2022 at 4:14 pm

    If my preference to loafer amongst the flora and fauna, over many of my own species, makes me a “Woods Loafer” then I would proudly wear that title.

  • Reply
    judy barrett
    February 25, 2022 at 2:39 pm

    Woods loafer is a new one for me. I have heard the other two from my parents and aunts. I live in Florida, and I have heard some of the older native speakers use turn where most of us would use let. They say turn my hand go, or turn that dog go. I know this is not Appalachian, but Tipper I believe you love these old bits of language as much as I do.

    • Reply
      Sandra Henderson
      February 28, 2022 at 10:44 am

      Thanks for reminding me of the term, turn.
      “Turn it loose before it pulls you down.”
      “Turn your brother loose! He’s sqealing and wants to go play”

  • Reply
    February 25, 2022 at 11:53 am

    So many Appalachian words/ phrases seem to be Southeastern region. Had not heard Worriment (worrisome, yes) or Woods Loafer – tho i think i have known a few of the latter.

    • Reply
      Kim Smith
      February 25, 2022 at 5:20 pm

      Tipper, I have been wondering if y’all say “yourn” for “your”. When I was growing up we said things like, “That ‘uns not mine, it’s yourn,” or “Bring yourn blanket here and I’ll mend it.”

      • Reply
        February 25, 2022 at 6:42 pm

        Kim- yourn is very common here 🙂

        • Reply
          Ed Ammons
          February 25, 2022 at 7:45 pm

          Your is pronounced like yore. Yourn would be pronounced yoren. long o. I can make the symbol.

      • Reply
        sandra henderson
        February 28, 2022 at 10:46 am

        When I lived in bryson city, it was youins. Pronounced, YOU-Ins. Very common there.
        Youins come back and see us…

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    February 25, 2022 at 11:26 am

    Worriment and woods loafer are alien to me. Yellow was always pronounced yeller or yaller. We argued over which was correct. We never reached an agreement. So now it’s yella or yalla. Nobody over 20 I know says yellow.
    I used to be called to the front of the class to write on the blackboard for the rest of the room to read because I had such a good “hand write.” My classmates didn’t like me for it. My cursive has degraded drastically over the years so that it is everything I can do to sign a check properly.

  • Reply
    February 25, 2022 at 11:23 am

    Oh yes, being a beach bum has never appealed to me, so now I know I can become a woods loafer. I have never heard it, but it could be a great way of life if I had not been raised to hear about boogers and panters lurking in the darkness. That would cause some worriment. We never used yaller, so yalla root is more common here. Mom was proud of her yalla root. I do believe my family and myself still always say yalla for anything that is my favorite color. The “movin’ pictures” must have access to your wonderful dictionary, Tipper, because some words in your test I have only heard in movies. The treasures are when I hear a word or phrase that draws back a time and a person of long ago who used the word all the time, Sometimes, I have mistakenly thought the word or phrase seemed to have died with them. It is such a pleasant surprise to see that old almost forgotten word used on your blog. I still remember how Grampa called my Grandma Idy instead of Ida. I never hear that anymore. I also never hear hit for it as in “Hit was a good thang to write a good hand.” Keep on keeping on, and encouraging the deeper thinking and understanding of our heritage.

    • Reply
      Kim Smith
      February 25, 2022 at 5:23 pm

      Don’t y’all say “painters” for “panthers”? We still do, and we saw one about a month ago crossing a field to get to the Kinchafoonee creek.

      • Reply
        February 25, 2022 at 6:41 pm

        Kim- I’ve heard painter for panther all my life 🙂

  • Reply
    Ron Bass
    February 25, 2022 at 11:07 am

    Use worriment and yeller. Never heard woods loafer but I like it.

  • Reply
    February 25, 2022 at 11:05 am

    I’ve heard and uses yella for yellow. I’m unfamiliar witht the others, but they make sense.

  • Reply
    February 25, 2022 at 10:34 am

    Don’t remember any of them except Yeller and when ever I was down South at my Grandparents I always saw a Yeller Root laying on the kitchen counter. I always loved the woods and traipsing after my Daddy a hunting, but I much prefer the word Survivor rather than woods loafer and have used the word Survivor in the past and present talking about my Parents and those who came before me. I have a lot of that Scotch/Irish in me I call gumption but no where near the knowledge of surviving in the woods. I sure can enjoy the traipsing in the woods.

  • Reply
    February 25, 2022 at 9:39 am

    I’ve never heard write a good hand. Mom and dad always said so and so were good scribes. They were both good scribes, but it never passed down to their children.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    February 25, 2022 at 8:09 am

    3 of 4. Do not recall hearing or using either worriment nor woods
    loafer but expect I would have understood them if I had. I have, however, used “mystification” for a mysterious mystery.

    At one time, powdered yellow root was sold at drug stores as a treatment for ulcers. But that was before the finding they were caused by bacteria.

  • Reply
    February 25, 2022 at 7:58 am

    I failed today, yeller was the only one in my vocabulary.

  • Reply
    Bill prather
    February 25, 2022 at 7:16 am

    I have heard and used the term worrisom all my life but not worriment. Oh well live and learn

    • Reply
      Sheryl Paul
      February 25, 2022 at 8:24 am

      Wood loafer is new to me. Yella is how I pronounce yellow not yeller but have heard it all my life

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Jones
    February 25, 2022 at 7:04 am

    I enjoy learning all the new to me/old words and phrases! And I can’t wait till I can dig me some yella root!

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney
    February 25, 2022 at 7:01 am

    Four: Yeller, yella and Five: yellow root are the only ones I can remember hearing. I believe the Two: worriment was akin to worrisome that was used and still is used around Northeast TN.

  • Reply
    Connie Hough
    February 25, 2022 at 6:53 am

    I never heard of woods loafer before. That’s a new one for me. I really enjoy your vocabulary tests.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 25, 2022 at 6:05 am

    Never been able to write a good hand. One teacher in school asked me if I was writing Chinese. I’ve never heard of a woods loafer but as a kid, I was one!

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