Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 157

dandelion blooms

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. Afeared: afraid. “I’m afeared that mater seed was no account cause not a one of ’em have come up.”

2. Agg: to provoke; goad. “If they hadn’t been down there agging him on he wouldn’t have never tried that trick and ended up in the hospital.”

3. Airish: brisk cool weather. “It got right airish this week. I reckon it ain’t summer just yet.”

4. Allow: to think, suppose, believe. “I allow this is going to be a good gardening year. Well at least I’m a hoping it is.”

5. A-mind: to have in mind. “I’m a-mind to start cutting trees out back and see if I can’t get me some new ground to extend my garden.”

All of this month’s words are common in my area of Appalachia. Hope you’ll leave a comment and let me know how you did on the test.

Last night’s video: Growing Food in Appalachia – Garden Chores and Seed Starting.


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  • Reply
    Gloria Hayes
    April 29, 2022 at 4:02 pm

    I really enjoyed hearing these words and phrases because I hear them and use a lot of them myself!! Even though I live in town, I was raised in the country and proud of it!!

  • Reply
    Cheryl Miller Brown
    April 29, 2022 at 2:40 pm

    I was familiar with all the sayings except “allowed.” It is interesting that so many of the Appalachian sayings are the same as here in Mississippi. Such wonderful colorful sayings-No wonder there are so many great writers from Appalachia & the Southern states. I love Lee Smith’s books & have communicated with her several times on the Southern Novel I have now completed. She had great advice. Now I must try to get mine published with the good advice she gave me. I have also read Wayne Caldwell’a books & met him. He had great advice for me as well. I befriended his relative in Maggie Valley, NC many years back. Her name was Hattie Caldwell Davis & she wrote several books about Cataloochee Valley where she was born & raised until 6 yrs old until the government ran everyone out of the valley. Her house was the nice White House with blue trimmings. Unfortunately my dear friend passed away. Tipper or subscribers, have y’all ever heard of Raymond Fairchild (I think his last name was Fairchild). He played the banjo & had a little place in Maggie Valley where he & others performed. He has also passed away. I would go to his shows during my once or twice a year visits to Maggie Valley.
    One word my family always used was “curious” and the word meant strange. My dad would say you can’t date that guy because he is curious.

    • Reply
      April 29, 2022 at 6:24 pm

      Cheryl-Matt’s uncle Mike used to play with Raymond in Maggie Valley 🙂 I’ve never heard curious used like that-thank you for sharing his usage!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    April 29, 2022 at 10:58 am

    I knowed ’em all. Ever one of ’em.
    The way that youngin pernownced agg is the way my Daddy sed egg.

    • Reply
      April 29, 2022 at 12:09 pm

      Ed, Pap said it like that too 🙂

  • Reply
    wanda devers
    April 29, 2022 at 10:49 am

    Usually heard “of a great mind”. Heard “aggin it on ” a lot. My mother used a lot of these words and phrases but was a West Tennessean.

  • Reply
    Sharon Cole
    April 29, 2022 at 10:14 am

    Really enjoyed these words. I didn’t learn these words growing up in the Capital City of NC – but I love them. These words truly describe what you are saying. I say airish around our grown boys just to hear them say – “Mom, you are a city girl!”. I may have not grown up in the wonderful mountains of NC – but I know I have a kindred spirit with you, Tipper. You have taught me so much. I wish we were neighbors! Take care and God bless ❤️

  • Reply
    Sara D Griggs
    April 29, 2022 at 8:52 am

    Love this!

  • Reply
    April 29, 2022 at 8:49 am

    I grew up using and hearing those words and still say them but don’t hear them much from other folks nowadays. If you replaced these words with something else, you were accused of talking proper. The word proper had an Appalachian meaning to us as well. If a person was talking proper, they were known as having the big head or getting above their raising.

    • Reply
      April 29, 2022 at 7:03 pm

      I’ve always heard it pronounced “egged.”

      “He egged him on.”

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    April 29, 2022 at 8:20 am

    All these are common to me and part of my speaking vocabulary. I’ve almost always heard “agg” or “agging” used with “hiss” and “hissing.” For example: “That sorry bunch of boys were agging and a hissing one another on the playground just a-trying to get a ruckus started. “

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    April 29, 2022 at 8:15 am

    Well, I recognize’em all and would have no trouble understanding what folks meant saying afeared, agg, airish, allow or a-mind. I have not heard any of them in a good while though.

    In my mind, I would expect some of them to be “embroidered” a bit in use with some extra flourishes. So afeared would be “greatly afeared” or “somewhat afeared”. ‘Agg’ would be something like, “He’s all the time agging them boys into meanness.” And airish might well be “downright” or “plumb”. I would just have to embroider a bit and say “allow as how” and “of a great mind to”. That personal embroidery is part of what makes how we talk colorful. There is room for lots of individual variation, up to and including inventions of our own. Coining a memorable turn of speech is just a fun thing to do.

  • Reply
    April 29, 2022 at 8:08 am

    i’ve always heard it as “egged”. dad eggs her on…

  • Reply
    Martha Justice
    April 29, 2022 at 8:02 am

    Keep them words acting ❤

  • Reply
    April 29, 2022 at 7:54 am

    It always fun to hear some words I remember my kin folks used.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    April 29, 2022 at 7:53 am

    Well, yes, but with a few minor differences. I have always heard and used “egged on” rather than “agged.” And
    always said and heard “of a mind” rather than just “a-mind.” And always heard and said, “allow as how” rather than
    just “allow” — I allow as how these little variations just wiggled their way into the language.

    • Reply
      Jim Taylor
      May 2, 2022 at 10:12 am

      That’s how I use them too! I reckon I’m just Tennessee country.
      I just came back from a week on the beach in Saint Croix and we couldn’t understand each other. I had to try speaking the Queen’s English and that is hard to do.

  • Reply
    Glenda G. Page
    April 29, 2022 at 7:43 am

    Goodness…so glad I am not the only one that still uses these phrases, I thought it cause I’m about over the hill. Loved watching you two getting your garden ready and know that I too plant the same way you do. I have been using a little bit larger grow bags but I’ma thinkin’ I am gonna get me some of them thar small ones to try. Please don’t ever change your ways nor your language, it makes me smile and brings up some wonderful memories. God Bless and keep on planting.

  • Reply
    April 29, 2022 at 7:43 am

    I was familiar with those words only because I watch your blog (or is it a vlog?), Celebrating Appalachia, Tipper. Thank you for always expanding my knowledge.

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    April 29, 2022 at 7:37 am

    My Granddad Nick Byers always said “afeared”. And he always felt “tollible”.

  • Reply
    April 29, 2022 at 7:36 am

    Hi, Tipper. I’ve heard all of these, but in my family only ‘airish’ and ‘agged’ were common. In fact, I’m really glad to see ‘agged” here, because I’ve never heard anyone other than my mother say that.

  • Reply
    April 29, 2022 at 7:31 am

    I grew up with all these words and many more. I’ve noticed that the more tv sets came into the mountains, the more the language became like Walter Cronkite’s broadcasts. People wanted to talk like the folks on tv. It’s a shame really but there it is.

  • Reply
    Sheryl O Paul
    April 29, 2022 at 7:04 am

    All these wirds are so familiar and well used. Feels like home

  • Reply
    April 29, 2022 at 6:53 am

    I am new to reading your blog Tipper. After spending a couple of days in your area with my niece Donna, she made me aware of you and your family. We enjoyed our time in Brasstown and visited a few antique/treasure stores as well as Julie’s and Chevelle. Good food and very friendly folks.

    • Reply
      May 2, 2022 at 6:56 pm

      Judi-welcome and thank you for reading! We are crazy about Donna and Michael. I’m glad you all got to come for a visit and had a good time 🙂

  • Reply
    April 29, 2022 at 6:37 am

    I don’t believe I hear allow and afeared much anymore although I use afeared in gist. Agg,airish, and a-mind, I use and hear. I was just thinking how I’ve seen boys agged into a fight and dogs sigged into fighting. Seems almost like the same thing,

  • Reply
    Larry Paul Eddings
    April 29, 2022 at 6:14 am

    I love all of those Appalachian words and phrases. I hear and use them in everyday speech.

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