Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 89

Holding on to the Appalachian Language

It’s time for this month’s Appalachian Vocabulary Test. One of this month’s words is more of a phrase.

I’m sharing a few videos in this test to let you hear some of the words too. To start the videos, click on them and then to stop them click on them again.

Take it and see how you do!

A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

1. Cull: rejected. “She’s been courting him for a few weeks but after that shine he pitched at the dance I’d say she’ll cull him now.”

A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

2. Corruption: pus from a sore, a wound that is infected. “That cut has got corruption in it and you better get it out before your arm rots off. I told you, you should have went to the doctor.”

A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

3. Contrary: stubborn, ill, cantankerous. “If she don’t get enough sleep she’s so contrary you can’t stand to be in the same house with her.”

A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

4. Well as common: as usual or beyond usual. “When someone asked Pap how he was doing he would often say as well as common. I know his grandmother Carrie said it too because I read a letter she sent to my Aunt Hazel and she said the family was as well as common.”

5. Cloud burst: a sudden heavy rain. “There must have been a real cloud burst up on the mountain. You never saw the like of water that came down the creek a little while ago.”

All of this month’s words except the well as common saying are fairly common in my area of Appalachia, how about where you live?



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  • Reply
    Rev. Rose Marie "RB" Redmond
    June 9, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    I’ve heard them all except for “well as common” myself.
    Another word I’ve heard used for “cull” is “shed”. Have you ever heard someone say something like, “She got tired of that old goat’s habits and got herself shed of it.” (Like shedding hair I guess.)
    I pray everyone has a safe blessed weekend.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    June 9, 2016 at 10:36 pm

    I’ve heard them all, and I love the videos! But you gave us the answers this time.

  • Reply
    June 9, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    My power’s been off for a few hours, but I did manage to call the radio station and tell Donna Lynn some news. But before I could tell her anything she said, “you’re late!” Then I told her I didn’t have any power, was eating “cold pizza” and was sitting here partly in the dark. Anyway, I just hate these short, curly-cord phones.
    My daddy use to say “as well as common” and a few other things I won’t mention. All the other words I’ve heard…Ken

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    June 9, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    I don’t hear corruption used in that way very much now but my grandad used it often. Tolerable or tolable well and fair to middlin was very common too. The rest I still hear. I love the videos. It adds a whole new flavor to it when spoken in our “native tongue.”

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 9, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    1. When we raised chickens, we had to cull the flock. If there were too many roosters we had to cull some. If there were any that looked offbreed, they got culled. The animals were perfectly healthy but they didn’t fit in the flock so they got culled, therefore eaten.
    2. Corruption in a sore is synonymous with corruption in politics. Washington politics is a sore on our nation. I’d hoped we could pop some zits this year but so far it looks like the new crop is worse than the last.
    3. To me contrary means to be on the opposite side. I know people who will argue with anything and everything just to be arguing. No matter what what you say they disagree.
    4. I’ve heard “as well as common” but there is a plethora of words and phrases that say the same thing. I like to come up with new ones.
    “How you been doing?” “I’m just doin!”
    “You been doin’ OK?” “I was until today!”
    “How are you?” “The best you never had!”
    “How have you been?” “I think I died and nobody told me!”
    5. I use “cloudburst” but I like say “the bottom fell out” or “somebody kicked over the water bucket!”
    I wushed I had me a big red tractor!

  • Reply
    June 9, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Ann-so glad you like the videos! Click on them to start-and click on them again to stop them – that should work : )

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    June 9, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Never heard “as well as common,” but all the others are in my vocabulary. I love the little videos, but HOW DO YOU TURN THEM OFF??????????

  • Reply
    June 9, 2016 at 10:48 am

    Chitter and Chatter had a beautiful photo in the North GA News June 1 pg. 6D regarding the concert they performed at the Folk School. Wish I could have made that one 🙂

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    June 9, 2016 at 10:37 am

    I have heard all of these before.
    1. Cull–I have heard this growing up all the time, but I seldom hear it anymore.
    2. Corruption–I don’t believe I have ever heard this one.
    3. Contrary–I have heard this one and use it quite a bit. I can remember hearing my grandma telling me to stop being so contrary!
    4. Well as commons–I have heard this too. I can just hear my grandma right now when someone would ask her how she had been doing. She would say “’bout common, I reckon”. In some of the other comments people mentioned that they say “fair to middlin'” and I still use this one all of the time. Most of the people where I live now look at me a bit strangely, but that just makes me use it even more! :). My family would also say that they were doing “tolerable” or “tolerably well”.
    5. Cloudburst–I have heard this one quite a bit.

  • Reply
    Dee Parks
    June 9, 2016 at 10:18 am

    I only remember hearing the words contrary and cloud burst. I do remember when going to visit grandparents, my grandfather always saying he was tolerable if asked how he was feeling. I had never heard that word used like that in northern Illinois where I grew up. I also remember fair to middling if asked how they were feeling.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    June 9, 2016 at 10:13 am

    Usually heard “fair to middling” rather than “as well as common”.
    “Contrary as a Georgia mule” is one of my favorites although I don’t see why a Georgia mule is more contrary than one from anywhere else.
    My grandpa had two mules, Kate & Jack, that I can remember Daddy plowing with in the long bottom where cotton was planted. My uncle kept a mule named Roady for years just as a pasture ornament really. She was a fairly small mule. My baby brother got in the pasture on his bicycle and Roady took out after hlim. He was peddaling like mad and yelling “gee, Roady, haw Roady” hoping she would turn but it didn’t work. I never heard how he made his final escape.
    Haven’t heard “corruption” in that use for years but remembered it immediately. We had “corruption” in “rizins” and they would put a piece of fat back meat on it to draw out the corruption. I had one on my chin of all places and still have a little scar there. I think I was in second grade and at least they put a regular bandage on my chin to go to school. I got hit in the chin by the seesaw and of course it busted the “rizin”.
    Thanks for the memories, Tipper, even about the “rizin” episode.

  • Reply
    June 9, 2016 at 9:33 am

    I like “well as common”!
    Haven’t heard Corruption used that way, but it’s almost refreshing to see it in reference to something other than a politician. Three of the words I use frequently: Cloudburst, Contrary and Cull. But I only use Cull in the specific context of removing something from a breeding program. I was just saying to my hayman yesterday that I need to think hard about culling my cashmere herd – removing the animals that aren’t contributing, so I can try to breed better.

  • Reply
    June 9, 2016 at 9:13 am

    I don’t recall ever hearing corruption used like that. Well as common is not phrase that was used where I grew up. My cousin had back surgery a few years ago and put her husband in charge of answering the phone calls of all well-wishers. He told them all that she was doing tobble good. They all knew what he meant.

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    June 9, 2016 at 9:10 am

    I’ve heard cloud burst and contrary.
    Mary, Mary quite CONTRARY has does your garden grow
    With silver bells and cockle shells and pretty maids in a row

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    June 9, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Tipper—I reckon I did passin’ fair on today’s test. Three of the five I use regularly and the other two I’m familiar with but don’t use in my personal written or verbal expression. Here’s some alternative thoughts, meanings, and synonyms.
    1. Cull—Used as both a verb and a noun. For example, as a verb: “Today I culled out two chickens that weren’t laying. We’ll have them when family comes on Sunday.” As a noun: “That chicken we are eating today was a non-laying cull.
    3. Corruption—This is one of the two I don’t personally use, and to me it is the rarest of the bunch.
    3. Contrary—Almost always used to describe an obstinate or obdurate person or animal, and sometimes as part of an analogy. “He’s contrary as that old plow mule.”
    4. Well as common—Grandpa and my Uncle Hall had a synonymous phrase, often used. When you asked them how they were doing they would reply: “So as to be about” or “so as to be out and about.” Another variant, and one I really like, is answering a polite “How are you?” with “Oh, I’m on the right side of dirt.”
    5. Cloud burst—This one and cull are the two I hear most frequently. Two synonyms I like better are “It fell a flood” and “We had a young Noah.”

  • Reply
    anita griffith
    June 9, 2016 at 8:40 am

    I still hear all of these,but corruption not as much as when I was growing up and was always hurting myself.Well as common,I still use that one.My uncle uses it or says he’s tobble.Tobble for tolerable.Cloud burst is very common,but a friend of mine always says it came a tarpin (terrapin) floater.
    E.KY. LG

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    June 9, 2016 at 8:36 am

    It’s been a long time since I heard “corruption” used the way you define it here…I think the last time was when she saw a red scratch on my leg…and swore it was corrupted! ha
    All the others I hear pretty much on a regular basis except “well as common”! I’m like you I love the phrase!
    Have you also heard…Well, I’m “gettin’ along” alright! or “Same as ever, I reckon”
    I love to pull this ‘shocker’ to someone on occasion. When I know they aren’t really serious about knowing how I’m doing, they are just asking as a courtesy, for instance a grocery store clerk or greeter at Wally World!
    I say as a matter of fact….”Well now, “I’m finer n’ frog hair and gooder n’ snuff”! That phrase usually wakes them from a “drone job” with a “what” and a smile!
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS….Sorry, I had to stop fer a second the cucumber and bean vines are a’growin’ thru front screen door!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 9, 2016 at 8:24 am

    Three of five I’m sure of, ‘corruption’ not sure but I may have heard as a boy. Don’t think I ever heard, or if so very rarely, the ‘well as common’ We said ‘fair to middling’ or ‘tolerable’ mostly. I like ‘contrary’. It even sounds, well, contrary.

  • Reply
    Rosamary Christiansen
    June 9, 2016 at 8:02 am

    Once agaim, your vocabulary test tickled my ribs. My dad had an expession: So contrary if you threw her in the river, she’d float upstream. I use that one alot.
    Thank you for reminding me of the expressions and pronunciations.
    Rosamary Quite Contrary

  • Reply
    Lisa Snuggs
    June 9, 2016 at 7:57 am

    Love these expressions, and the videos add so much to this post. Great job!

  • Reply
    June 9, 2016 at 7:27 am

    Cull: =usually talking about culling the produce in the field or at the packing shed, is my first acquaintance with the word. Later heard it refering to team selection after potential team members had been working out for a time – those not selected for the team were said to have been “culled”.
    Contrary (as well as “cantankerous”) and cloud burst and also very familiar to this Texas gal.
    Using “corruption” in this way as well is new to me. I’m familiar with the term in reference to politics mostly but my geeky husband and sons frequently use the word in reference to bad computer code: “There must be a corruption in the code or this would be working.:”
    “Good as ever” or ” ’bout the same” are the phrases I hear used as the phrase “well as common” would be.
    P.S. – hearing the voice inflections and the rhythm of the speech is a big plus to the Monthly Vocabulary Test; but you must put a mountain of time into this project! How do you get it all done?! Does anyone know of other regional blogs devoted to the culture of the place?

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    June 9, 2016 at 7:20 am

    I always enjoy the Appalachian Vocabulary test. I’m usually familiar with all the words Tipper lists and gives and defines for us. Occasionally she will throw in one I haven’t heard–but most of the time I’d say she and I have heard (and use) the same mountain language. I like it, for, as we say, “I was brought up using those words.” Thanks for reminding us of our rich oral history!

  • Reply
    June 9, 2016 at 7:14 am

    I have heard all but #4.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 9, 2016 at 7:13 am

    Tip, I’ve heard all of these expressions, in fact most of them I never considered as Appalachian or mountain language, they just seemed like every day talk to me.
    Growing up my mother would occasionally accuse me of murdering the kings English. LOL!

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