Appalachian Dialect

Life with my Appalachian Accent

Tipper with an accent

In the video I’m sharing today, I jump into one of my all time favorite subjects: Appalachian language.

I’ve been fascinated with the way people talk since I was a little girl. If you’re a regular reader of the Blind Pig and The Acorn you’ve already figured that fact out. Its a subject I love to talk about!

I hope you enjoyed the video! If you did, please share it with your friends and neighbors. And if you haven’t subscribed to my Youtube channel yet, please do 🙂


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  • Reply
    Brenda Moore
    September 6, 2020 at 1:07 pm

    I’m a little behind as well but wanted to be sure to catch up to this video. I love listening to the different accents people have and the different “colloquialisms” used in different regions of the United States. A lot goes back to those people who first settled that area. Appalachia had a lot Irish settlers. My grandfather’s background has a lot of Irish in it they settled in Casey County Kentucky. I’ve listened to these accents all my life and I’ve loved them all my life. I was born and raised in Cincinnati Ohio but I kind of gravitate to those Appalachian ways. Whenever I go down that way to visit Kentucky cousins I always feel so much at home. Keep up the videos; I love listening to them.

  • Reply
    Allison B
    September 5, 2020 at 11:44 am

    I’m a couple days behind, but I really enjoyed watching your video, this morning. Accents are very interesting, amusing lots of times. Back in my 20s when working at a public job I was familiar with a couple who had lived in NC (the South) for years, but were from Switzerland originally. The lady said when talking to friends back in Switzerland she had been told that they could distinguish her Southern accent mixed into the Swiss, as opposed to a Northern accent. Even when I moved to Raleigh, NC (about 27 yrs ago) from W Jefferson, Ashe County, NC , for a long time, I was asked if I was from Georgia, Kentucky, or where. Just a while back, at work I had a phone call from a business ‘down East, NC’… when I started talking to the man he got real quiet, then said you must be from the mountains or Western NC. As he talked I found out that he related that area with matter-of-fact honesty.
    I noticed the nicely framed drawing of your Pap in the background, too.

  • Reply
    September 5, 2020 at 8:50 am

    Can I scrooch my two little boys? Is that the right way to use the word? Thank you for the video. I love listening to you talk about Appalachia.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    September 4, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    Love to hear the accents too!

  • Reply
    Linda Hancock
    September 3, 2020 at 12:41 am

    Tipper, I so enjoy listening to you talk –about anything– but especially language. In fact, I love listening to all accents, local or foreign. Pure music. The first time I remember recognizing an accent was eons ago, when my family from northern CA visited cousins in the midwest. My little cousin got on the phone to brag to her neighbor about her visitors all the way from CA –a big deal in those days before air travel was common. She said, “If you don’t believe me, you just come over here and listen to her accent!” (With the accent on “accent.”) What surprise to me, because I thought my cousin was the one that talked funny –not me. Very soon my teachers throughout my school years began working to bring all students in to the same monotonous, boring, “correct” accent. Yes, accent. Gone is any vestige of a lyrical, flowing, delightful way of speaking. My folks brought with them from the midwest many colorful words and sayings, but in my misguided attempt to sound “modern and edicated,” I lost it all. Now I treasure it when it is brought to memory. And I love hearing about the Appalachian sense of community and belonging, another value so lost in today’s mobile world. Don’t we all long to belong? Thank you again, Tipper, for all the work you put into your blog and video and sharing it all with us. And thank you to the blog reader community. I enjoy the stories and the give and take of ideas and memories. Blessing on you all.

  • Reply
    Carol Roy
    September 2, 2020 at 7:39 pm

    Hi Tipper….this was a truly wonderful video…..and I like the Finland Lady absolutely adore your accent…you are sure real and true in all that you say and do. Fantastic videos…love them all! <3

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    September 2, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    I worked for ESCOD INDUSTRIES for about 14 years, most of the Office Folks were from Rochester, N.Y., and My Accent got me in there in the first place. Bob Planchack, the Plant Manager, liked my accent and He Really had One, but we hit it off pretty good. He introduced me to an Engineer, Ron Girodano, from Alabama, on the way into the Plant where all the work was actually done. They worked over 200 Folks, most were from nearby Taylorsville, N.C.

    Gordon Clark had shown me a short-cut, the other side of Hickory on Exit 131, off of Interstate 40 that brought me in sight of the ESCOD plant and I appreciated that.

    Nothing stays the same, except the Deep Dark Hollars of Appalachia, and pretty soon they went overseas, like everything else. …Ken

  • Reply
    Rosamary Christiansen
    September 2, 2020 at 9:52 am

    Tipper, I just love’d hearing your melodious voice and accent in this blog. I find accents fascinating, and a strong one like yours is a real attention grabber! My folks were both from West Virginia, and whenever I hear my halfbrother’s accent, it is like hearing my father’s voice. I’ve had people ask me about my accent and it always surprised and delighted me. Thank you for these video blogs!

  • Reply
    Jerry Wright
    September 2, 2020 at 9:47 am

    I was born in Ohio and grew up in Southern Indiana. For a short time I lived in the Chicago area and now I live in Texas. I have listened to many different accents over the years. I enjoy listening to your accent. Thank you for the videos.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    September 2, 2020 at 9:34 am

    I enjoyed your video today, Tipper. I grew up, not in the mountains, but in the East Tennessee River Valley, so I grew up with a blend of Appalachian and other accents, thanks to living near Oak Ridge, TN, which didn’t exist until 1943. I live in Brevard, NC now, and we are also a mix of Appalachian and other accents, because of a large retirement population. I have friends that have trouble understanding the Appalachian accent. I remind them that they have to remember that in these parts, THEY are the ones with the accent!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 2, 2020 at 9:30 am

    Tipper, I love this video highlighting our interesting language. I got “grab and growl” from my mothers family. They always said it at meal time. My family roots are here in Western North Carolina, but most folks can’t pinpoint my accent because I lived in several different states as I was growing up. People always know my language is southern but so many different parts of the south that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where. I was even in Texas for several years.
    Thank you for preserving our rich heritage!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 2, 2020 at 9:29 am

    I say sworped but briar I pronounce /b’rar/. Rhymes with car. Ken Roper lives over there close to Brartown.
    Bet you’ve never been sworped across the face by a cows tail with a b’rar or a cuckleburr in it.

    • Reply
      Ken Roper
      September 2, 2020 at 4:54 pm

      I am closer to Beechertown, it’s on the way to the Powerhouse. …Ken

  • Reply
    jackie flood
    September 2, 2020 at 9:27 am

    i love listening to your stories! love the blogs too–I’m from NJ originally- been in boone 17 years- love the Appalachian culture- Thank you

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    September 2, 2020 at 9:00 am

    You are a rooted and grounded woman Tipper. And that is a very good thing to be, both for you and yours.

    I know what you mean about feeling at home to hear a voice from home. It is just restful and soothing. I don’t understand the idea behind looking down on someone because of their accent. I confess that northern accents sound kinda hard and clipped to me being as how we let our words lean on one another. But, as we say, I wouldn’t hold it against them.

    Your all’s encounter on the boat may have started out poorly but you ended up having what I always hope for when I’m traveling. And that is to just connect with locals, just a real human connection.

    And to me, Tipper, you just sound normal.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    September 2, 2020 at 8:57 am

    I grew up in Bryson City, Swain County, about 60 miles east of Tipper. In my professional life, I worked in 42 of the 50 states and in several countries on four continents. In many of those locations, I not only did engineering work (mostly in large industrial plants), I taught classes on my specialty, so had plenty of opportunities to both listen to others (sometimes through translators) and to be listened to.

    I probably don’t retain quite as much of my mountain accent as Tipper does, but I bet you that if I didn’t know her (which, thankfully, I do) and ran into her, she’d know I was from her neck of the woods. So with my accent on full display, as you can imagine, I’ve had some interesting experiences. Here are a couple.

    In the 1990s, I taught a full day class to a bunch of water plant folks – engineers, operators, mechanics, electricians – in upper New York state, near Niagara Falls. The class was one that I put together for the US Dept. of Energy while working at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. It was a good day, though there were 50 or so of us in a room which would’ve been full with 30. We had some good questions and discussion of practical experiences, which always makes for a better class. One of the subjects that was touched on is a technical term used in hydraulic systems – “head” – which comes in several forms, but fundamentally is energy per unit of weight. It is a key element to grasping the nature of both statics and dynamics of fluids.

    At the end of the day, the host closed things out by saying something along this line: “Don, thank you for this – it was enjoyable and I learned a lot. But the most interesting thing I learned was that the word ‘head’ has two syllables.” Everyone in the room – definitely including me – got a good laugh out of it.

    I spent a lot of time as a consultant at one of the largest paper plants in the country, located in Longview, Washington. My work involved evaluating their pumping systems in search of energy reduction and reliability improvement opportunities. In one of my first few days at the plant, there came a need for me to talk with a fellow who oversaw pump maintenance. We shook hands and introduced ourselves. Even with him just saying his name, I got suspicious. But by the time he’d completed a sentence, I knew. I said “you’re from Western North Carolina, aren’t you?” And I was right; he grew up near Waynesville. Needless to say, it got us off on a good footing.

    Because of the nature of my work – which was technical in nature – it usually didn’t take long for folks to realize that my accent meant exactly nothing in terms of whether I knew what I was talking about or not. I can only think of a couple of episodes where an individual had so bought into stereotypes that it blinded them. I made sure that they came to see the light, but that’s another story. For folks in non-technical disciplines, I suspect that overcoming stereotypes can be much more difficult.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    September 2, 2020 at 8:54 am

    I’m guilty of asking people where are you from and who are your people. Living close to Ashland Ky. where most of the young generation sound midwestern makes it easy to pick out an Appalachian accent. I find the ones with Appalachian accents are almost always from the rural counties.
    A few years back I was in N.KY. the greater Cincinnati Ohio area and all I heard speak sounded midwestern. On the other hand I noticed the older generation in the bluegrass region spoke with a more southern accent. I suppose in a couple more generations everyone will speak with a similar midwestern accent.

    While traveling out west years ago a man in Wyoming ask us if we were Texas. On the north rim of the grand canyon a lady ask us if we were from TN. She had been listening to us talk at one of the overlooks. She was from E.TN.
    As the wife and I have gotten older , I don’t think we could understand one another without saying,” Do What”.

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein
    September 2, 2020 at 8:18 am

    Your accent is pure delight and you’re a beautiful person, Miss Tipper! Nowadays any and everything is looked down upon so I really don’t concern myself ( and never have ) about what a bunch of idiots think. These same idiots are full of hate of everything- just name it and they’re ready to destroy and kill without a second thought. I will hang on to all I know and hold dear regardless of others. Thought for today: WHEN THE DEVIL GOES TO MESSIN’, the GOOD LORD GOES TO BLESSIN’!

    • Reply
      Kat Swanson
      September 2, 2020 at 10:51 am

      I traveled all over for thirty years as a professional Appalachian storyteller and folkways preserver. …and my accent came with me. I remember one experience well…one time after my hour long presentation, a listener came up to tell me how much he’d enjoyed it and then added…you are really smarter than you sound. I looked straight at him and said…..and I am also prettier than I look….and my cookin is really better than it tastes….I think he finally GOT it.

  • Reply
    September 2, 2020 at 8:18 am

    Tipper, this video makes me think of a funny story I read in Southern Living magazine by an Alabama writer Rick Bragg. The story was about calling a business today and having to talk to a machine and the machine not understanding the southern accent or language. Years ago before we did everything on line, I ordered something from California buy telephone, when the lady asked for my address, she told me before I could answer I lived in South Carolina. She said could tell by the way I talked, she was born and raised in South Carolina too. I guess we don’t realize how we sound to others from a different region, just like they sound different to us.

  • Reply
    September 2, 2020 at 8:15 am

    I love your story about the Appalachian language. I have lived near Wilmington, NC but I was born and raised in Haywood County, NC. You said your husband was from Haywood County so he might know where Bethel community is, that was my neck of the woods. Love your web page

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