Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Mountain Brogue

girl sitting on tree

brogue noun A distinctive local accent or habit of pronunciation (with no reference to perceived Irish or Scottish characteristics).
1978 Montgomery White Pine Coll. III-2 He’s a Tennessean. I can tell by his brogue. 1996 Montgomery File He’s just got an old mountain brogue.
[CUD”an Irish accent (from the idea of having a shoe in our mouth)”; cf DHE “there is a view that Irish people used to speak English unintelligibly (as a result of linguistic contamination from Irish syntax and vocabulary), and the effect was as if they had a shoe on their tongue.”

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English


The other day a lady called the Folk School to discuss an upcoming show where Folk School catalogs would be handed out. We had been emailing each other for a month or so, but finally decided we needed to speak by phone to iron out the last few details of the show.

I had only said a sentence or two when the she interrupted me and said “I just can’t get over your voice. I could listen to you talk all day long.” I thanked her and continued on with what I needed to tell her. I paused to let her comment on what I had said and she again said “You just don’t know how good you sound. Hearing your soft musical voice takes me right back to my grandmother’s house. I used to visit her in the summers in the mountains, but I haven’t been back in years now.” By this point I was sort of getting embarrassed 🙂

After we hung up I thought I should have told her to call me anytime she was missing her grandparents and cousins and I’d tell her a story or two.

Since I’ve went on about my mountain brogue it seems only fair that I let you hear it too.


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  • Reply
    Charles Howell
    May 22, 2020 at 12:53 am

    Somewhere West of West Virginia a Wildwood Flower Grows High up in the Rocky Mountains, Or Down in Mexico Maybe out in California or on that Wild Wyoming Range The Sweetheart I Remember. Rosemary Jane. My song (part of)

    • Reply
      May 22, 2020 at 6:10 am

      Charles- Nice song!!

  • Reply
    Twyla Holloway
    May 21, 2020 at 6:40 pm

    Any time you have a different name I think it makes you feel more special. It’s very hard to think of an original name. I’ve been called twilight zone all my life .. or twilley or tweety. Everyone in the mtns or south calls me twallah like waller without the r and sometimes with the r. Just as long as they call me! Rarely does a person ever know phonics well enough to pronounce my name correctly. The 1st vowel does the talking & the 2nd one does the walking. All of my music students always got it correct, cause music does make you smarter I guess. I love your voice. It’s like a mountain song.

  • Reply
    Susan Landis
    May 31, 2019 at 10:07 pm

    Last week we had a bear in the backyard (I live just a few minutes from Brasstown) and I was taking a little video with my camera through the window. My husband started to open the window and it make a noise that scared the bear off. On the video I can be heard telling him he “skeered” the bear. I didn’t even know I said it like that til I heard it.

  • Reply
    Yecedrah Beth Higman
    May 30, 2019 at 11:33 am

    My name is Yecedrah Beth and it seems a mouthful now but growing up southern it was what everyone called me. Now I long to hear my friends call my name. By the way my first name is pronounced this way: the Y is silent, and the rest is said like this: EE Cee dra. Named by my pawpa . My name was so unuaual that when I met new people it was a topic of conversation. Back in the days of telephone operators when I call my Momma collect I had to give my name. That was a nightmare to me. It meant several minutes talking about my name!! It was a very difficult name for me all through my life until I found out about. My pawpa was raised in an orphanage in Mississippi and had friends who were Hispanic. My name is actually Isidra and pronounced exactly like it sounds!!! I would have been thrilled to have been called anything else, like sally or susan or jill or whatever! just a simple short name.

  • Reply
    May 29, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    Neat story about your ” what we call NickName”. Your voice sounds normal to me.

  • Reply
    May 29, 2019 at 3:04 pm

    Loved that sharing , I think you sound lovely and enjoyed learning about how the name Tipper came about. Neat to know your given name also ,…. My Mama is Mary Louise ,and her mother ,Mary Elizabeth…so we have Mary’s for sure .. I kinda relate to Given Names, and nick names ….you see I was named Barbara Sue , Barbara after mama’s best friend growing up , Sue, after my mama’s Aunt Sue…. my maternal grandaddy always called me Susie, so most everyone else did too…, Teachers called me Barbara Sue, especially loudly when I was caught throwing paper wads across the room one day ..,when they said it like that ,eek !!! We had a principal , a Mrs. Wilson…nobody wanted to go see her if you were in trouble with your teacher,,,haha even hearing her walk down a hallway could silence a rowdy room….. actually she was a fine lady, who knew how to handle her job well . You know there is a song for every name I have haha ,and much teasing about our last Name,Croley…. to teasers it was crawdad ,oh the memories haha

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    May 29, 2019 at 12:15 pm

    I love the old-timey accents and have quite a one myself. Southwest TN & I guess more pronounced than most. Had a message on voice mail from an old friend who started d laughing when my message played & said she would know that voice anywhere.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    May 29, 2019 at 10:54 am

    I love that name. My girls love that name. That would be a Great CB Handle. I used to talk alot on the CB to folks near Six Flags. I had a Lineyour, so I could reach a long ways. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 29, 2019 at 10:41 am

    If you didn’t talk like a girl you’d sound just like me.

  • Reply
    May 29, 2019 at 10:25 am

    I agree with that lady, I could listen to you all day. Your voice is so sweet and southern, and I like how you got your nickname. Double names are common in the South, but my girls always said if I called them by their first and middle names, they knew they were in trouble!

  • Reply
    May 29, 2019 at 9:28 am

    You do have a pretty voice, and I love the story of how you got your name 🙂 I used to hear the story about how one of my brothers, as a toddler, used to worry about his new baby brother and say to our mother, “You better go get that baby! Him cryin’s hin eyes out!”

    • Reply
      May 29, 2019 at 9:30 am

      I should add, it was when the baby woke from a nap. He wasn’t being ignored or neglected 🙂

  • Reply
    May 29, 2019 at 9:25 am

    When I taught OSHA required classes at work, we had new hires from across the country. Every class had a person or two who asked about my accent, with some leaving positive comments on their classroom survey. The students from Louisville couldn’t believe it when I told them I was from KY. I forgot to tell them that eastern KY has a brogue of it’s own.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    May 29, 2019 at 8:33 am

    Tipper you have a very pleasant southern mountain brogue. Brogue is a word I seldom hear.
    I’ve noticed how young people pronounce many words different than we do. For example walk is wok, talk is tock, hawk is hock, all is oil, and on and on. I tell my Grandson that tock is what a clock does, wok is used to cook with, and hock is, well I won’t describe that one.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 29, 2019 at 8:30 am

    Somewhere along the way, I think in an email address, I saw your initials as “mj” and I guessed your given name. I was kinda hesitant to post of you as Tipper or Matt as the Deer Hunter because it felt like taking liberties with a family name. Same way with Katy and Corey. I expect it is me and not you all though.

    Sounds like you took the woman on the phone back to her roots by way of memory lane. I can understand that. My ear picks up on Appalachian accent on TV or out and about. I am always gratified to hear it. Maybe that is why I like “Barnwood Builders” so much.

  • Reply
    May 29, 2019 at 7:57 am

    Hi Tipper, What a dear voice to wake up to!!God Bless, Belva-Jean

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    May 29, 2019 at 7:55 am

    Like Miss Cindy, I too have been told my country is coming thru loud and clear. It proves you can’t take the country out of anyone. We always return to it especially when we get excited. I for one love it and just laugh and say thanks to country for making me who I am. Country shows up in many ways. Most country folk are caring and very family oriented. That is missing in lots of folks today. I am proud to be country.

  • Reply
    Sheryl A Paul
    May 29, 2019 at 7:35 am

    I love the southern way of speaking. I have lost my “accent” over the years working with prople from other places for such a long time. Even to thevwsy words are used as they didn’t understand.

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    May 29, 2019 at 7:17 am

    When I was performing in Great Britain in the ’70’s we had a road manager from London. London born and bred. He handled all business for us. When our tour reached Northern Scotland I had to take over. The Londoner could not understand the “bloody Scots”. I wasn’t just the brogue, it was the words and phrasing. Like all my grandparents here in Union County, GA, the Scots said “much obliged” for “Thank you”. Many other words and phrases took me back to childhood. The brogue kinda threw me but the Scots were gracious enough to repeat for me when I needed it. I even had to order the Londoner’s meals at times!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 29, 2019 at 5:56 am

    I love to hear mountain people talk. I guess it’s because so much of my family were mountain people. As a child I lived so many different places that now as an adult my origin is not discernible from my speech, except to say I’m southern. I used to work with a guy who would occasionally tell me my country was showing. I just laughed!
    Tip, I love to hear you talk, it reminds me of home and family.

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