“And after I seen that I’m telling you I looked down at my own trough.”



Overheard: snippets of conversation I overhear in Southern Appalachia


You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    January 2, 2021 at 8:56 am

    Shoot, reading Michael’s comment wore me out, that is entirely too much thinking for my old southern brain. I just spit it out the way I think of it and don’t worry about why I thought of it that way. I like to tease a very good friend of mine from Iowa about being from the north for saying you guys instead of y’all.

  • Reply
    September 1, 2018 at 10:46 am

    If we put our elbows on the table while eating, Iowa “manners cops” might tell us, “get your feet out of the trough.”

  • Reply
    September 27, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    Great comment Michael! I would have to say I think in Appalachian, but when I’m at work I might refrain from saying certain words or phrases because folks wouldn’t understand me. 

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 23, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    I noticed Mr. Miller’s friend was from South Korea. That made her a Southerner. I’ll bet they have mountains there too.
    I had a friend from Mexico. I asked him if he was from North or South Mexico. He said South. I told him that was a good start, now all we need to do is train him to be a redneck.
    I asked him one time if they had a 4th of July down in Mexico. “No we had Cinco de Mayo.”
    “But you didn’t have a 4th of July?”
    “Well then what did you use to keep the 3rd and the 5th from bumping together?”
    He tried to hit me!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 23, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    I have always been privileged not to ever have to eat from the trough. I have always been allowed to eat directly from the slop bucket.

  • Reply
    September 23, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    Michael Miller’s comment reminded me of something a woman from France told me a long time ago. She had been living in the USA for – I think – about 30 years, and teaching High School French classes. She said she “thinks in English all the time except for counting – then it is always in French!”

  • Reply
    larry griffith
    September 23, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    That made me think what I told myNephew that I would dance at his wedding in a hog trough. Later he told me he almost had it built. Near scared me silly.

  • Reply
    Michael Miller
    September 23, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    I’m not opposed to but find a lot of humor in folks trying to define or decode the language spoken in Appalachia. I have a friend who was raised in South Korea and only moved to the US for high school, yet she speaks English flawlessly and occasionally throws in some Appalachian-Speak. I asked her one day, with Korean being her first language and raised by Koreans in the US, if she still thinks in Korean and then translates content to English, if she thinks in both depending on the language she is using or if there is some other process employed? Her reply was both interesting and logical, “More and more I find myself thinking in English because that was the only language I used earning my degree at UNC.”
    That explained two things for me: The predominate language used eventually takes over the thought process and, two, how a Korean woman raised in Korea who immigrated to CA on the west coast would have a little southern twang when using words peculiar to Appalachia.
    After that conversation with my Korean friend, I began asking myself, “Do I think in Appalachian-Speak even though my college and university degrees along with my profession dictates that I speak and sound like middle-America. And “Yes,” I do believe I still think in Appalachian-Speak because I have worked very hard to hang on to the dialect of my raising and only speak otherwise when I must.
    My lifetime friends and I will often get into conversations in front of ‘non-speakers of our language’ and are told by the ‘outsider’ they have no idea what we’re saying. To me at least, my ethnocentrism kicks in and I think, ‘that flatlander rat ‘ere’ talks funny and he/she is a brick or two shy of a load if we’re not understood.’
    So, in what language or dialect do you think and speak in?

  • Reply
    September 23, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    I enjoyed the concert last night. Chitter and Chatter were hilarious at times, especially when Chatter asked Chitter why does she talk so much. When she put her drink down, she replied,
    “you all think this is water.” Those girls can hold their own to each other. Matt (the Deer Hunter) sat with me in the third row and everyone had a ball.
    Chitter, Chatter, and Paul sung “Walking my Lord up Calvary’s Hill” from the new CD that’ll be out soon and that was a Big Hit. The Courthouse was packed, I knew it would be so I left early to get near the front. …Ken

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    September 23, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Could this persons “trough be too full or too empty or not full of the proper food in their trough for their well being?….
    I also think it could describe the way a person eats…Example…”He/she could trough that stew up like a pig eating’ slop!” Meaning to eat greedily, selfishly before another has a chance to get a bite!
    I think the word “trough” is a durative of the French word manger meaning to eat…not totally sure…
    I used to go with my Aunt where she was “feeding out a hog” for winter slaughter. It was housed on the lower portion of the old tobacco barn where it was open. The pen was about 12/15 feet square…she would lean over the top rail and pour buckets of slop in the “trough”…She was always warning me not to climb the rail and fall in for that pig was so big (even though not mean) it might think I was food and bite my arms or legs…skeery! I am sure this is where I learned the word many, many years ago…I remember saying, “I’ve got to “trough” or “slop” the hogs, before it gets any colder this evening!” That would usually be after supper…A bucket was kept in the kitchen by the stove and leftover food, milk, buttermilk etc. was saved to “feed, trough, or slop the hog”!
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS….I couldn’t stand to look in or smell the bucket when I had to take leftover cabbage, carrots (after prepping for supper) to drop it in for the hogs! I once asked my Aunt if they always had to eat leftovers mixed together? She laughed and said…”They get a lot of corn too…but this here slop is what puts the fat on them!
    Come think of it…. Oooooh, guess I need to look my “trough” over…and cut out the German Chocolate cake for breakfast! Ha

  • Reply
    wanda Devers
    September 23, 2017 at 10:44 am

    Made me think of the times in church when I was wishing a certain person was hearing the sermon and then realizing that I needed to hear it too.

    • Reply
      Patricia Price
      August 7, 2021 at 7:12 am

      I’m responding late, Wanda, but I think you hit the nail on the head. I believe that is what was meant by looking down at one’s own trough.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 23, 2017 at 9:55 am


  • Reply
    eva m. wike
    September 23, 2017 at 9:38 am

    NEVER heard this ‘mountain’ expression! BUT there are many examples in these mountains where we could find situations where we could apply it!!!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    September 23, 2017 at 9:26 am

    Not such a common insight – to see one’s own situation in the light of other’s experience.
    Reminds me of something Rick Bragg wrote. I can’t quote it, but it was along the lines of being discerning and mature enough to let someone think they knew more than you for the sake of their self-esteem. Alas, I’m rarely that discerning, much less willing to let it go.

  • Reply
    Brian P. Blake
    September 23, 2017 at 8:38 am

    Sounds like a variation on the proverb, “People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”

  • Reply
    September 23, 2017 at 8:16 am

    Had not heard this one before but I’m wondering if it couldn’t be interpreted two ways:
    Basically it seems to be a way of comparing one’s own situation &/or resources to another’s leading to:
    1: reconsidering and better appreciating what one has, or
    2: comparing and thinking one should do something to better one’s own situation.
    I suppose there could be a “whining” option but that doesn’t seem to be the Appalachian way.

  • Leave a Reply