Appalachia Overheard




“She’s awful pert to be so little.”



Overheard: snippets of conversation I overhear in Southern Appalachia


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  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    October 22, 2017 at 1:02 am

    I believe Miss Cindy hit the nail on this one for sure! I’ve heard “pert” used this way today!

  • Reply
    October 21, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    My family uses it like Miss Cindy’s grandparents but with a might bit of sass thrown in; and they pronounced in more like “puhrt” with more emphasis on the first part and with the first part a little more drawn out – like starting to make it two syllables but not quite. If we say “pert and perky” – that’s said quickly and crisply and implies the alert, active, happy, characteristics just electric with energy and enthusiasm.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    October 21, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    “Pert nigh” usually went together in Choestoe, Union County, GA where I lived and talked “Appalachian”!

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    October 21, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    I’ve heard my G-dad say he was a pert as a rutting buck when asked how he was doing. Other times he would say he was pert nigh dead. I don’t hear that word used much any more except when I say it and I usually get odd looks from people wondering what in the world I’m talking about.

  • Reply
    October 21, 2017 at 11:44 am

    A friend up in Nantahala asked me if one time if my girls could go home with them and ride horses and stuff. At first I was hesitant, but decided to let them both go and play with their boy and girl. When they brought them back, the man said “that little one is a live wire!”
    Jennifer has always been full of p— and vinegar. But I Love both my girls. …Ken

  • Reply
    Mike Norris
    October 21, 2017 at 10:58 am

    from MOMMY GOOSE: Rhymes from the Mountains
    When Mommy fell out of the apple tree,
    She got right up and went on a spree.
    She danced a jig on the featherbed,
    Then baked two bushels of gingerbread.
    She used the tablecloth for a cape
    And made a necklace out of measuring tape.
    She tried to crochet with her feet
    Way up in the night before she fell asleep.
    She stomped in the kitchen next morning and said,
    “Who tracked mud all over my bed?
    Why, look at the floor covered with crumbs.
    And where did all this gingerbread come from?
    I don’t know who I have to thank
    For being so pyert as to pull such a prank,
    But I’ll find out before the day’s through,
    And they’ll be in big trouble when I do!”

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    October 21, 2017 at 10:34 am

    Here’s where you need to have somebody pronounce the word audibly. Non-native readers will want to pronounce it like Pert the shampoo. That’s not how I say it. /p·yert/ or /p·yurt/ are close but not exact. It’s somewheres in between.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    October 21, 2017 at 9:57 am

    Hmmm Is that describing a baby? My Dad used to say about us boys, “I wish I had their energy.” I was the longest time understanding what he meant. Now it is my turn.

  • Reply
    Brian P. Blake
    October 21, 2017 at 8:15 am

    This seems to mean, “She’s small, but pretty.” Certainly applies in this case.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 21, 2017 at 6:35 am

    I haven’t heard that in a while! My grandparents both used the word pert to describe awake, alert, active, and happy.

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