Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Tennessee Recognizes the Appalachian Language

appalachian words

Last week while I was talking about the importance of passing our rich colorful Appalachian Language on to the next generation the state of Tennessee was doing the same thing.

Here’s the details from Channel WJHL

“JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL)  If anyone has ever told you  you talk funny  you might be from Appalachia.

Some Tennessee lawmakers hope a bill they’re considering will help shatter stereotypes about the Appalachian dialect.

Senate Bill 227 passed committee on Tuesday.

It urges the Secretary of State to include a discussion of the significance and history of the Appalachian dialect in the Tennessee Blue Book.

The Blue Book serves as a manual on the state and its government.

State Representative Jeremy Faison of Cocke County tells us that the bill is about honoring a beautiful form of the English language.

The Appalachian dialect has some of the oldest forms of American English that you can find, Faison said.

Senate Bill 227  written alongside Senator Steve Southerland of Morristown  states that the Appalachian Dialect is fully legitimate and deserves respect.

There are people who hear the Appalachian dialect and immediately think This person might be ignorant but in fact, some of the smartest people in the world are from the Appalachians, Faison said.

Faison hopes with the history of the Appalachian dialect written in the Tennessee Blue Book Appalachians will have a better understanding of where they come from.”




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  • Reply
    Janis Sullivan
    April 4, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    Thanks for including the Tennessee news. I am from there, and I still talk with my Tennessee Appalachian twang, and still explain my talk to my husband of 43 years. By the way, one of the Appalachian dictionaries you quote was published by the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. I just live for your blog each day. Thank you.

  • Reply
    April 4, 2019 at 10:00 am

    Never mind I just corrected it.

  • Reply
    April 4, 2019 at 9:58 am

    When I read the comments the right end is ‘cut off’. Is there some way to correct that. (By you, me or those you publish through}

  • Reply
    April 4, 2019 at 9:44 am

    Tipper, i am glad to hear this. I don’t understand why to some people our vocabulary seems funny, hick, hillbilly or whatever to them. We talk the way we do because we live in good old Tennessee. Just as people talk in what ever state they live in. I am very proud to be and raised in my state Tennessee. I wouldn’t want to live no where else. I know and have learned and lived because of it. God Bless our State!!

  • Reply
    Carley Windsor
    April 4, 2019 at 9:40 am

    Tipper, I am so excited to hear about this! I doubt that this would be on the minds of any of my Alabama legislators, but it would be wonderful if it could be discussed…I am proud of my Appalachian dialect, and proud that my kiddos have picked up on it too! When I moved to college in Northwest Alabama (Florence) back in the 90s, I did indeed have people ask me if we even had cars where I was from…(can you hear my eyes rolling from here?) I love the sound of this dialect, and the quirky sayings and slang. I hope my children always hold on to it always, no matter where they end up (which I hope isn’t far, haha!)

  • Reply
    April 4, 2019 at 8:59 am

    Thank you Tennessee! Now, Kentucky needs to consider a similar bill. I heard a disc jockey giggle about a word Loretta Lynn said on a record he had just played. He said, “I guess somebody understand what she meant because that song went to number one on the charts.”

    • Reply
      aw griff
      April 4, 2019 at 9:40 am

      Shirl. I wish Ky. would do that too, so much of our language is lost on the young. I was in a store in Ashland Ky. just the other day and the clerk asked me how I was doing. I told him just barely, in sincerity he said I’m glad to hear it.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    April 4, 2019 at 8:32 am


  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    April 4, 2019 at 8:21 am

    Upper east Tennessee is a good place to recognize the Appalachian dialect. It was part of the first frontier at the time of the Revolution and a primary route west, down the valleys of the tributaries of the Tennessee River. Mine and my wife’s folks came that way, some from Virginia, one maybe from Pennsylvania and one from North Carolina.

  • Reply
    April 4, 2019 at 8:18 am

    Unfortunately the new trend toward political correctness still permits poking fun at those from Appalachia. The Appalachian dialect should be a national treasure, as it would truly be a sad day if it is ever lost. I am so appreciative of efforts to keep it alive, and I would wish my own lovely state would make such an effort. One source of pride is Tamarack which is jam packed with arts and crafts from the state’s most gifted. I have never had a talent so great that I would be able to submit, but fall into that category, “jack of all trades, master of none.” This was learned from my dad who always told us to “learn everything you can because you never know when you will need it.” Yay for Tennessee, and I sure hope some surrounding states follow suit.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    April 4, 2019 at 8:03 am

    During my fifty years of working with the public I’ve been told that I talk funny, most of the time it is by someone from a different geographical area.I respond that they that talk funny since I talk like the majority of everyone else who live “Round Here”.

  • Reply
    Amanda Burts
    April 4, 2019 at 7:02 am

    Tennessee is my home state, even though I’ve lived in WNC since 1996 (and Brasstown since 2000). I love reading about the dialects. Even though accents are similar, my husband says he can still distinguish that slight Tennessee twang I have.

  • Reply
    Larry Proffitt
    April 4, 2019 at 6:30 am

    We talk the dialect we learned from our parents before TV. I found we mtn folks dont have a lock on our vernacular. Two other turkey hunters and I walked into the Walmart in Amarrilo Tx in the spring of 2001. The young female greeter greeted us in our tongue. We were aghast. I immediately asked where are you from. Right here mister born and raised here. I got home and looked at a USA map. Their lattitude is about the same as ours. I didnt think to ask but perhaps they were recent transplants. Larry

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    April 4, 2019 at 6:26 am

    This is fantastic!

  • Reply
    Roy Pipes
    April 4, 2019 at 6:17 am

    In my novel Darby I write about a duel in Johnson City, Tennessee, because it was illegal in North Carolina. Lots of Appalachian dialect is included.

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