Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

When You Get in the Habit of Saying the Same Thing

 

Habitual sayings you know - like - so - anyway

Have you ever been around someone who used the same word or words in every sentence? Years ago, I was introduced to a man who at the end of every sentence said and what not. I remember being obsessed with listening to him. I wanted to see if just once he wouldn’t say and what not. It never happened. He said the phrase at the end of every sentence just like clock work.

A few other habitual sayings I’ve heard:

  • you know
  • anyway
  • you know what I’m saying
  • now it’n it
  • like
  • ah or uh
  • now
  • well
  • the thing is
  • so

I’m sure you’ve heard some of the ones I mentioned, but sometimes folks habitually say things that aren’t so common.

When Pap was growing up, Old Man Bud Baker lived over in the next holler. Pap said everyone loved Bud because he was a lot of fun to be around. Bud’s habitual saying was si hell. Pap said no matter what Bud was telling or talking about he always started it with si hell.

Pap said one day Bud came around telling “Si hell I killed a rattlesnake that was 5 foot long yesterday.” Pap’s father, Wade, said he didn’t really believe there were rattlesnakes that big. Bud answered back “Si hell I know it was cause I measured it.”

Another elder from Pap’s childhood named George was fond of saying now I hell at the beginning of his sentences. Actually Pap said George’s entire family took up the habit of saying now I hell.

George lived at the head of Pinelog and one day a trader came to see him about buying a milk cow. The trader asked if the cow was a good milker and George told him “Now I hell she gives a waste of milk.” Taking George’s comment to mean the cow gave to much milk to use the trader bought the cow.

Didn’t take long for the trader to figure out the cow wasn’t a good milker. He soon came around to ask about the cow’s lack of milk. George said “Now I hell I told you she gives a waste of milk. She gives enough to cream your coffee but not enough to make gravy!”

L.C. who was Pap’s best friend was known for saying I tell you what at the start of his sentences.

After listening to the recording of Luke Bauserman interviewing me it’s pretty obvious I’ve picked up the habit of saying you know.

Do you have a habitual saying or know someone who does?

Tipper

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30 Comments

  • Reply
    Shelia
    February 21, 2017 at 11:28 am

    Oh, yes!! My husband and I know a man who ends his portion of the conversation with “and stuff and ever’thang, y’know”. Like you, we look for it and we’re never disappointed “and stuff and ever’thang, y’know”.

  • Reply
    Sandy
    February 21, 2017 at 10:32 am

    Growing up here, I used to hear older folks say “I swaney” a lot when they were astonished by something. Never did learn just where the phrase came from, but it was used a lot.

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    February 18, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    I don’t know if I do or not, but just this afternoon on Facebook, several of us were talking about people who always start sentences with the word “So”.
    Our paternal Grandmother started many (not sure about all) of her sentences with a tired “So anyway…” like she was continuing to say something when she was just starting to say something.
    And when VERY young, one of our sisters ended every sentence for a while with the word “but” like “I’m hungry but…” Mom would ask, “But what?” And the kid would look at her like she was puzzled, that she thought she was saying it right and Mom was wrong. LOL
    So, anyway… (hee hee)
    Have a great weekend.
    God bless.
    RB
    <><

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    February 18, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    One of my bosses ended his sentences with “and stuff”

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    February 18, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    When I was a child living at Needmore we had a neighbor who loved to buy, sell and trade cattle. His by-line he used to end almost every sentence was “I Doggy”. He was Vance’s uncle.

  • Reply
    TimMc
    February 18, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    My Wife has a cousin who say’s ” You know what I mean”.. after everything he say’s.. I just laugh to myself..

  • Reply
    Ken
    February 18, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    Tipper,
    Just one more comment and I’ll quit, I promise. Ole Dillard died in Robbinsville at 95 or 96 at an Old Folks home. But about 25 years before he told another story about him and some more drunks camping in the mountains. They got pretty soused and before long they all had passed out, but Dillard. He was staring through a crack in the tent and saw something fly up into a tree. He immediately woke one of his friends and asked him what that thing was. Without hesitation, his friend grabbed a shotgun and “bang”, a bird fell out right beside the fire. He grabbed that booger and took off the feathers and put him in a pot of water to boil. Dillard said “we cooked that thing for 3 days and it was still tough!” Dillard was Ralph’s dad. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ken
    February 18, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    Tipper,
    My friend Jim (the recovering Professor) reminded me in his last comments of a happening one night at my house. I had called Ralph Hardin over to play Canasta with 2 others. I had taught them the rules and after a hand or two, while Ralph was shuffling cards, we all got up and opened the frig, grabbed a bag of chips, and started munchin’ away. Ole Ralph looked at us and said “I’ll swear, this is the eatenist bunch of folks I ever saw.” He is still alive and is in the Old Folks home across from the old Baker Furniture building. I imagine he’s past 85 by now. …Ken

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    February 18, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    I’ll tell you what. I didn’t know I used that so much until a friend pointed it out to me.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    February 18, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    I’ll tell you what. I didn’t know I used that so much until a friend pointed it out to me.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    February 18, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    I’ll tell you what. I didn’t know I used that so much until a friend pointed it out to me.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    February 18, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    I’ll tell you what. I didn’t know I used that so much until a friend pointed it out to me.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    February 18, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    Tipper–I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before, but during my boyhood and beyond there was a fellow in Bryson City who was, as folks put it then, a bit “off.” I don’t know what the politically correct term is in today’s world, but I say this merely to lay the table.
    He was a good and harmless soul who wandered the local streets picking up soft drink bottles to get the deposit back on them, along with gathering wire and string. He had considerable difficulty carrying on a conversation but would greet you pleasantly enough and always with the same salutation: “A little shower of rain wouldn’t hurt none.”
    At least a few of your regulars will remember the fellow, who was named Arthur Blanton, and one of them Bill Burnett, once shared a wonderful anecdote connected to old Arthur with me.
    In those days Bryson City, and I suspect every small town and community throughout the mountains, had a number of really interesting characters. I think it’s basically sad we’ve lost so many of them, and I’ll bet you a dollar to a doughnut that most of your readers with many years behind them (and I strongly suspect most of them are older than you) recall fascinating individuals they knew in their younger years.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Crystal Richmond
    February 18, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    I find myself saying ” Well for goodness sakes “a whole lot. And ending my conversations with ” Well anyway”. It’s amazing how you really don’t think about it till you read something like this. Lol Always enjoy your posts.
    Crys Richmond Arkansas

  • Reply
    Betty Louise Saxon Hopkins
    February 18, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    My sweet Grandma would never be caught gossiping, but she was a good listener and would sit and listen patiently to what others had to say. I can just see her now leaning over and saying, “Ah, pshaw!” or “Well, I do declare!” or “You don’t say!” And by the way, Tipper, “you know” was one of my Mom’s oft repeated phrases, too. I had a habit of using it for awhile, too, but after my brother teasingly said “No, I don’t know” to me a few times, I have tried to be more aware of it and quit using it as much. I have no doubt it still slips out occasionally. :O)

  • Reply
    Ed Karshner
    February 18, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    In Academia, I am bombarded with “per se.” My wife and I make a joke out of it. She’ll say “where were you?” I’ll say, “In the bathroom. Per se.”
    It makes no sense to me. I guess it makes you sound smart? Per se?

  • Reply
    Mel H.
    February 18, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    I’ve heard some folks say “so did”–mostly when telling a story or narrative—it’s almost like a pause for a verbal punctuation…

  • Reply
    Ken
    February 18, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Tipper,
    I grew up around a bunch of folks that made “moonshine” as a living. One time I was at Hardin’s Trout Pond and ole Dillard told this story about him and 2 of his buddies had walked thru the mountains to Piercy Creek to make Liquor and do a little fishin’. While camping one night a storm came up and Lightning struck a big ole Blackgum tree across from their camp. Dillard woke up Hub Holloway and pointed in the general direction where the Lightening had struck. It had run around the tree like a stick of peppermint candy and ole Hub said, “eye God, He met His match that time.”
    …Ken

  • Reply
    Tipper
    February 18, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Ann-LOL I dont know what the sayings mean either : )

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    February 18, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Tipper, I don’t understand what “si hell” or “I hell” mean? Please tell me.
    But, yes, I know people who use real words after every sentence — you know what I mean?

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    February 18, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Watching Jesse Watters show on TV, I see most of the people he interviews use “you know” and “like” more than any other phrase.
    As far as keeping white clothes clean, I wore white uniforms during the summer for thirty years. One has to be continually conscious of the uniform at all times.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 18, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    I’m so glad the Bling Pig finally got here. I was getting worried when you were late. Your always here when I get up, whether it’s 5 am or 8 am.
    I used to know someone who said si with every comment, now you are quoting other folks who use it. What, in the world, in si? If si is good then si hell must be a real expletive!

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    February 18, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    I know a man who responds to about everything you say to him with, “heard dat.” It’s really annoying!

  • Reply
    Carol Rosenbalm
    February 18, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    My 5 year old grandson ends questions and statements with RIGHT. He says it very clear but I wander is it a question or statement. RIGHT
    Carol Rosenbalm

  • Reply
    Zelma
    February 18, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    I knew someone who said “when it went” in the middle or the end of sentences. Totally nonsensical, since the phrase has no intelligible meaning. We tried to tell him about it, but he was so unaware of saying this phrase constantly that there was no way he would ever change. I think he thought we were hearing things. I imagine he will continue it until the day he dies.

  • Reply
    Maxine
    February 18, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    My Grandmother began her sentences with ” well, I declare” and this was so common that all of us grandkids now also say” well, I declare” when we are talking.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    February 18, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    Tipper–You’ve already won the biggest part of the speaking battle; namely, recognizing what you are doing and acknowledging as much. Your repetitive use of “you know” grated when I listened to the interview, and I actually thought about e-mailing privately to bring it to your attention. However, I figured you’d pick up on it in short order, and obviously that was the case.
    I was rather painfully aware of these traps that lie waiting to snare us at every turn. That was thanks to having watched a lengthy video prepared by the Robert Ruark Society to pay tribute to that great Tar Heel writer. I was the main speaking presence on the video, thanks to having done two books on Ruark, and when I watched it my dismay increased by the minute. Never mind that I’ve been involved in public speaking basically all my adult years (if you count classroom appearances before college students as public speaking), and never mind that I’ve done hundreds of seminars, public appearances, and participated in storytelling events, I must have used “uh” 20 or more times in the 45-minute or so video.
    Almost every time I paused to organize my thoughts or ponder something an “uh” slipped in. You can bet I’ll be keenly aware of that from now on, and I’m guessing you will be equally aware of “you know.”
    Jim Casada
    P. S. My blog for today didn’t arrive until almost noon.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    February 18, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    I have pretty much fought developing that mannerism. But there was a time when I was bad to say “by Ned” way too much. One that is used now way too much is “whatever” because it can easily come across as snarky. I don’t know about other folks but I find it to be hard work to pay enough attention to oneself to head off bad habits.
    As for your use of ‘you know’ I noticed it but it wasn’t without meaning. That is, when used it was in a context where the meaning of “I think your life experience will have taught you, as it has me, to know what I mean when my ability to express it is not all I could wish” fit.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    February 18, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Keeping white pants clean ain’t hard, it’s pert nigh impossible.
    I worked with a woman from upstate New York who ended every sentence with “and that”.
    When I was a kid there was a man named Vance who lived a couple of houses down the creek. Vance would start some, and end every, sentence with “by hokeys”. Now all the menfolk who went to Hightower Church called each other Brother. Vance called my father “Brother Fred” and Daddy called him “Brother Vance”. Us kids got to calling him “Brother Vance By Hokeys”. Not to his face or in front of his kids of course. That would have reaped punishment by death or worse.

  • Reply
    quinn
    February 18, 2017 at 10:47 am

    When I gave a talk at a science conference or such, where each speaker was only allowed a certain amount of time, I practiced ahead of time by taping and timing myself so I could be sure to get everything said that needed saying. Listening to the first couple of tapes was painfully educational – I heard every useless repetition of “and, uh” and “so, um”… like nails on a chalkboard! I got better, but I don’t know if the improvement stuck. It’s been a while since I’ve had to speak in front of a group, while a clock is ticking.
    Of course now I’m in the habit of talking to the livestock, and I tell them the same joke nearly every day. If the goats are hollering for their grub as I’m already walking out to the barn, I tell them, “I’m coming! But I know…so’s Christmas!” They don’t seem to mind that they’ve heard it a hundred times before 😉

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