Residents of Appalachia often use terminology and pronunciations that are different than the rest of the country. Up until recently, many Appalachians have been isolated by a lack of television and other technology that would allow them to pick up other speech patterns and ways. Even today, many areas of Appalachia have no access to high speed internet and cable television. If it were not for satellite television, station choices would be limited. Because of this, many of the words and phrases used in this area resemble Elizabethan English and other words of old.
Many of the phrases used here in Appalachia are colorful and fun. Many times whenever a conversation is coming to a close, it will end like this, “I’ll talk at ya later!” This means, “I’ll talk to you later.”
For the rest of the country, the word “spell” means to write out a word or something a witch may cast upon someone. Here in Appalachia, the word “spell” can be used differently. It can literally mean a little bit of time, for instance, “come over here and sit for a spell.” It can also mean someone is having a problem, perhaps a heart attack or a stroke, “we had to take dad to the hospital because he was having another one of his spells.”
Whenever someone is upset about something they are said to be “put out.” For example, “Jim was really put out by the way Joe acted the other night.” The last thing you want around here is for someone to be put out with you.
A mess is not something most people would like to have, but here in Appalachia, we love it! Usually “a mess” refers to a pot of cooked vegetables of some type, usually greens, green beans, or soup beans. It sounds something like this, “I can’t wait for dinner tonight, mom made a mess of green beans!” There isn’t anything much better than a mess of beans!
A large, torrential rainstorm is often referred to as a “gully washer” or “toad strangler.” China may be far away, but here in Appalachia, “far” means “fire,” or rather how it is pronounced many times. “We built a big far for our pig roast, but it came a gully washer and put it out.”
There are two uses for the pronunciation of “crick.” You can have a crick in your neck, meaning a catch or a muscles pull. A creek is also referred to as a “crick” in many parts of the area.
To be afraid is often termed “askeered.” It is not unusual to hear it go something like this, “I’m askeered to go down the road after dark.” Similarly, a person can be “afeared.”
If’n all of this talk has gotten ya’ll interested in how we talk round here, you might want check out www.hillbonics.com for more words, phrases, and sayins. Dialect and language differences can be fascinating to study and learn about!