Most Importantly: It’s App-uh-LATCH-un. If you say it wrong, we’ll correct you. If you keep it up, we can’t be friends.
For a long time, people have assumed that the dialect and language we use here in the Foothills and the Blue Ridge Mountains is “bad English”. That’s not true at all. It’s actually “very old English.”
We still use a large number of the words that the people who settled this land used. “Afeared”, for instance, is considered archaic English, except here in our hills. In some ways, it’s as if the last 200 years of linguistic changes just didn’t happen here. We speak the way our ancestors spoke, and our lexicon doesn’t seem to be dying out.
We are Southerners, but that’s not all we are. We speak the language of the hills. If you’d like to understand us better, here are some tips.
Long I sounds turn to A sounds. Tire and fire become “tar” and “far”. Iron is “Arn.” The “o” sound at the end of words is often replaced with an “er”…holler, mater, tater, backer for hollow, tomato, potato and tobacco. You noticed we dropped the beginning syllable from some of the words we use the most-we just expect you to keep up.
Blowed-past tense of blow
Briar-patch child-a child out of wedlock
Britches-pants, but not your dress pants
Et-past tense of eat
Heared-past tense of hear
Heared-tell-heard by way of gossip
Hollow (pronounced “holler”)-
valley surrounded by mountains
Jasper-someone not from our hills
Might-could-there is a possibility
Plum-all the way
Right-very (He’s right smart)
Scald-land that won’t grow plants
Seed-past tense of saw
Skift-just a little snow
Sweet milk-regular milk
You’ns-similar to y’all