Jordan Lovejoy's car shows her love for Appalachia. AP Photo

Jordan Lovejoy's car shows her love for Appalachia. AP Photo

Kirk Hazen and graduate student Jordan Lovejoy joke during a language session. AP Photo

Kirk Hazen and graduate student Jordan Lovejoy joke during a language session. AP Photo

A flyer at North Carolina State University seeks students to read and speak for a study. AP Photo

A flyer at North Carolina State University seeks students to read and speak for a study. AP Photo

Michael Culicerto reads from a script with his Appalachian dialect. AP Photo

Michael Culicerto reads from a script with his Appalachian dialect. AP Photo

Appa-Lingo

Posted: September 1, 2015

“I walked the dog.” “I done walked the dog.” Which is better to say?

It all depends. Or, as someone from the Appalachian region might say, it all dee—pins. On a map, the Appalachian region looks like a big J cut out of the American East. It stretches all the way from New York to Mississippi. People who live near the middle and bottom of the J have their very own way of talking. At one time, they used to say things like “I’m a-going to the store.” They would say, “them apples taste best.” Today, some tend to drop endings off their words. They might say “bes’ buddy” instead of “best buddy.” They might also make their vowels sound different than usual. When they say “pen” it might sound like “pin.”

Many people in the rest of the United States think the Appalachian dialect sounds silly or “hillbilly.” They think the accent means Appalachians have little education. Some even believe it makes them sound lazy. But is this a fair way to look at it?

The truth is, people with Appalachian accents may have just as much education as anyone else. They might work just as hard. Still, people have made fun of their accent for many years. Some have even tried to train people not to use it anymore.

But now that’s changing. Now kids in Appalachian schools learn more common ways of speaking. But they also study the way their people have talked for generations. They are learning an important lesson. They don’t have to be ashamed of their home!