Do you speak Appalachian?

Like Dan’s family in Hainted, mine hails from the rolling Appalachian mountains of North Carolina. The people and the culture are a mix of Cherokee, Scotch and Irish, with a few Germans thrown in for good measure. All of these have made their unique impact of the local dialect. Here are a few examples:

Haint – This word can be a noun or a verb. A haint is a ghost; to be hainted is to be haunted.

I ‘spect this place is hainted, y’all.

Blackberry winter – Noun. A late spring snowfall.

Diddles – Noun. Baby chickens.

A hen and her diddles.

Fetched – Adj. To be annoying for the sake of irritating others.

Long sweetening – Noun. Molasses.

Y’all – Noun, plural only (seriously, Hollywood). All of you (people).

Want to learn more? Check out Mountain Talk: A Guide to Mountain Speech by Peggy Poe Stern. In the meantime, what odd words did you grow up with? I love learning new dialects, so tell me all about them in the comments!


Comments

It’s called a haint, y’all — 7 Comments

    • Definitely a term you only hear from the older generation these days. I grew up calling them chicks like everyone else, but they were always diddles to my grandmother.

  1. I guess I spent too much time on the coast to pick *most* of those up. But the language of the Smokies is certainly a creature all its own. You should hear my wife speak. “Down Yonder”, “Up’air”, “Down the road a ‘fer piece'”, “fler” “yeller”.. the list goes on. LOL.

      • Hehe. She does say that on occasion but only to annoy me. My grandmother on the other hand, who also grew up in the mountains, does say it that way. I cringe every time I hear her say it.

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