American Life: Appalachian English

It seems appropriate today to cast my eye on the United States, but not in the way you might expect. You’ve probably heard and read enough about that already, so I just want to share this video about the way the natives of the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern United States speak English. It’s delightful to hear their accents and very specific vocabulary. It sounds quite unique, though I think I definitely detect something of the original Scottish and Irish settlers. I think there’s definitely a link between the fact that they call a bag a poke, and in Irish the word for pocket is póca. I’m not surprised that their vocabulary and accent wouldn’t change much over time, being so isolated.

These are the type of people who might be stereotyped as hillbillies, but they all seem like nice folk. Hard to understand at times, but nice. I don’t think there’s much point to this really, just to show what English can be, and how diverse, culturally and linguistically, America can be.

3 thoughts on “American Life: Appalachian English

  1. Interesting! I once took a Shakespeare class in which this topic was brought up — folks may not realize that Appalachian speech patterns have a lot in common with Shakespeare’s original dialect (a combination of Scots-Irish and Elizabethan speech!) Also they make up words, just like the Bard did. As an American Shakespeare fan, I found this fascinating 🙂

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