17 Facts About Appalachian English


Appalachian English is American English native to the Appalachian mountain region of the Eastern United States.

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All Appalachian English is rhotic and characterized by distinct phonology, morphology, syntax, and lexicon.

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Regardless, the Appalachian English dialect studied within the last century, like most dialects, actually shows a mix of both older and newer features, with particular Ulster Scots immigrant influences.

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American writers throughout the 20th century have used the dialect as the chosen speech of uneducated and unsophisticated characters, though research has largely disproven these stereotypes; however, due to such prejudice, the use of the Appalachian English dialect is still often an impediment to educational and social advancement.

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Research reveals that Appalachian English includes many grammatical components similar to those of the Midland regional dialect, as well as several unique grammatical, lexical, and phonological features of its own.

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Research suggests that the Appalachian English dialect is one of the most distinctive and divergent dialects within the United States.

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Notable feature of Appalachian English is the a-prefix which occurs with participle forms ending in -ing.

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Early theories regarding the origins of the Appalachian English dialect tend to revolve around popular notions regarding the region's general isolation and the belief that the region is culturally static or homogenous.

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The most enduring of these early theories suggested that the Appalachian dialect was a remnant of Elizabethan English, a theory popularized by Berea College president William Goddell Frost in the late 1800s.

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Some pronunciation features reminiscent of those in lowland Scotland and Ulster can be heard, such as the pin-pen merger and goose fronting, the Scotch-Irish and English settlers had a strong influence on the Appalachian dialect, linguistic analyses suggest that Appalachian English developed as a distinctive dialect among English-speaking people in North America.

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Traditional Appalachian English dialect spread to the Ozark Mountains in northern Arkansas and southern Missouri.

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Ozark and Appalachian English have been documented together as a single Southern Mountain dialect of the United States.

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Studies have shown that Ozark Appalachian English has more in common with the dialect of East Tennessee than with the dialect of West Tennessee or even Eastern Arkansas.

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Appalachian English is one of the linguistic boundaries constructed by Hans Kurath.

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The origins of Appalachian English can be traced back to Scottish-Irish ancestors, and include unique grammatical and lexical differences Appalachian English can be found in the following states: West Virginia; Eastern Kentucky; North Carolina; Northwestern Georgia; Northern South Carolina; western Virginia; Alabama; and Tennessee.

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Appalachian English is thought to be the oldest form of English to date-including the Shakespearean dialect-which can be a factor contributing to the myth of the dialect being outdated.

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Appalachian English is often viewed by outsiders as a dialect of uneducated people.

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