The Language of Appalachia
Imagine my surprise when I went to Jamaica a few years ago and learned that I do, indeed, have an accent. You see, unlike my paternal grandmother, I don't stretch the word "cornbread" into four syllables. She might say, "Here. Have ye some co-orn-bray-ed;" whereas I might say, "You want some corn-bread?" See? Two syllables on the cornbread; "you" rather than "ye."
Unlike my maternal grandmother, I say "carrion" rather than "kyarn." In fact, I had no idea what she was talking about until recently when I mentioned the word to my husband. I told him, "Grandmother used to say, 'That stinks like kyarn.' I never figured out what 'kyarn' was." He said, "Road kill." My jaw dropped. "You mean, carrion? Kyarn is carrion?" "Yeah," he said. "Put the Appalachian accent to it." It made sense.
Unlike my mother-in-law, I say "they fought," not "they fit."
Thus, I concluded that I have no accent. After all, I'm fairly well educated. I studied French for three years, and I did some self-study of German and Greek. Plus, I'm well read, and I've authored several books. Ain't I the berries? I couldn't possibly have a hillbilly, Appalachian accent. And, yet, in Jamaica, everyone I met asked, "What part of the South are you from?"
So, I did a little research and learned that the Appalachian region has its own language. Linguists call it "Appalachian English." The Scots-Irish settled the entire region known as Appalachia (all of West Virginia and portions of Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia) in the mid-1700's. At the time, physical boundaries kept modernization out. Then in the 1940's, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was created; and that brought tourists to the area. By the 1950's, highways and telephones were more prevalent throughout Appalachia, bringing the modern world another step closer to its rural inhabitants.
Now, I don't want you to think we in Appalachia are a bunch of snobs. We realize that the same immigrants who settled here settled land elsewhere, but the linguists tell us that our speech patterns will not be found in any other dialect to the extent that they are in Appalachia. In addition, we Appalachians use variants of our own speech patterns. Just because I don't use the same words as my grandmothers doesn't mean that I don't have an Appalachian accent. In fact, the linguists say that each region has its own speech patterns and that most of us allow our situations to govern our speech. For example, when I'm talking with my family, I'm liable to let down my guard a little-use a bit more Appalachian English and a bit less Standard American English. In a more formal situation, I'll try to employ a lot less Appalachian English. Even though I know from personal experience that most Appalachians are not "dumb hillbillies," I'm afraid that others might see me that way if I use the language I naturally use. And yet, some phonological differences are so inbred, that I can't not use them.
Did you know that the t at the end of slept is not silent? You might say, "I slept in this morning." I would say, "I slep in." To me, that "t" just doesn't feel right. It reminds me of an episode of "All in The Family" where Edith met a Jewish baker and he called her "Edit." She told him, "My name's Edith! Th!" So then he called her "Edit-th." To me, "slep-t" would be every bit as awkward.
Do you say "exactly" or "exackly"? And how about ten? I've actually heard people say "ten" with a short e sound-like in the word "bed." How weird is that? Tin and ten are words with the "exack" same sound but different meanings.
The linguists also point out some lexical differences in Appalachian English. For example, the Standard American English word might be faucet, but the Appalachian English version would be spigot. If somebody looks sick, we might say, "he's peaked" (that's peek-ed). Did you hurt your finger? Then we might say you "stoved it up." I once knew a man who substituted "for" for "because." He'd say, "I need to go to the store, for I'm out of milk." My brother would substitute the entire remainder of our family with the word "nim." He'd ask me, "Did Mama and nim go to the store?" Some people say "knowed" rather than "knew." We're famous for our double negatives. "I don't have none of that." Our present perfect tense has raised some eyebrows, too. "He's done done it now!"
This little foray into my Appalachian heritage has given me new insight. We might chop off some of our "-ings"; we might "reckon" rather than "guess" sometimes; and we might have places with such outlandish names as "Lick Skillet," "Frog Holler" and "Sugar Loaf," but we have a rich history. We know where we came from and, for the most part, where we're going. And if anyone thinks we're a bunch of ignorant hillbillies, then you ought to come and get to know us a little better. If you stay long enough, we might be able to teach you how to talk right.
Gayle Trent's latest book is a comedic mystery titled BETWEEN A CLUTCH AND A HARD PLACE. Find out more about the book at Gayle's Web Page.
Starbucks Going into Hilton
Well, I hope you did not read that headline wrong, Crew Member Starbucks is not doing Paris Hilton. What I am saying here is Starbucks will now be offered in some Hilton Hotels. Just think you can watch Paris the skinny blonde babe on your infomercial in room TV ad for a Starbucks, run down to the lobby to and buy a fattening Frappachino.
Setting History Straight
Have you ever heard the name Will Schwenk? Or the name Artie Seymour? Probably not. But you will, you will, when the word gets around about how these two inglorious talents were by-passed, how they missed being touched by the magic wand of Fate. For contrary to popular belief, the series of light operettas commonly attributed to Gilbert and Sullivan were in effect written by the pair of nonentities named above, Artie being the melodist and Will the versifier.
Valet Parking: Theft with Consent
This column is long overdue. To put it in library terms, which I guess I already did (but I'd like to elaborate), this column is like checking out a book in 1998 but not returning it until yesterday. And by yesterday, I really mean tomorrow. This analogy will only grow as time continues because yesterday and tomorrow are both relative terms. I can't wait until the space creatures read this in the year 2577. Maybe they will e-mail me when they do, just so I feel like my previous sentence came with a purpose...
Stopping Bad Breath Bart
"Pee-ew! You smell like a skunk soaking in sardine nectar for a week."OK, so I can be a little candid every now and then. It's not something I would say to Attila the Hun during a pre-battle pep rally. But it was not Attila the Hun standing in front of me. It was just my buddy Bart."Pee-ew! You have bad breath."So when the phone rang that night, the last person I expected to greet me in a cheery voice was Bad Breath Bart. "Hey, Happy Guy. I'm feeling great," he said. "Want to guess why?""You just won the gold medal for the ten-meter turkey toss?""Nope," he replied. "But thanks for the tip. I'll start training for it tomorrow.""OK, I give up. Why do you feel so great?""Because I discovered an easy way to stop bad breath," he declared. "Want to guess how?""You bought a book on stopping bad breath and you are following the instructions?""Sa-ay, that's a good idea," Bad Breath Bart said. "But that's not it. My plan is even simpler. I covered up my bad breath.""Bart, that won't work. Since Julius Caesar first invaded Paris and declared 'Veni Vidi Vino', people have been trying to cover up their breath. But mint just is not strong enough.""Bingo!" he shouted. "Mint is too weak, so I found something stronger. Want to guess what?""You've been rinsing with five-week-old milk?""Nope.""You've discovered that cologne is best taken internally?""Nope.""You downed a bottle of vanilla extract, mistaking it for beer?""Nope."This guessing game was giving me headaches and foot cramps. "I give up, Bart. What's your secret to stopping bad breath?""Garlic," he declared."Garlic?""Garlic. Now nobody can smell my bad breath, because all they smell is garlic," he beamed."Garlic?""Of course, there are some side effects," Bad Breath Bart noted. "For instance, my pet vampire has run away. And this afternoon I blew a kiss to my wife, and she slammed the door on my face.""Can I offer an alternative, Bart? Something that won't put your nose in a cast every time you get the irresistible urge to blow at your wife?""Sure.""Try using some mouthwash with cetylpyridinium chloride in it. That always works for me.""Wow. That's a mouthful," Bad Breath Bart exclaimed.I was glad to have finally given Bad Breath Bart a mouthful that would actually help him cure his problem. I did not anticipate the call I would receive the very next evening."Hey, Happy Guy. Thanks for the tip," Bad Breath Bart said. "That cetlip... cettap... centapyr... That unpronounceable mouthwash ingredient is superb.""Excellent!" I was thrilled that he had taken my advice and that it was working so well."Yeah. It really tastes great," he continued."Tastes great?""You bet. And so filling, too."Suddenly I felt an ominous sensation closing in. "What do you mean by 'filling'?""After taking that cetilp... cettep... certip... that unpronounceable concoction, I don't feel hungry anymore," he explained."Bart, what did you put in that concoction?""Oh, the usual ? ten scoops of ice cream, a cup or two of milk, a bag of chocolate chips, half a banana, some corn flakes, a wombat's ear and the juice out of the maraschino cherry jar," he responded."But that won't stop your bad breath.""Oops. I also added that cetip... cetpe... certilp... that unpronounceable ingredient," he added. "It sure tasted good."Just then, my wife entered the room. "Honey, I just made you one of your favorite banana-strawberry milkshakes," she said with a smile.I looked at the glass she placed in my hand. I looked at it from the top. I looked at it from the bottom. I looked all around it."What are you looking for," she asked.I knew she would not believe me. "Chocolate chips and corn flakes."
Discover the Lighter Side of the Internet
We all know the Internet is a great tool for finding out information and sharing knowledge. But as a human sometimes sitting at a computer all day can get quite tedious, especially if it is your job 5 days a week. This feeling can be compounded by other problems in one's personal life, and the result can mean little productivity because of a sour mood. Well humanity does have a lighter side, and this too can be explored on the Internet. Sometimes a little humor or interesting trivia can really take the edge off a bad moment. You'd be surprised at how much comedy and insight is expressed on the Net. I've been exploring what's out there and I just can't stop laughing. Laughter of course is the ultimate medicine and some believe it to be the highest form of life. My only warning is don't get hooked on this stuff as your work ethic will probably become worse than ever! Now, there's a lot of stuff on the Net and not all of it is positive humor, but you can surf around the undesirable stuff with ease. To give you an idea of some funny sites I discovered, here is a short list but I'm sure there are thousands of others you can find by doing simple word searches: www.bored.com, www.linkydinky.com, www.chickenjoke.com, www.crazyfads.com, www.crazythoughts.com, www.dancingbush.com, and www.stupidvideos.com. I really advise checking out the last site and watching the video entitled 'Evil penguin2'. This nearly brought tears to my eyes as I already have a soft spot for penguins. So, you've got jokes, funny videos, kooky trivia, strange thoughts and perspectives on different aspects of life, and even the most 'powerful' man on Earth-George Bush doing an animated dance imitating John Travolta in 'Saturday Night Fever'. You've really got no reason anymore to sit in front of your computer worrying and wallowing in self-pity. I've always thought that humans have put too much emphasis on technological development as opposed to the spiritual side of things. This comedic aspect to the Internet has shown me that people can also be quite clever in more lighthearted endeavors. Some of the ideas on these sites really flip the world upside down and make you question why we do the things the way we do. This could be considered a step forward in our evolution as we see the underlying truths in our cultural systems. Laughter is the key to humanity reaching a higher level of consciousness. Imagine if everyone on our planet could all be happy enough in one moment to laugh at the same time. The Earth would shake, the seas would rise, and all the animals would stop what they're doing to join in. The vibration would probably cause a ripple to flow out into space affecting other planetary systems. Then, imagine all the beings of the Universe laughing at one time. We're talking serious celebrations! We're talking about black holes folding in on themselves in result of the positive energy wave forces demolishing all negative forces in their path! It's called the Laughter Revolution, and it might just be the next step for you to take to reach that long awaited goal of happiness. Come on, take a look around, there's a whole world of funniness just under the surface of our perceived 'normal' reality. We have to wake up and smell the cheese?Oh the sweet cheese.
Your Stars Part 3
The Jokes On You -- Who Should be the Butt of Your Jokes?
This article was prompted by something I heard (second hand) about the performance of a local magician at a child's birthday party. Now, granted, this wasn't done by a clown, but I've seen clowns doing similar things. As one of his tricks, he has a child (a young girl approximately 9 years old) holding two handkerchiefs knotted together. He pulls her hands apart, and instead of a third handkerchief appearing (or a flag, or whatever else) he has a pair of ladies' panties appear. The magician received the reaction he wanted: the audience laughed loud and long at the discomfiture of the young girl. She, however, was on the verge of tears, having been publicly humiliated, for having done nothing more than helping on stage when asked.
Tales of a Spectator Spectator
Watching the fans at a minor-league baseball game is just as fun as watching the players. From the silent statues to the loud cartoon caricatures, from the self-contained families and social groups to those who fully participate with the game, from the normal to the abnormal to the absolutely bizarre, the crowd at the stadium is a microcosm of the human race .
Lactose Intolerant? It could be a good thing
Lactose Intolerant Individuals may prove a bonus in Space Missions. Lactose intolerant individuals have huge problems with gas from the inability to process certain dairy products and foods. Therefore such an individual after eating will create gas, methane, which could be used as fuel. There are methane based fuel cell units available and a few companies, which have such portable devices now. And some will be online soon;
25 Reasons You Might Need to Wear a Welding Helmet
A welding helmet is a safety device worn for protection while one is welding; however, there are definitely many other uses for a welding helmet. A welding helmet is a very practical that should be found in every home. Here are just a few ways you might find yourself in need of a welding helmet:
The Work-from-home Fashion Primer
Last week, I reported how writers, stay-at-home parents and online marketing geeks had chosen careers as hermits:
Saving SpongeBob Using High Tech
Put Active RFID Satellite Tags in SpongeBobs
Playing Go-Between in the Digital Age
NOTE: This article was originally published in May 2000 at *spark-online.com when my grandmother was alive. I came across the link from my Web site and, after debating whether or not to change anything, decided to leave it. As Jadzia Dax said in STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE, "If you want to know who you are, it's important to know who you've been." Of course, Edna Mode in THE INCREDIBLES SAYS, "I never look back, dahling. It distracts from the now." So I won't look back, i.e. revise, and will present this essay as it originally appeared.
Marines Dont Take Crap
We live in a world of widgets. People manufacture, distribute, and sell them. You name it, they're doing it. I have a friend who is a toilet paper salesman. God bless him. It's an honorable job and my butt and I give him a two ply thumbs up thank you butt it's not something I, personally, could ever do-do. I have a friend who told me once that the litmus test for taking a job is if you meet a girl and you're embarrassed to tell her what you do for a living then you probably shouldn't be doing it. Let me tell you about a career choice I was never embarrassed to tell girls about, the Marines. Make no mistake. The Marines are a business. We manufacture the world's finest fighting force, and distribute them worldwide to sell Democracy. If we have to, we'll kick their you know what, provide toilet paper to wipe their butts, and not even take their names because we wouldn't even know how to pronounce them. The enemy usually needs toilet paper when we get through with them because when they see the Marines land we usually scare the crap out of them. What can I say? War stinks! There's a lot of things Marines do that stink. We don't like it and complain that it's not what we signed up to do. We joined the military to see the world but all we end up seeing is bad weather and bad attitudes. So we say, "If I wanted to deal with this merde I'd have taken a summer vacation in hell or a winter vacation in France. The Germans spanked them, we had to save their butts, and now they're little ungrateful terds. I'd love to see a recruiter now. "You'll get to travel the world." Let's see, where I could have gone in the last ten years, Somalia, Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Baghdad. Wow, can you throw in a free trip to Liberia? It's hard to tell a service member that the grass is never greener on the other side because the places are young men and women go usually don't have grass but war has some positives. For instance, it educates the American people. If you asked most Americans what the capital of South Dakota was they'd say, "I don't know." If you asked them the capital of Afghanistan they'd say, "That's easy, Kabul." They also learn geometry too, hello Sunni Triangle. The only problem is in a few years they might make the mistake of trying to book a vacation to the Sunny Triangle because they heard it was, to use the parlance of our times, "The bomb." Marines actually have to go to these sewer holes. They have to live there and survive and it is no joke to them or their families but they love it. I used to get a kick out of Marines who said, "This is the hardest job in the world. You never sleep and when you do it's in the dirt; you get to go hiking, with a 100 pound rucksack on your back, and you get paid to visit areas of the world you'd never pay money to go on vacation to see, but it's the greatest job in the world. You'll love it." Make no mistake, Marines love their jobs and as you probably know, are "The Few, The Proud." Marines are prouder then game roosters and meaner then cocks. If the Marines made toilet paper it would be two ply steal plates in order to cover their butts when they use the head. Being is a Marine is a dirty job but the best part of it is that we don't take crap from anyone. Every young man and woman should do a stint. If you're interested, go down to your local recruiter and put your signature on a piece of paper, preferably one ply.
Humor Under The Keyboards
For me, the piano is the symbol of what is stiff, proper and elegant. It doesn't have faults, it is perfect. Pianists are the most perfectionist people in the world. They should not and can not make mistakes especially when performing. That is how I viewed the piano and the pianists. But then, I just found out I was wrong. A few researches and I have once again proven that appearances can be deceiving.
When Humans and Dogs Collide: Negotiations for Todays Changing Times
This morning I decided to find myself. I originally looked forward to the spiritual journey that would define who I was as a person. But then I looked into my mirror and realized that the person I saw in that mirror was me. So I then figured, why spend all this time finding myself when I already know where I am?
Sell [Your] Phones
Today while driving I saw a young girl, probably around 11 years old, on a cell phone. She was walking along the side of the street talking to someone, and I couldn't help but think that maybe she was talking to someone across the street because she wasn't allowed to cross it. Whatever the reason, though, there is something about an 11-year-old on a cell phone that legitimately scares me, and it has nothing to do with the fact that she is probably getting more calls than I am...
The Patience of Job
Voltaire said, "God is a comedian playing to an audience afraid to laugh." Translated, if you're a tight ass, there's a two drink minimum to read this article. Let me just say, I believe in God but like many, I've questioned His existence. Most people will say the reason they doubt God's existence is because, "If there's a God, why is there so much suffering, and why is there war?" Blah, Blah, blah, blah blah? My sole reason for doubting the existence of God is work. (I, however, never question the existence of a higher power for I worship at his altar every day from 9 to 5.) If there is a God why do we not have five-day weekends and two-day workweeks? He's God. He can make it happen. In God we trust, right? Well I trust in God to give us a five-day weekend. Think of the positives of a two-day work week. You'd say things like, "Wow, that workweek really flew bye." Think of what it would do for the economy because as Americans what are we really, but consumers? Think of it this way. If the United States Senate can get away with only working 110 days a year, why can't we? Women will have five full days a week to shop, and tell men what to do. Maybe, just maybe, we'll have more time to spend with our kids so they don't remain a bunch of illiterate crack heads. More people might believe in heaven because life on earth won't be such a living hell. I believe, with faith, God will grant us my wish. Let me illustrate through the Bible. Isn't it ironic that in the book of the Bible where the name of the person who suffers the most is spelled J.O.B.? The story of Job is one of perseverance. Job is given leprosy, has his family, money and worldly possessions taken from him and it's all a test of faith. It is a horrible story! I didn't like it when I read it but I said. "Fine, He's God. He can do what He wants. After all, it is His world. Like Job, who am I to question?" What I can question are employers playing the part of God by expecting us to have the patience of Job in order to keep our job. They may not be giving us infectious diseases but they are sure taking our money, ruining our personal lives, and making work a living hell. (Personally, I don't have the patience of Job. I'm like the Prodigal Son--at the first sign of a party I'm off to the fatted cow happy hour for half-price matzoh and dollar shots of Manishevitz. If I need some bread I'll come back in the morning crawling on my hands and knees.) In the Book of Job, Job finally said, "Hey God, how bout a little something for the effort?" God responded, "Don't question my authority but you're right. I have been a little harsh on you." Job then had all his riches returned ten-fold. Now that's pretty just, is it not? Well, I'm asking, "Hey God, how bout a five-day weekend, for the heck of it?" (If you see me on the golf course mid-week you'll know God answered my prayers.)
The Worlds First Comedian?
If you ever saw Aristophanes live on stage, you must be sincerely old. That's because he appeared around 400 B.C., and back then the videos were pretty bad.
Bed Bugs Bite
I just turned on the news a minute ago and wondered why there weren't news flashes regarding when -- and perhaps where -- people are turning on the news. Sometimes it is a slow news week, and there's not much to read in Newsweek, so maybe this could take up some space. I think that's how Neptune got there...
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