Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Language with gumption

When you’re talking with family, are you liable to let down your guard a little and use a bit more Appalachian English and a bit less Standard American 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." 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!" While we’re at it, here’s a little mini-dictionary to amuse the lexicographers:

A little past plumb-----not right in the head
Atter wile-----------------after a while
Back door trots-------------diarreah
Beer Eats-----fastfood joint
Can't put an old head on young shoulders--intelligence differences
Dead dog tired--------- weary
Don't swing so big----don't swing so high
Dreckly-----directly, in a short while
Fast as greased lightning------------speedy
Fixing to-----getting ready to
Full of spunk------------ spirited
Gittin too big for his britches-----conceited
Gommin' up the table------making a mess
Gumption-- drive or spirit
Jerk a knot in your tail-----parent to unruly kid
Juberous----- leery
Made the riffle------ completed a business deal
Nary a one----don't have any at all
Ninny----short for nincompoop
Nussing----- nursing
Peep-Eye-----same as peek-a-boo
Pime blank---exactly
Play purties-----toys
Poor as Job's turkey----------without funds
Reach me that-----give me that
Shirky--------doing a job poorly
Shite poke-----skinny, sickly looking
Slop jar-----a chamber pot
Sober as a judge-------sobriety
Spoondiken------also known as 'courting'
This milk's blinky-------spoiled milk
Three sheets in the wind----------intoxicated
Too slow to stop quick---------- pokey
Weed monkey----a loose woman
With-----tree branch, used for punishment
Woods colt-----child born out of wedlock

Originally blogged at Appalachian History


Jeremy Peters said...

Here are a few more:


Have a mind to----Intend to (do something)


Poke----Paper Bag


Sody Dope----Coca-cola, Soda, Pop


Margaret said...

My grandmother had some interested words: a bag was a "poke," which she would "tote" instead of carry. People "fit" instead of fought and we had "ham meat" biscuits instead of plain old ham biscuits. I know there were more, but those are the ones that stuck with me. Oh, and don't forget "ataway" as in he went that way. By the way, what about the word "toboggan." That word for me meant first "a winter hat," and second a "sled." Once Tyler used that word in Charlottesville and people thought he was crazy. The only people I have ever met who use the word toboggan for a hat are from SWVA.

CS said...

And "I don't care to.." meaning "I don't mind..." That one threw me at first, because it's the opposite of its normal usage. Now I say it all the time!

Amanderpanderer said...

I thought toboggan (or "Boggin") was the only word for a winter hat...I got a lot of stares in Michigan (it is a sled there).

Ditto with Mango, I meant tropical fruit, mamaw heard green bell pepper. It were confusing.

My family has a lot of,, normal phrases that would seem inappropriate to others, but are just common usage to us.