Skip to comments.Scotch-Irish Appalachian Vocabulary Quiz
Posted on 03/29/2010 5:52:06 AM PDT by jay1949
Here's the challenge: certain words and phrases characteristic of Appalachian English in Eastern Tennessee and elsewhere can be traced back to Scottish English imported to this country by Scotch-Irish settlers. Some of these are disappearing; others have spread throughout the South; a few seem to be making it into widespread usage. How many do you know? 1. piece; 2. beal, bealing; 3. mend; 4. airish; 5. chancy; 6. muley; 7. bottom; 8. discomfit; 9. singlings; 10. fireboard . . . .
(Excerpt) Read more at backcountrynotes.com ...
jay, it’s Scot/Irish
And I always thought it was Scots/Irish.
Where I live (western Virginia) the prevailing term has always been Scotch Irish, with or without a hyphen; the same for the states of WV, KY, TN, and NC — the states south of the Potomac. North of the Potomac, the prevailing terms are Ulster Scots and Scots-Irish. Everyone thinks the term they use is the right one, so I get corrected no matter what :>( . . . I simply use the term that is traditional here.
Occassionaly the Irish will take a scotch as will the Scots from time to time.
I knew six words. Mom came from Arkansas mountains to Texas with many relatives. Maybe that is where I learned them. We use to say “fixin” as in “I’m fixin’ to shuffle the cards or clean the floor” and “idie” (idea) as in “I have an idie where I left my keys”.
I go to this link and on the side, on listed blogs, I find my best friend’s blog listed! She lives in VA, but that’s so strange and funny.
That’s weird. I live in soutern North Carolina and always read and hear Scots-Irish. Oh well, it shows to go you.
I solidly knew 6 and was able to guess at 8 but “bealing” and “fireboard” had me stumped.
Guess I’m from too far east (Amherst County, VA, at the foot of the Blue Ridge) since I only knew four.
You can still hear a bit of the old Scotch/Irish in the accents of folks in parts of the foothills and mountains. When my wife-to-be met my mom (born and bred native of Lynchburg, VA) for the first time, as we left, she turned to me and said, “You never told me your mom came over from Scotland when she was little.” I blinked and said, “no, she’s lived within 20 miles of here her entire life!” I guess it’s the way she sounded “ou” words like “house” (almost comes out “hoowse”) that caught my Georgia-bred wife’s attention. Oddly enough, I didn’t pick that accent up at all, despite both parents having it.
I got five as well. Never heard of bealings.
Really appreciate your postings.
Additionally, many ofmy relatives use ‘of’ in a different way, such as ‘feel of that’ or ‘taste of that’.
What’s the regional use of frying pan vs. skillet?
The Ozark Mountains dialect and the Appalachian dialect are very closely related — many Ozarks settlers came from Southern Appalachia.
I know there's a strong strain of Scot in my father's family, since we were able to trace them from Scotland to France to Georgia (USA) to North Caroline. Likewise, there's a strong strain of Irish in my mother's family.
And, yes, I feel a strong desire to stand up and dance when I hear a Celtic jig. However, I believe bagpipes are best appreciated from a distance...about 3,500 miles worth.
small world, isn’t it?
There’s an essay by Prof. Montgomery here: http://www.ulsterscotslanguage.com/en/texts/scotch-irish/scotch-irish-or-scots-irish/
He must know what he’s talking about — the essay runs 2-1/2 pages and the footnotes are almost 3-1/2 pages ;>)
“If all else fails, I will retreat up the valley of Virginia, plant my flag on the Blue Ridge, rally around the Scots-Irish of that region, and make my last stand for liberty amongst a people who will never submit to British tyranny whilst there is a man left to draw a trigger.”
George Washington, at Valley Forge.
fry·ing pan -- n. A shallow, long-handled pan used for frying food. Also called skillet; also called regionally fry pan, spider. The terms frying pan and skillet are now virtually interchangeable, but there was a time when they were so regional as to be distinct dialect markers. Frying pan and the shortened version fry pan were once New England terms; frying pan is now in general use, as is the less common fry pan, now heard in the Atlantic states, the South, and the West, as well as New England. Skillet seems to have been confined to the Midland section of the country, including the Upper South. Its use is still concentrated there, but it is no longer used in that area alone, probably because of the national marketing of skillet dinner mixes. The term spider, originally denoting a type of frying pan that had long legs to hold it up over the coals, spread from New England westward to the Upper Northern states and down the coast to the South Atlantic states. It is still well known in both these regions, although it is now considered old-fashioned. See Note at andiron.
skil·let -- n. 1. See frying pan. See Regional Notes at andiron, frying pan. 2. Chiefly British A long-handled stewing pan or saucepan sometimes having legs.
I only knew 5 for sure too. Piece, mend, chancy, bottom, discomfit. I don’t know how I knew them because I grew up in CA.
A Great Book:
Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America
by James Webb
the Scots-Irish were 40 percent of the Revolutionary War army; they included the pioneers Daniel Boone, Lewis and Clark, Davy Crockett, and Sam Houston; and they have given America numerous great military leaders, including Stonewall Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Audie Murphy, and George S. Patton, as well as most of the soldiers of the Confederacy (only 5 percent of whom owned slaves, and who fought against what they viewed as an invading army).
It illustrates how the Scots-Irish redefined American politics, creating the populist movement and giving the country a dozen presidents, including Andrew Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan. And it explores how the Scots-Irish culture of isolation, hard luck, stubbornness, and mistrust of the nation’s elite formed and still dominates blue-collar America, the military services, the Bible Belt, and country music.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.