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Talking Appalachian English -- and Scotch-Irish
Backcountry Notes ^ | March 14, 2010 | Jay Henderson

Posted on 03/14/2010 10:30:44 AM PDT by jay1949

Are yous up for a few more words on the subject of Appalachian English? The words for today being "yous" and "you'ns," along with variant spellings like "youse," "yooz," "you-uns," and "youens," and their Scotch-Irish roots. The traditional speech of the Backcountry is not a "corrupt" dialect, as is often assumed by those from "yonder" and “away,” and its roots can be traced to the places from whence the Backcountry settlers originated. "Yous" or "youse" as the plural form of "you" is of ancient origin and came to America with Scotch-Irish settlers in early colonial times.

(Excerpt) Read more at backcountrynotes.com ...


TOPICS: History; Society
KEYWORDS: appalachia; appalachian; appalachianenglish; dialect; language; rural; scotchirish; scotsirish
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1 posted on 03/14/2010 10:30:45 AM PDT by jay1949
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To: jay1949

Marked. Interesting...


2 posted on 03/14/2010 10:32:52 AM PDT by SMCC1
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To: SMCC1

We need to red up this thread.


3 posted on 03/14/2010 10:34:05 AM PDT by Paladin2
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To: jay1949

I remember being made fun of when I was in high school for saying “I recon.” I’m originally from VA and we all spoke that way. I hear Brits say that all the time.


4 posted on 03/14/2010 10:35:37 AM PDT by gattaca (Great things can be accomplished if you don't care who gets the credit. Ronald Reagan)
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To: Paladin2

Yous got that right.

Many of the appalachain tunes can trace their melodies back to England/ScotIreland too. Change of words and a few melodic adaptations.


5 posted on 03/14/2010 10:39:33 AM PDT by hoosiermama (ONLY DEAD FISH GO WITH THE FLOW.......I am swimming with Sarahcudah! Sarah has read the tealeaves.)
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To: jay1949

I never associated ‘youse’ with the Scots Irish. Until the recent,last 30 yrs, massive hispanic and Asian influx into NYC, youse was always associated with the poorer ethnic neighborhoods of NYC. I grew up with youse the same way I grew up with jeet jet, and dropping interior Rs, Noo Yawk, fowud, pattun. So I’m curious as to the Scots Irish connections. Until now the only place I could go and not be immediately identified as a New Yorker were certain sections of ethnic New Orleans.


6 posted on 03/14/2010 10:40:39 AM PDT by xkaydet65
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To: Paladin2

I grew up in Western PA...I know what it means to “red up” :-) I was also born a “yinzer” but spent enough time in the military and in the deep south that I’m now a “y’aller”, although I still go fishing in a crick...


7 posted on 03/14/2010 10:41:22 AM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: Earthdweller; MasonGal; Republic; Miss Marple

The source of the “Southern Indiana” drawl.


8 posted on 03/14/2010 10:46:02 AM PDT by hoosiermama (ONLY DEAD FISH GO WITH THE FLOW.......I am swimming with Sarahcudah! Sarah has read the tealeaves.)
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To: jay1949

BTTT


9 posted on 03/14/2010 10:48:08 AM PDT by Fiddlstix (Warning! This Is A Subliminal Tagline! Read it at your own risk!(Presented by TagLines R US))
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To: jay1949

A “Scot’’ is a person from Scotland. “Scotch’’ is liquor.


10 posted on 03/14/2010 10:49:54 AM PDT by John-Irish ("Shame of him who thinks of it''.)
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To: jay1949

They say “yoos” in Chicago, too.


11 posted on 03/14/2010 10:58:38 AM PDT by FrdmLvr ("The people will believe what the media tells them they believe." Orwell)
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To: jay1949

I associate ‘youse’ with the northeast — cities, actually -— and ‘youins’ with the lower Midwest, like lower Illinois and Indiana.

‘You-all’ is south.

English at present doesn’t have a second person plural so all of these are attempts to provide one.

I still can’t figure out where the hills accent came from. I know that ethnically we are Scots-Irish but lowland Scots don’t sound anything like the Appalachian or hills speech.

On the other hand the true northeastern accent, and the Boston accent, do sound like some of the speech patterns in rural England.

People from Newfoundland sound like they just got off the boat from Ireland.


12 posted on 03/14/2010 10:58:42 AM PDT by squarebarb
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To: hoosiermama
I learned about this when I was doing genealogy...fun stuff. Most of the songs in the south are based on the Scotch/Irish rhythms...even the dancing style. NYers don't need to be trashing their southern cousins, just ‘cause they don't like cement ponds. :)
13 posted on 03/14/2010 10:59:58 AM PDT by Earthdweller (Harvard won the election again...so what's the problem.......?)
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To: jay1949

Ya’ll don’t let the bossman catch you reading this thread.


14 posted on 03/14/2010 11:00:42 AM PDT by PeteB570 (Airborne, the only way to get to work in the morning.)
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To: Earthdweller

Oops...Scot/Irish. It’s really an easy mistake...even for a Scot...Not very nice when you think about it.


15 posted on 03/14/2010 11:02:44 AM PDT by Earthdweller (Harvard won the election again...so what's the problem.......?)
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To: squarebarb
and ‘youins’ with the lower Midwest, like lower Illinois and Indiana.

They may say it there, but my first encounter with "youins" and where I consistently hear it today is in....east Tennessee. My wife is from an upper middle class family in Knoxville and I don't hear her say it as much. But my brother-in-law in Sevier County sure does.

16 posted on 03/14/2010 11:05:11 AM PDT by lovecraft (Specialization is for insects.)
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To: xkaydet65

Jay, from what I understand the New York dialect is spoken in two places, the NY area and certain segments of New Orleans. NY traders moved to NO and brought their dialect with them. The NY dialect still exists and being a Bronx, Irish, Catholic cop I speak it. It’s just undergoing changes just like it always has since the Dutch.


17 posted on 03/14/2010 11:06:21 AM PDT by BiggieLittle
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To: squarebarb
I'm in northern Indiana...mostly immigrated from the East. I think most of the southern twang is fun to listen to. I'll tell you the one that ticks me off...Woa-man. It's woman...nothing woeful about it...dagnabit.
18 posted on 03/14/2010 11:11:24 AM PDT by Earthdweller (Harvard won the election again...so what's the problem.......?)
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To: BiggieLittle

By virtue of it being New Orleans it can’t be the “New York drawl.” It is known as the 9th ward drawl because historically it was present primarily among ethnic whites in the 9th ward.


19 posted on 03/14/2010 11:12:23 AM PDT by AzaleaCity5691
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To: lovecraft

Yes, you’re right, it is used in East Tennessee.

From what I have heard the East Tennessee accent is in a class by itself. they say ‘bewk’ for book, in other words pronouncing ‘book’ to rhyme with ‘boo’. East Tennesseans do sound a bit like Lowland Scots, or the ‘Lallands’ dialect.

A beautiful style of speech BTW.


20 posted on 03/14/2010 11:13:49 AM PDT by squarebarb
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To: hoosiermama
I highly recommend this movie to yous for its respectful portrayal of Appalachian speech and songs:

Songcatcher.

21 posted on 03/14/2010 11:16:19 AM PDT by Defiant (We are in a battle to the death between Karl and George. I will stand and fight for George.)
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To: AzaleaCity5691

Meant no disrespect to you folks down South. I read on Wikpedia that it’s called “yat”.


22 posted on 03/14/2010 11:21:31 AM PDT by BiggieLittle
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To: squarebarb
A beautiful style of speech BTW.

So beautiful my family married into it! My sister married a great guy from there first and then I met my wife in Knoxville after college. South Carolina and East Tennessee seem to be good fits for each other. :)

23 posted on 03/14/2010 11:23:01 AM PDT by lovecraft (Specialization is for insects.)
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To: Earthdweller; onyx

It’s like the word dead.

You can tell where a person is from by how many syllables
Dead =1
deadyud=2
deadyuduh=3

Had two boys in class who spelled their names the same.

One was call Jir-my
the other Jar-ah-me.


24 posted on 03/14/2010 11:23:40 AM PDT by hoosiermama (ONLY DEAD FISH GO WITH THE FLOW.......I am swimming with Sarahcudah! Sarah has read the tealeaves.)
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To: xkaydet65

I suspect there are multiple origins for the New York City versions like “youse guys,” but it is something I haven’t studied on. There were a lot of Catholic Irish who came to New York City after the potato famine and the “youse” form occurs in many parts of Ireland, so that is a strong possibility.


25 posted on 03/14/2010 11:23:53 AM PDT by jay1949 (Work is the curse of the blogging class)
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To: hoosiermama

Many of my distant kinsmen and their neighbors migrated from the central North Carolina Piedmont to Clay County, Indiana, in the 1820s and 1830s. Such folk tended to move as a community and would have taken their dialect with them.


26 posted on 03/14/2010 11:26:36 AM PDT by jay1949 (Work is the curse of the blogging class)
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To: BiggieLittle

35 years ago I began teaching in Catholic school in Ridgewood,on the B’klyn/Queens border. My kids spoke much the same way I did. Today I am still in contact with many of them and we all share that Noo Yawk dialect. I just retired from the DoE after 25 years in Woodside Queens. Many of my kids,even those born here, are of Latin and Asian background and their accents and mine are quite dissimilar. One group of Hispanics I’ve noticed have kept the old NY accent are the Puerto Ricans. Often I’ll be watching the news and hear a person interviewed on the street who sounds like me. I’ll look up and see a dark skinned fellow with a name like Rodriguez. Since you’re on the job I guess you’ve encountered many Puerto Rican officers with these old NYC speech patterns.


27 posted on 03/14/2010 11:28:29 AM PDT by xkaydet65
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To: jay1949

So “yall” “y’all” is slang for yous?


28 posted on 03/14/2010 11:32:40 AM PDT by dps.inspect
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To: John-Irish
Definitions of scotch and scotch Definition of scottish The word "Scotch" is not limited to whiskey (my drug of choice being Jura single-malt, BTW) and the term "Scotch-Irish" is traditional, "Scot-Irish" having become popular more recently. My mother's grandfather, who was born in Scotland, described himself as being "Scotch." Of course, that may have been a double-entendre, as he was known to be quite fond of Scotch, the whiskey.
29 posted on 03/14/2010 11:35:54 AM PDT by jay1949 (Work is the curse of the blogging class)
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To: dps.inspect

We was yuzzed! It happened in a diner in Eastern Pennsylvania. “Can I get anyting else for yuz, Hon? I wonder if that is a variation.


30 posted on 03/14/2010 11:38:47 AM PDT by passionfruit (When illegals become legal, even they won't do the work Americans won't do)
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To: hoosiermama
Funniest one I ever hear was a southern woman trying to say psychological. I hate speech bullies but I couldn't help but burst out laughing...I felt so bad.

It was like sock-o-lodge-ico...the emphasis was like a choppy 'sock-it-to-me' with a lodge thrown in. I about died...

31 posted on 03/14/2010 11:40:21 AM PDT by Earthdweller (Harvard won the election again...so what's the problem.......?)
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To: FrdmLvr

Youse is common in and around Philadelphia-pronounced “Flelfya”.


32 posted on 03/14/2010 11:40:27 AM PDT by Fresh Wind ("...a whip of political correctness strangles their voice"-Vaclav Klaus on GW skeptics)
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To: dps.inspect

Not really; same idea, but with independent origins.

One of the points of my article is that words like “yous” and “you’ns” aren’t slang; they were accepted forms which eventually weren’t taken into “standard” American English.


33 posted on 03/14/2010 11:42:43 AM PDT by jay1949 (Work is the curse of the blogging class)
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To: jay1949

I’m an American. My people came from Ireland. However I was born and raised in Kearny, NJ. At the time I lived there Kearny had loads of Scots living there. Knew tons of ‘em and woe be someone who used the word “Scotch’’ around any Scot in Kearny NJ.


34 posted on 03/14/2010 11:43:57 AM PDT by John-Irish ("Shame of him who thinks of it''.)
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To: jay1949

I’m amazed you took my post seriously.


35 posted on 03/14/2010 11:50:10 AM PDT by dps.inspect
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To: passionfruit

It was in a restaraunt near the Poconos I first heard Youse guys...thought then it was hard to say the two together...sounded like poor english until obvious more of it was used along the way.

Moving inland to Western Pa. someone mentioned “pop”...had no idea they met soda! Ha! sounds so funny..PoP.

The to Western border of Ohio it became you-ens.


36 posted on 03/14/2010 11:51:46 AM PDT by caww
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To: dps.inspect

I tend to do that unless someone puts the ;>) thing at the end.


37 posted on 03/14/2010 11:52:19 AM PDT by jay1949 (Work is the curse of the blogging class)
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To: caww

“Pop” is the standard term in most of western Virginia also. East of the Blue Ridge, it is generally “soda.” Which one sounds funny depends on which one you grew up with, I suppose.


38 posted on 03/14/2010 12:00:09 PM PDT by jay1949 (Work is the curse of the blogging class)
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To: John-Irish
woe be someone who used the word “Scotch" around any Scot in Kearny NJ.

Unless a glass and some ice were involved, I presume.

39 posted on 03/14/2010 12:03:03 PM PDT by jay1949 (Work is the curse of the blogging class)
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To: lovecraft; squarebarb

I have a copy somewhere of several pages from a court reporter’s transcript, from about 1990, so not at all ancient, filed in Washington County, Virginia — very close to Sevier County, TN — where the term is written as “youens.” Also, the word “yous” appears several times.


40 posted on 03/14/2010 12:08:35 PM PDT by jay1949 (Work is the curse of the blogging class)
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To: jay1949

Songcatcher (2000)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0210299/

...deals with this very subject, only in musical lyrics. Beautiful folk singing and fiddle playing in this movie.


41 posted on 03/14/2010 12:11:16 PM PDT by Lorianne
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To: jay1949

When we traced my father’s mother branch of the tree, we found that her grandparents were listed on the same ship’s manifest coming in at the port of GalVESton...Ironically there was also a listing of a person with the same name as my Great-grandfather on my mother’s side of the family.

We teased mom and dad that the reason that they look so much alike is they were related in the ol’ country.

It is my paternal grandfather branch that came from Ulster area. Sis went over to find any history. The church burnt in 1843 all record were lost. They came over in 1841. She did meet a gentleman the same age as my father with Gardner last name. She said he could have been dad’s double.

He also was able to explain that Jane and Jenny were the same person.


42 posted on 03/14/2010 12:13:04 PM PDT by hoosiermama (ONLY DEAD FISH GO WITH THE FLOW.......I am swimming with Sarahcudah! Sarah has read the tealeaves.)
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To: jay1949

LOL Since I am a complete mix of Irish,English,Welsh,and German you can only imagine what comes out of my mouth. Y’all and youse is very common to hear here.


43 posted on 03/14/2010 12:18:21 PM PDT by chris_bdba
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To: hoosiermama

Yes, older Texans pronounce it Gal VEZ ton. because the person who founded the settlement was named Galvez, with the accent on the last syllable (don’t know how to get an accent out of this keyboard).


44 posted on 03/14/2010 12:24:15 PM PDT by squarebarb
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To: squarebarb

Dad is ninty and pronouces it that way because that’s how his family here in Indiana said it. The family were greenbacks* who came up the Mississippi and the Ohio Rivers. The settled in Southern Indiana and ran one of the early stone quarries (Before Oolitic was discovered) Several Courthouses in the southern part of the state have their names attacked as stone masons.

My sis jokes if they send the greenbacks back will we have to go too.


45 posted on 03/14/2010 12:56:37 PM PDT by hoosiermama (ONLY DEAD FISH GO WITH THE FLOW.......I am swimming with Sarahcudah! Sarah has read the tealeaves.)
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To: Fresh Wind

Flelfya — I’ve been there — it’s kinda north-east of Ballimer, MD.


46 posted on 03/14/2010 12:57:54 PM PDT by jay1949 (Work is the curse of the blogging class)
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To: chris_bdba; SMCC1; Paladin2; hoosiermama; squarebarb; lovecraft

For anyone interested in the Scotch-Irish contribution to Appalachian English, I recommend two papers by Michael Montgomery of the University of South Carolina:

1. The Roots of Appalachian English: Scotch-Irish or Southern British? (Appalachian Studies Conference, 1990).

2. How Scotch-Irish Is Your English? The Ulster Heritage of East Tennessee Speech (Journal of East Tennessee History 1995).

I have hard copies of these but they are probably still available on-line.


47 posted on 03/14/2010 12:59:37 PM PDT by jay1949 (Work is the curse of the blogging class)
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To: jay1949

Aye laddie, only then.


48 posted on 03/14/2010 1:24:04 PM PDT by John-Irish ("Shame of him who thinks of it''.)
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To: hoosiermama

My father worked as a maintenance supervisor for a local school district. One of his janitors was from way rural Appalachia. One day he asked where another guy was.

Clarence answered, “He be up in yon balcomb.” (Translation..He’s up in the balcony of the auditorium.)

All the other guys laughed. My dad didn’t. Self-educated, he recognized archaic speech for what it was. He was very fond of Alistair Cooke’s special “The Story of English” and often remarked on the patterns he ran into in different parts of the South.


49 posted on 03/14/2010 1:29:24 PM PDT by Miss Marple
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To: jay1949

Amazing...


50 posted on 03/14/2010 3:49:49 PM PDT by dps.inspect
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