Skip to comments.Scotch-Irish Appalachian Vocabulary Quiz No. 2
Posted on 04/05/2010 8:33:37 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. 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. backset; 2. let on; 3. bonny-clabber; 4. palings; 5. redd up; 6. creel; 7. kindling; 8. hull; 9. nicker; 10. whenever. (I knew 5 of the 10, so that makes me 'bout half smart . . .)
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2. let on
In Pittsburgh we say “redd up.” Kindling is also not unknown here. The others? Never heard of them. Thanks for the thread.
I don’t see how half of them are Appalachian English. Words and phrases like “to let on,” “kindling,” “hull,” are just basic English, many of them older than the settlement of the Appalachian.
I got 8 out of 10. :)
That's when you finish the newspaper.
Words I learned in Scranton that are NOT standard English:
“Up the ein-in” (North)
“Haynuh” (”Ain’t it?”)
“buddy me” (accompany)
“Corpse House” (funeral house)
“Fire Barn” (fire house)
“Haynuh left, Haynuh posta” (prohibited)
“upposta” (required to)
“artics” (winter boots, from “arctic”)
“Aunt Sally” (toilet, from “Salle du bain”, French for ‘bathroom’?)
“ate up” (satiated hunger)
“hook me up” (get some for me)
“wrecked into” (crashed into)
“ver-shtay” (Understand, probably from Pennsylvania Dutch (German))
Yins’ll redd up the hahs before company comes, then go down to the Sahside fer a chipped ham sammitch.
I thought it would have been shucked, e.g., we shucked some peas to cook for dinner.
Here’s another, “hippins”.
“I dont see how half of them are Appalachian English. Words and phrases like to let on, kindling, hull, are just basic English, many of them older than the settlement of the Appalachian.”
I think that is precisely the point. The idiomatic language of the Scots Irish originated in Britain and was brought to America with the settlement of the Irish Protestants in the Appalachian area of the US. The words themselves are old English or as in the case of a word like “kindling” are of Nordic etymology. The isolation of mountain people allowed them to hang onto the original language much longer than the rest of the USA.
My point is: since when did the rest of the USA lose words like “hull,” “kindling,” etc.?
Another interesting word of Scottish origin that I encounter from time to time is “chimbley” for “chimney”.
Several colloquialisms for rural southerners come from the Scots well:
Hillbilly - from the casual term for a follower of King William III of Orange in the 17th century. This is the William of “William and Mary” who fought the return of Catholic rule to England.
Redneck - supporters of the National Covenant of 1638 declared that Scotland embraced democratic church governance and rejected the Church of England. Some signed in blood and wore a red kerchief around their necks.
Cracker - from crac, crack, craic, kracken; a word that goes way back at least as far as Old High German, passed to Anglo-Saxon, to Old English, to Gaelic. Across the ocean crack has come to mean “good times” including friends, merriment, music, food and drink. As a pejorative the meaning of cracker leans toward someone who is a boastful, frivolous, liar.
“Redneck - supporters of the National Covenant of 1638 declared that Scotland embraced democratic church governance and rejected the Church of England. Some signed in blood and wore a red kerchief around their necks”
This may have historical veracity, but I think the use of the word, “redneck” comes from the red bananas miners used in the coal mines of Appalachia.
The problem with the miner’s etymology is that it refers to declarations of union loyalty by miners in the early 20th century while the use of “redneck” for working class southerners far predates that period.
“The problem with the miners etymology is that it refers to declarations of union loyalty by miners in the early 20th century while the use of redneck for working class southerners far predates that period.”
I am not sure how far this term predates the miner’s description. I would think that during the Civil War, if the term redneck was in use, it would have been bandied about by the Union army as an insult to the Confederates. But I have never seen that term used in any Civil War writings. It may have evolved from a later 19th century usage focusing on the fact that many rural southerners literally had rednecks from working out in the hot sun. I have to look this one up. It is interesting.
I knew 7.
Thanks hennie pennie.
I scored “5” on each quiz — I guess I could have cheated and picked more words that I did know, but what fun would that be? So far I haven’t heard from anyone claiming to have gotten them all.
Where I live I hear the word “chimly” for “chimney.” “Chimly” shows up in the poetry of Robert Burns — definitely a Scottish origin.
My grandfather from Rockingham County Va died in 2000 at age 100.
He used many of those and more. I would like to see the 1st test. :)
Some of the definitions seemed different from what I know, but you might be right.
bump for later
Thanks. I got 7 of those too.
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