Appalachian English, also known as Mountain Speech or Hillbilly English, is the dialect of the Appalachian region.
Appalachian English is derived from Scottish and English settlers, and it’s unlike any other slang language in the world. But it’s hardly a niche dialect. According to the 2010 census, more than 25 million Americans live in the Appalachian region.
This dialect is defined by colloquialisms unique to its territories. The Appalachian Mountains stretch all the way from Alabama to Canada. But Appalachian English is generally heard in the mountain’s central and southern areas, including parts of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. Many of the slang terms represent activities and topics relevant to this area. A documentary film called Mountain Talk dug into the dialect and described some of the surprising words terms that most of outside Appalachia have never heard.
A cornerstone of the Appalachian dialect is the omission of the final “g” in words ending in “-ing.” Vowel sounds are drawn out, syllables are added and “i” sounds are flattened. For those who don’t speak Hillbilly, it can be difficult to understand Appalachian accents.
How well do you know Appalachian English words and phrases? Test your knowledge below.
1. “I don’t chew my cabbage twice.”
I’m not going to repeat myself.
It’s cold outside.
Almost or nearly
4. “I ain’t seen you in a coon’s age.”
I haven’t seen you in a while.
A dusting of snow
A shopping cart
Plural of you, similar to “y’all”
10. “Was you born in a barn?”
Shut the door.