Appalachian y and er

2011-05-14 11_16_52Southern Appalachia is an interesting place.

As my culture, there are so many things I love about it. The fierce loyalty of family, the sense of community, the independent spirit and resourcefulness. Of course there are things I’m not too fond of either – the suspicion, the sometimes insular nature of people, the tendency to be fearful of the unknown. And then their is the culturally…um…unique things?

One is the tendency to put a ‘y’ on the end of words that end in an ‘a’. For example, instead of saying “I want an extra cup”, you might hear “I want an extry cup.” The name Sarah might be said “Sary”. Many a Laura naturally became Laurie 🙂

In some cases the ‘a’ will be changed to ‘er’. I had a relative whose name was switched from Edna to Edner.

Then there’s the modification of words that end in ‘o’ or ‘ow’. Notice, there are rules for this particular dialect. Funny, huh? We don’t usually think of them as dialect rules, just mispronunciations (unless you’re from ’round hyere).

Potato become tater

Tomato becomes mater

Hollow become holler

Yellow becomes yeller

Have you ever heard of these? What is a rule in your dialect?

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2 thoughts on “Appalachian y and er

  1. I just returned from visiting Kentucky last week and heard A LOT of these pronunciations. I gotta tell you, I love the Southern drawl. Something that made me chuckle was everyone called me “honey”. The South has such a sweet charm. 🙂

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