Eco author in Asheville April 6 Citizen science can foster earth-saving policies Journalist Mary Ellen Hannibal, author of Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction, speaks at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café, 7 p.m., Thursday, April 6 in conversation with Mallory McDuff, Warren Wilson…See More
Julia Nunnally Duncan will be a featured author and reader at the Appalachian Authors Book Signing and Reading to be held at the Historic Carson House on Saturday, April 8 from 10-3. She will debut her new poetry collection A Part of Me. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.See More
History of Asheville’s homeless: humanity on trialby Rob NeufeldPHOTO CAPTION: Jim Parton and Kirk Faulkner, two homeless men at A-Hope, where Jim is getting help finding housing and Kirk is making job connections. Photo, 2017, by Rob Neufeld.“I admire my daddy more than any other human on…See More
A.K. Benninghofen, Lockie Hunter and Beth Keefauver will offer a free reading at the next installment of the Writers at Home series, presented by UNC Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program (GSWP), at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 19, at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café, 55 Haywood Street in Asheville. This monthly series of free readings is hosted by GSWP director and novelist Tommy Hays.See More
A reading by poet, multi-genre artist, and core member of the Affrilachian Poets Bianca Spriggs in the Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series at Appalachian State. Spriggs will also present a craft talk from 12:30-1:45 in the Price Lake Room of the Plemmons Student Union. Free admission.For more info, see the press release http://www.news.appstate.edu/2017/03/06/bianca-spriggs/Parking info is at parking.appstate.edu.…See More
HESTER Growing up in Asheville, N.C. in the 50’s and 60’s seemed, at the time, to be filled with a rhythm of adventure and strange encounters sprinkled with an assortment of particularly interesting and somewhat odd characters. One of those persons who fascinated me as a child was my father’s friend “Hester. “ My dad was about as straight an arrow as anyone could find. He seemed to a preadolescent, somewhat indolent son, frankly boring. Looking back from a perspective of 70 years, I…See More
African-American musicians flourished in Asheville neighborhoodsby Rob NeufeldPHOTO CAPTION: The Outcasts, the state’s Battle of the Bands winner in 1979, included: (kneeling l to r) Edward Stout, saxophonist; Darriel Jones, drummer; (seated) Patricia McAfee, vocalist; (standing l to r) Marvin Seabrooks, trombonist; Mike…See More
According to the Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore, the game Blind Man's Bluff is as old as the 16th Century. It was a game I never liked playing as a kid. I was always afraid someone would get hurt-namely me! Its one of those games that makes grown-ups yell things like "Somebodys going to…See More
"Thanks for sharing this Rob--and the book plug too. I have never seen this photo before. I have several others from the 1942 article, but this was a new one. The man on the truck looking down is WWII hero Little George Plott--who I profiled in my…"
I'm amazed at how speech shows a richer and richer vocabulary the more you go into its country. Not only southern mountain talk, but also the talk of Western North Carolina, and communities within WNC. Then, there are cross-currents of rich language--such as the talk of specialized occupations.
I'm reading "The Life of the Skies" by Jonathan Rosen. He talks about falling in love with birders' vocabulary--the range of descriptions of colors; the species names. The English name, "yellow-rumped warbler," focuses on a "colorful patch on its ass," whereas the Latin, Dendroica coronata, chooses to point out the bird's crown.
Yeah, that's right, the warbler-namers are scientists, and they can focus on an ass or a noggin without fear of seeming vulgar.
I just recently spoke with a teen who says vulgar is okay because the words are in the dictionary. I might have encouraged him to get more dictionaries and expand his vocabulary. But the real answer to his point is the question, "Where do you use common speech?" For instance, web blogs and forums are casual and smart; whereas, high school papers and grown-up board rooms are as formal as a urologist with test results.
Sometimes you can't be real or funny without vulgarities. I remember the joke in McCabe in Mrs Miller. An eagle swallowed a worm, flew up into the clouds, and worked the worm through its system. The worm's head poked out the eagle's other end. "Where am I?" the worm inquired. "10,000 feet above the ground," the eagle replied, which prompted the worm to gasp, "You wouldn't sh-t me now, would you?"
I'm not so impressed by dialects as I am language in general. My favorite word is naught, which means "nothing." The derivation is OE which was fathered by Old High Geman and most likely Welsh--since English and German had a little snuggle-tickle down yonder. The modern German term for nothing is nichts, where only a slight repositioning of the tongue changes the vowel. Just try it. Say naught and then pull your tongue back a little and hear what you get. All of this, of course, brings me to my fascination with "you'ns." In this state, I only hear you'ns from Morganton west. When I moved to Asheville, you'ns was everywhere--drove me nuts with the idiocy encapsulated by the sound of the word. But I soon learned that some of the settlers of this area came from southern England, where many counties' "ya'll" equivalent was "you ones" or "we ones--" to give or take clipped sounds--which is how we now have "you'ns." I'll still take ya'll over you'ns any day, and though America has embraced ya'll, I don't think they'll ever be ready for you'ns--especially since I don't know how to really spell it.
Jodi, “y’all” is not in the mountaineer’s lexicon. That’s a lowland southern word. You will never hear old-timers here say “y’all” in a serious manner. You’ll hear them say “you’uns” or “youns”/"yuns" (“you ones”), but never “y’all” unless they’re simply obliging the tourists. “Y’all” is a broad southern contraction of “YOU all” (with emphasis on “you”). Mountaineers do say, “You ALL are invited….”
When you hear someone say “y’all” around here, you know he is (1) a lowland southerner transplanted here, (2) a non-southerner who is trying to sound southern, (3) an older mountaineer who is simply obliging outlanders who want to hear it, or (4) a young mountaineer who has adopted broad southern speech and really doesn’t know the difference.
Southern Appalachian-speak is a subset of southern-speak, but southern is not necessarily Appalachian. Other distinct sub-sets of southern-speak are Cajun and Tex-Mex. Actually, Smoky Mountain English is a subset of Southern Appalachian, and many linguists think it has retained the oldest usage within the Appalachian range. Some linguists have even spent countless hours finding parallels with and vestiges of Elizabethan English.
You might like the DICTIONARY OF SMOKY MOUNTAIN ENGLISH collected by Michael B. Montgomery and Joseph S. Hall from extensive recordings and research of language in the WNC-ET region. It’s huge and expensive, but a fascinating reference for anyone who lives here. You can find it at local booksellers, Amazon, etc.