Are you a fan of The Hunger Games? Then picture what Katniss would be like - with a gun. That's just a taste of the "new" West action Lyndsay Eli brings to Spellbound Children's Bookshop with Gunslinger Girl. She shares her debut novel on Saturday, January 20, at 6 p.m. The US has been fractured by a Second Civil War. Serendipity 'Pity' Jones finds a home of sorts in the corrupt, lawless city of Cessation (think Las Vegas on steroids). Her shooting skills make her a star of the Theater…See More
Two Big Cultural Events in December in Hendersonville & Ashevillefrom press releaseThe Center for Cultural Preservation, WNC’s cultural history and documentary film center, presents, Cherokee Music and Dance on Thursday, December 7, 7 p.m., Blue Ridge Community College’s Thomas Auditorium. Tickets are $5. The screening of A Great American Tapestry will be held on December 2, 2 p.m., at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Reuter Center, UNC Asheville. Tickets for that event are…See More
Dave Minneman and a sense of justiceby Rob NeufeldPHOTO CAPTION: Dave Minneman doing research at Pack Memorial Library. Photo by author. “One of the biggest things I did as a kid, in order to escape my father,” Asheville resident Dave Minneman says of his 1960s and 70s rural Indiana childhood, “was…See More
Julia Nunnally Duncan will be signing her new books A Part of Me and A Place That Was Home at the Mountain Glory Festival in downtown Marion on Saturday, October 14, from 9:30-1:30. She will be located at the MACA Authors' booth on Main Street.See More
Writers in UNC Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program (GSWP)read atMalaprop's Bookstore/Café, 55 Haywood St., Asheville, 3 p.m., Sun.,Oct. 15 Elizabeth Lutyens, editor of the GSWP’s Great Smokies Review, leads the Prose Master Class and will host the reading. · Ellen Carr, who works in the financial industry, will read excerpts from her novel of uneasy relationships, Unmanned. · Sarah Carter, an artist and photographer who will publish an excerpt of her novel, Jolene, Joe-Pye,…See More
The Douglas Ellington effect: An Appreciationby Rob NeufeldIMAGE: Douglas Ellington’s original drawing for a City Hall-County Courthouse Art Deco complex. “Dear Douglas,” Kenneth Ellington wrote his brother, the 38-year old Pittsburgh architect, on May 6, 1925, “I know things are…See More
Danger is a crucial element in a mystery novel. A killer is on the loose and no one is safe. But sometimes the killer can be the writer, and the victim, the reader.I'm talking about when the author turns into a preacher and the story becomes a sermon. Now I am not against using a mystery novel for social commentary. Writing doesn't happen in a moral vacuum, and, after all, isn't a mystery a morality play? As fellow North Carolina author Margaret Maron said there is no topic that can't be dealt…See More
Sacred Sites for Secular Times: 50 Commemorative Experiences in Western North Carolina by Rob Neufeld Among the many sites dedicated to history, there are some—both overbooked and overlooked—that provide full and moving experiences. They involve a physical component, connecting to landscape; an imaginative one, entering other times and minds; and an interactive one, maintaining relevance. The entries in this book help create full experiences through descriptive…See More
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.