Appalachian

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  • 2 Post By Fifi.G
  • 1 Post By spiderlashes5000

For boardies who are Appalachian: do you identify as culturally Appalachian if ppl ask you about your ethnic background? Or do you just consider it a geographic thing? Do you consider yourself a cultural/ethnic minority? Do you find any special comfort or strength or "pride" in identifying as such?
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG


Last edited by spiderlashes5000; 10-27-2014 at 12:23 PM.
I do culturally and geographically identify as Appalachian. It's a large part of who I am. I can't say I describe it as my ethnicity, but I was shocked to see it listed basically as such in a few databases on "Race Relations". So, some do. *But that includes a diverse group but is usually boiled down to white and came from Scotland/Ireland*. I love studies done on Appalachian English because there are some really intriguing linguistic differences. I love my area. I love a lot of the culture that stuck with people much longer due to the isolation from being in the mountains. I remain proud even when all the usual stereotypes and insults are hurled my way. I hear it quite often over the phone at work. "Toothless, ignorant, backwoods, banjo playing, sheep f***ing...." Anytime a part time resident gets upset with a local, it reverts back to the same old/same old class system. When it comes to white people, we are at the bottom of that.
spiderlashes5000 and WurlyLox like this.
When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??


Last edited by Fifi.G; 10-27-2014 at 01:21 PM.
^ I think I hear a lot more of that because I do not necessarily sound "local". My brother spent hours and hours, day after day, working with me so I would drop the accent. It can be a major hindrance in finding a job, especially if you go elsewhere, which I have no urge to. I wish he wouldn't have done that but he did and was just trying to look out for me. I still have several pronunciations of words that I will never be able to shake, and I can revert back and translate if need be
When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??

I can't say I describe it as my ethnicity, but I was shocked to see it listed basically as such in a few databases on "Race Relations". So, some do. *But that includes a diverse group but is usually boiled down to white and came from Scotland/Ireland*.
Originally Posted by Fifi.G
Interesting, I was thinking about ethnicity in general and Americans. I guess when they say ethnic Appalachains they mean 'white and came form Scotland/Ireland' and 'lives in this certain region in the U.S.'. Because there really is no ethnic group in America except the 'native' americans.

It's also interesting to figure out ethnicity is divided/evolved. Most people think it's the same as nationality and in many cases it's true but not all the time and obviously not for Americans.
I can't say I describe it as my ethnicity, but I was shocked to see it listed basically as such in a few databases on "Race Relations". So, some do. *But that includes a diverse group but is usually boiled down to white and came from Scotland/Ireland*.
Originally Posted by Fifi.G
Interesting, I was thinking about ethnicity in general and Americans. I guess when they say ethnic Appalachains they mean 'white and came form Scotland/Ireland' and 'lives in this certain region in the U.S.'. Because there really is no ethnic group in America except the 'native' americans.

It's also interesting to figure out ethnicity is divided/evolved. Most people think it's the same as nationality and in many cases it's true but not all the time and obviously not for Americans.
Originally Posted by Josephine

^ very true!

They do tend to generalize too much when talking about "Appalachian Americans". I shared a link in the What Are You Doing Thread (I think) that I was excited about at first and then disappointed by. It was a linguistics study and they were careful to mention that Appalachia is far more diverse than most people think. It brought up those who came and settled from Scotland, Ireland, The Ulster Scots, Germany, Sweden, Spain, France, of course you had some who brought slaves but the area actually has more communities that were established by freed men and women (depending on where you are but this was focused more in the area of WNC that I live in) and of course you have The Cherokee. They are as Appalachian as you can get. So, linguistically, you have pretty interesting mash up but most studies on Appalachian English simply focus on the Scottish/Irish aspect. I think it's the one that boggles their mind a little more. How did they hang on to so many speech patterns and still sing songs that no one has sung in Scotland/Ireland/England for many, many years? I have seen some focus on Cherokee but still less than Scottish influence. This one was about Texana. A community established by a freed woman named Texana, and her husband, in 1850. Well, it ended up being a flop. Basically.... 'Listeners think they (the 2 teen boys who participated in the study) sound white but they are influenced by popular A.A culture when sending instant messages' Wth? There are slight differences in speech patterns with those from Texana, and they are lovely ones. I wish people would focus more on the diversity but it's something I think locals notice more when listening to people talk.

You basically get a "every community has their own syntax that only they can understand". No, we all understand each other but that is where the different influences come in based on exactly where the original settlers came from. *It was incredibly hard for people who lived up in the mountains to visit each other, back in the day, but people did manage to do it from time to time.
When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??


Last edited by Fifi.G; 10-28-2014 at 02:30 PM.
I do have hope for the Appalachian Women's Museum. I have seen some good documentaries done on the women of Appalachia, and they focus more on the diversity as well as what it was like for each of the women (all in their 80s) growing up.

It's a tough group. I know that much.
When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??

Fifi - do you say Applaychan or Appalatchan?
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG

Fifi - do you say Applaychan or Appalatchan?
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
I say Appa-lat-chan but the end is more like chun with a quick u. Appa-latch-a when talking about the area. No one near where I live appa-lay-chan but I know people in other parts of the mountains pronounce it that way. And others not from the area.
When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??


Last edited by Fifi.G; 10-28-2014 at 03:45 PM.
We're a "un's" bunch. Come on, yunz!!
When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??

I have been working on genealogy and watching several accent or accent tag videos for fun and between the two, I thought of this thread. I came across this video of a boy in Northern Ireland. His accent was shared on news stations far and wide as funny.

http://youtu.be/wuEJRSmRx0c

It reminded me of this short video with 2 examples of Appalachian English or Mountain Talk. There are numerous variations, just like anywhere else, but listen to second woman. That was probably recorded in the 1980-1990's. The Sociolinguistics Professor is very correct when saying the speech patterns are a large part of cultural identity.

http://youtu.be/5PTML-P3Hl0

This one is a little longer (8 min) and you hear some of the different speech patterns and words that used to be or still are common. It's no where near an example of all. It's more like what I grew up around (and this was filmed in WNC. Do not ever sit beside Gary, the man in the red shirt talking about his grandma calling people "peckerwood" (I still use that) at dinner. He is a well known story teller in WNC and you will be spewing your drink everywhere, all night. The man is hysterical). There are seperate videos on Cherokee but they need examples of all influences in one video. That would make me happy. *It would also make me happy if people did not automatically assume ignorant when, to take an example from this, hearing a person say, "I know you've heared that before" as opposed to heard. I just imagine someone from parts of Scotland/Ireland saying heard. It's a lot like heared when spoken.
They do know heard is correct. Just like flour not Flower.

http://youtu.be/03iwAY4KlIU

I laughed when I came across this. It's people from the Isles watching a video and pondering if we sound like them or not. I think some were expecting people to sound like they just got off the boat. They got off the boat in the 16-1800's (and made a long journey from several different ports. It looks like many stopped in different counties coming across NC. I had family that worked off debt in Georgia before making there way here. Some walked the App Trail from North to South). Some do still have thicker accents but words, emphasis, syntax, vowels... Thats what they listen to/look at. So most were saying NO!! What idiot thought this was like us? One person finally came along and said,

Southern accents vary region to region and sometimes family to family depending on relative quirks.

Early on it can be suggested that there was some similarity between certain American Southern accents and those of the Isle's but we must heavily consider time period, meaning pre-Victorian as we came about to develop our own verbal quirks relative to our experiences away from the Isle's since then.

In the past I myself was duped into this notion that our speech is anything but our own, however from listening to native UK speakers in relation to myself and my kin I would say that there is a gap.

Below I am providing a vocabulary list courtesy of listening in on my own kinfolks for comparison purposes:

Warsh - Wash

Tawrn - Torn

Dow - Door

Howrse - Horse

Pow - Poor

Burd-Bird

Arl - Earl

Lear - Leah (name of an aunt, because we as a family for a time became illiterate post-Civil War so we spelled phonetically. That trend was nipped in the bud in due time I will say.)

Considuh - Consider

Surtin - Certain

Ain't

Ya'll

Ya'll'er (You all were)

Ye's (You was)

Ain't never

I done it instead of I did it

I seen it instead of I saw it

Lay down and shut it as opposed to lie down and be quiet

I's a-fixin' ta (I was about to)

Eidy - Howdy/Hello

Didjee - Did ye/Did you

Airish (windy/chilly)

Afeared - afraid

Brickle - brittle

Now then - Hello

How's that - Come again/please restate

Yander/Yonder - Over there

Haint - Ghost

Boog - Goblin

Holler - Hollow

So on and so on.....

Most of these I have struggled to do away with for these speech patterns resulted in much teasing or alien peoples not taking me seriously in conversations. Relapses happen on occasion when excited or amongst familiar faces but in general speech I have been able to eliminate them. Elocution thus improved.


^^ Wee, haint, booger, naw, I seen it, I's or Ima fixin to, warsh, now then?, oh god yeah, WELL.... (as I ponder or prepare to spin a yarn/tell a story), on and on and on. I truly do not have a thick accent. It's mild but I have my moments and words, can turn it on when speaking and writing.

British and Irish users; How do you perceive the accent of the US South? [Archive] - The Apricity Forum: A European Cultural Community
When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??


Last edited by Fifi.G; 02-11-2015 at 01:10 PM.
I'm amazed at how much it has changed since I was a kid. We were still fairly isolated, other than tourist season. Most the transplant ended up becoming adopted locals at that point. The really isolated, back woods speech, was heard more often. It's not as common anymore, which I hate. I've always loved liatening to the differences. You find them in every community.
When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??

http://youtu.be/saSSlSQwlwg

Cherokee, another influence (back & forth in different communities). I ain't got no idee how folks understood each years ago. Un-real, hain't it?

*The first woman featured, Mandy Swimmer, is dressed exactly like my great grandma, minus the scarf and plus an apron. Simple home made dress, black or brown clunky shoes (and place to hide your snuff). Standard for most women in WNC, year round. They would have one made out of a nicer fabric for church or events, and different sleeve lengths, but it faded out with the older generations in the mid 80's- mid 90's.
When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??


Last edited by Fifi.G; 02-11-2015 at 09:55 AM.
This reminded me of your initial questions Spider and provided a strange read for me. I do tend to notice some people from West Virginia have more hang ups about being Appalachian. That is not saying people do not in WNC. My brother was obviously worried about my future when he started driving my accent out when I was a little girl. I didn't understand why and still do not feel shame about the dialect BUT WNC is no where near as prominate in the shame department. This will be lengthy. I'm sharing the basis of the thread and some random comments from a person discussing points with another who I think is not rooted as deeply in Appalachia as they imply (as yes that is my distrust of others showing).


Why Is Appalachia Like That? | The American Conservative

Beyng, a reader of this blog who comes from Appalachia, writes on the Opiates thread:

"Southern West Virginia is truly a magnificent part of the country topographically speaking. There are few regions of the country so consistently and entirely sublime than the Appalachian hills.

Culturally, socially, and economically, however, it’s a desolate wasteland. As my father astutely remarked some years ago, “[They] have no pride.” Not in themselves, not in their possessions, not in their way-of-being–which itself is a dessicated hull of a culture that isn’t worthy of much pride in the first place. Those who have no pride–the opposite of which is not “humility”–typically act like it and tend to their places accordingly."

Why is this so? By “pride,” I take Beyng to mean “healthy self-respect” — and I know what he means. I grew up seeing this in the rural South, among white and black. Among the poor, you had those with self-respect, and those who had none. Those with self-respect generally led orderly lives, and kept their houses looking neat. Those who didn’t were a mess. You got the idea that the only thing the poor with self-respect lacked was opportunity. You got the idea that not even opportunity would do much good for those other people, because of the culture they carried with them in their heads.


Beyng
See, here’s the thing: I love Appalachia–perhaps only in spite of itself, and perhaps only by virtue of the fact that my roots remain there. If given the opportunity–of which there are few in that region–I would return without a second thought. Appalachia can’t be compared to a ghetto, in which I would fear for my childrens’ lives. It is rather more like a modern Native American reservation: a small elite surrounded by third-world infrastructural and living conditions, a lot of desperation and drug abuse, a long history of oppression and exploitation. But they stick together. Those who deny my general description–as some of you have–either haven’t been south of Charleston, WV, or are simply in denial.

The causal factors that produced such an abject culture are both endogenous and exogenous, and they are myriad. Previous commenters have catalogued them fairly well above. None of you are wrong, but none of you are wholly right either. That is, economic exploitation and absentee land ownership is a factor. So is the Scots-Irish Presbyterian heritage still shared by most Appalachians (including myself). So are geographic and topographic conditions that effectively stymie the possibility of better infrastructure and economic activity. So is the “brain drain,” the lack of investment, the culture of mistrust that extends, historically, to the time when Appalachians were still a fiercely independent, dignified people. There are more factors as well.

And we can’t forget that Appalachia’s evisceration is ongoing, both literally and figuratively. After all, while political correctness has rendered it taboo to mock racial minorities, religious sects, sexual preferences, ethnic identities, and even obesity, the Appalachian hillbilly remains a valid object of disgust and derision. The denizens of Appalachia remain the last true “Other” in America. There is a reason I deliberately trained the thick, gritty Appalachian twang out of my speech patterns as a teenager (though I now regret it). Probably the only reason that the academic identity-politics machine hasn’t swept to Appalachia’s rescue is that the average Appalachian is white and Protestant–they don’t check off any of the diversity boxes.


Beyng says:
August 26, 2012 at 2:29 pm

1) West Virginia–and Appalachia more generally–does, in fact, resemble an Indian reservation, both in its cultural distinction and isolation and in its economic indicators. Is it identical? No, and I never claimed it was. Appalachia is Appalachia; Indian Reservations are Indian Reservations. All I noted is that their cultural and economic distinctions from the rest of America are similar or analogous. It is incumbent upon you to demonstrate that this is not so. Currently, the argument on this matter stands as such

2) Appalachia when compared with other regions of the United States (and/or with other economic averages) is “wretchedly impoverished.” Having been to McDowell County, having grown up in a typically depressed Appalachian county, and having been all over the region, I can assure you that this is the case. Is it the only wretchedly impoverished region in America? Of course not. Is a West Virginian’s standard of living equivalent to that of a Chinese peasant or sub-Saharan African subsistence farmer? Absolutely not. And I never made any such claim. But an isolated region spanning hundreds of thousands of miles with a poverty rate of 18+% (with many counties “boasting” rates that are multiples of that number)–several points above the national average–isn’t exactly substitutable for Your Town, USA.

3) Appalachia is addled by drug and alcohol addiction. That a ghetto in Baltimore or a farm town in Wisconsin might be more drug/liquor-addled isn’t the point. Again, find me another region of Appalachia’s size and distinction so dominated by a culture of addiction. You won’t find it. Why is that so?

In the end, we agree on one thing: there are numerous and sundry policies that can and should be altered to improve certain conditions in Appalachia that are, in fact, susceptible to political pressure and incentive. But no policies can successfully “integrate” an entire isolated region into the continent such that it is both economically successful and culturally indistinguishable. Appalachian dwellers have been, as others pointed out above, different since the beginning (~1750s), and not all of that difference has been good.

Tell me this, Art: have you ever met anyone who is literally ashamed of having been born and raised where they were? Anyone who is embarrassed to answer the question “Where are you from?” Anyone who works hard to suppress actively speech patterns and other mannerisms that were inculcated from birth? I’ve met and known quite a few–indeed, I have been one of those people. Though I’ve traveled the country and now live nearly 1000 miles from my home county, all of these people have hailed from Appalachia.
When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??

Gawd he makes my head hurt at times but I do agree with relation of Appalachia to a Reservation BUT that is because I live in between 2 of them and we are surrounded by multi million dollar 8th homes of part time residents on top of the mountains. I agree that we stick together. I agree that we are different/others and always have been but there are no Presbyterians in my county. We are not all Presbyterian (crazy phone). We are not all religious. We are not all white or Scottish (as in came from Scotland years ago).

Pride is a big thing where I live. So much so that DSS wages war against it.


Articles: 'Mountain Pride' versus the Welfare State

It should be a scandal that the federal government is purposefully weakening a core principle of our value system: self-reliance. To wit, the feds are praising local bureaucrats for "counteracting" what they call "mountain pride." These bureaucrats are convincing people who characteristically reject food stamps to instead embrace a culture of dependence.

Hearing from the outreach worker that benefits could be used to purchase seeds and plants for their gardens turned out to be a very important strategy in counteracting what they described as "mountain pride[.]"

^^^ See. Imagine my moms conflict when she was the food stamp department head. That is not saying we do not have our fair share of 3rd generation Welfare families with a shared tooth who raise hell every chance they get. We do. They don't boast about killing people like the White family in the first link. You better be careful who you kill. And outsiders really need to watch who they threaten. There are a few who will shoot, shovel and shut up. Addiction is a problem. We will all go crazy on a given threat to our way BUT for the most part there are a lot of great and very nice people who are proud and will give a stranger a shirt off their back if it helps.

ETA: Granted, the majority of my area is white with Cherokee second. That is the demographic but I really do wish people would stop excluding Cherokee & Black from Appalachian so much. #1. You can not get more Appalachian than the Cherokee and there is a large source of Mountain Pride on the Res too. It's nothing to see friends on Facebook calling people/family out (not by name) for blowing thru their food stamps, commodities, and per cap check and then calling them at 12 am saying can I borrow money? Can you get off your ass, get some pride and get a damn job? AND it is incredibly liberal members of the LGBT community saying this. Not what one would expect if you were many places other than here. And that is not saying people can not see the need for assistance at times. We do loathe a sucking of the system of that continues and drains ones independence BUT if a single working mom needs help, she needs help. If an elderly person who can no longer do needs help, they need help. It took my mom 6 years to talk her great aunt into signing up for commodities. She refused to do anything beyond but she really needed some help. Growing and slaughtering her own food was no longer easy.

ETA: Best way to describe it is... We were never huge on government interference. We like as little of it as possible. Top that off with the area, isolation and limited opportunity... If you were stagnate or dependant here, you were dead. You lived off trade. You work and/or peovide services for whatever you need and you take no more than what you need. That was survival and honor and respect for those closest to you.
When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??


Last edited by Fifi.G; 05-02-2015 at 07:45 AM.
Yeah, the racial part always confused me. The entire state of West Virginia is considered Appalachia but yet, there are plenty of Black ppl living there, several generations.
Fifi.G likes this.
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG

Yeah, the racial part always confused me. The entire state of West Virginia is considered Appalachia but yet, there are plenty of Black ppl living there, several generations.
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
Back to the first hillbilly stereotype, it's strictly been white. Not that everyone else here doesn't already have enough stereotypes of their own but ... It is what it is when it comes to Snuffy Smith, The Beverly Hillbillies, etc. I believe I mentioned in the poverty tours thread that the government only wanted white Appalachian residents photographed in the 60s. Crazy because everyone was in the exact same boat. Very few elite and everybody else.

I posted this in a different thread some time ago, and love it. It's by Frank X Walker. He's from KY and has been bringing out the Affrilachian Artists.

Affrilachia
(for Gurney and Anne)

thoroughbred racing
and hee haw
are burdensome images
for Kentucky sons
venturing beyond the mason-dixon

anywhere in Appalachia
is about as far
as you could get
from our house
in the projects
yet
a mutual appreciation
for fresh greens
and cornbread
an almost heroic notion
of family
and porches
makes us kinfolk
somehow
but having never ridden
bareback
or sidesaddle
and being inexperienced
at cutting
hanging
or chewing tobacco
yet still feeling
complete and proud to say
that some of the bluegrass
is black
enough to know
that being 'colored‚ and all
is generally lost
somewhere between
the dukes of hazard
and the beverly hillbillies

but
if you think
makin‚'shine from corn
is as hard as Kentucky coal
imagine being
an Affrilachian
poet
When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??

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