• Mr. Blakeslee needs someone t’look af’er him,
dawgone it. He doesn’t be hankerin’ t’burden his
dotters wif his presence in their homes so he
decides t’”hire” Miss Love. On account o’ he only
has one fine han’ he needs someone t’he’p him
wif cookin’, cleaning’, an’ laundry. Th’ dotters
don’t appreesheeate Miss Love takin’ their
Mammy’s place. Th’ gals thunk that Miss Love
only wanted Gran’pa’s money an’ thet she was
invadin’ all of their mournin’ time on over Miss
Not all people who speak a language speak it the same way. A language can be
subdivided into any number of dialects which each vary in some way from the
parent language. The term, accent, is often incorrectly used in its place, but an
accent refers only to the way words are pronounced, while a dialect has its own
grammar, vocabulary, syntax, and common expressions as well as pronunciation
rules that make it unique from other dialects of the same language. Another term,
idiolect, refers to the manner of speaking of an individual person. No two people's
idiolects are exactly the same, but people who are part of the same group will have
enough verbal elements in common to be said to be speaking the same dialect.
Three things are needed for a new dialect to develop: a group of people living in
close proximity to each other; this group living in isolation (either geographically
or socially) from other groups; and the passage of time. Given enough time, a
dialect may evolve to the point that it becomes a different language from the one it
started as. English began existence as a Germanic dialect called Anglo Saxon that
was brought to England by invaders from Germany. The Anglo Saxon peoples in
England were now geographically isolated from their cousins in Germany which
allowed the dialects to evolve in different directions. Other invaders would also
influence the development of English with their languages until the modern
English we speak today has become so different from the modern German spoken
in Germany that a speaker of one cannot understand a speaker of the other. Thus
English and German are considered to be two different, though related, languages.
The other modern languages in this family are Dutch, Swedish, Danish,
Norwegian, and Icelandic.
• When two or more groups of people who speak different languages
need to communicate with each other on a regular basis and do not
want to actually learn each others' language (such as when the
European merchants started trading with other peoples around the
world), they may develop what is called a pidgin language. This is
a simplified language that usually has as few words as possible in
its vocabulary (taking some from both languages) and has been
stripped of any fancier grammatical rules like the use of multiple
verb conjugations and tenses - a kind of "Me Tarzan, you Jane"
way of talking. A pidgin is nobody's native language and is used
only in business settings. In fact, the word "pidgin" may be derived
from the way Chinese merchants mispronounced the English word
"business." However, in some cases, the children in one of these
areas might grow up learning the pidgin as their first language.
When this happens, the pidgin can grow in complexity into a
creole language with a larger set of grammatical rules and a much
larger vocabulary that share elements of all the languages that went
into creating it.
• Contrary to what your teachers probably tried to tell you, there is no such thing as
"correct English." Any manner of speaking that is following the rules of a dialect is
equally "correct." Words like ain't are "real" words in some dialects and perfectly
acceptable to use. However, people are judged by the way they speak, and dialects
carry different levels of social prestige with them based on the prejudices within a
society. Generally, the southern dialects of American English carry a lower prestige,
at least among northerners who will assume that a person speaking a southern
dialect is less intelligent and less educated than they are. Some educated southerners
even feel this way and will "correct" their speech to meet northern standards. The
New York City dialect carries the lowest prestige of all (Received Standard, a
dialect of British English used by the BBC and the royal family, carries the highest
prestige - even among Americans). For this reason, schools try to rid children of the
local dialects they learned from their family and friends in favor of a more
prestigious one. (Of course, some sentences like, "Me are a educated person," would
be incorrect in every dialect.)
• American dialects come in many flavors. The map and list below show the major
(and a few minor) geographic dialects and subdialects of English spoken in the
United States. Many of these may be further subdivided into local subdialects that
are not shown here. Obviously, the borders between dialect regions are not well
defined lines, as a map like this would imply, but a gradual transition extending on
both sides of the line. Also, as we enter the 21st century, many of the features
described below have become much less prevalent than they were during the first
half of the 20th century.
– New England
Many of the Northern dialects can trace their roots to this dialect which
was spread westward by the New England settlers as they migrated west.
It carries a high prestige due to Boston's early economic and cultural
importance and the presence of Harvard University. A famous speaker is
Katherine Hepburn. They sometimes call doughnuts cymbals, simballs,
and boil cakes.
• New England, Eastern (1)
This is one of the most distinctive of all the American dialects. R's are often
dropped, but an extra R is added to words that end with a vowel. A is
pronounced AH so that we get "Pahk the cah in Hahvahd yahd" and
"Pepperidge Fahm remembuhs."
– Boston Urban (2)
Like many big cities, Boston has its own dialects that are governed more by social
factors like class and ethnicity than by geographic location. Greater Boston Area
is the most widely spoken and is very similar to Eastern New England. Brahmin
is spoken by the upper aristocratic class like Mr. Howell on Gilligan's Island.
Central City Area is what most of us think of as being the "Boston Accent." In
the last few years, Saturday Night Live has featured this dialect among a group of
rowdy teenagers who like to videotape themselves. Also think of Cliff on Cheers,
the only character on this Boston-based show to actually speak a Boston dialect.
– New England, Western (3)
Less distinctive than Eastern, but more influential on the other Northern
• Hudson Valley (4)
New York was originally a Dutch colony, and that language influenced this
dialect's development. Some original Hudson Valley words are stoop (small
porch) and teeter-totter. They call doughnuts (which were invented by the Dutch)
crullers and olycooks.
– New York City (5)
Unlike Boston and other urban dialects, New York City stands by itself and bears little
resemblence to the other dialects in this region. It is also the most disliked and
parodied of any American dialect (even among New Yorkers), possibly because many
Americans tend dislike large cities. When an R comes after a vowel, it is often
dropped. IR becomes OI, but OI becomes IR, and TH becomes D as in "Dey sell tirlets
on doity-doid street" and fugedaboudit (forget about it). This pronounciation is
particularly associated with Brooklyn but exists to some extent throughout the city.
The thickness of a speaker's dialect is directly related to their social class, but these
features have been fading within all classes over recent decades. Famous speakers are
Rosie Perez, Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinnie, Archie Bunker, Bugs
Bunny, and (if you're old enough to remember) the Bowery Boys.
• Bonac (6)
Named for Accabonac Creek in eastern Long Island, this dialect is rapidly dying
out due to the influx of people from other areas. Back when New York City
belonged to the Dutch, this area was part of New England, and Bonac shows
elements of both dialects.
– Inland Northern (7)
Combines elements of Western New England and Upper Midwestern. Marry, merry,
and Mary are pronounced the same. They call doughnuts friedcakes.
• Upper Midwestern (9)
Originally settled by people from New England and New York State who brought
those dialects, this area was also influenced by Southerners coming up the
Mississippi River as well as the speech patterns of the German and Scandinavian
immigrants and the Canadian English dialects from over the border. It's sometimes
referred to as a "Midwestern twang." They call jelly doughnuts bismarks.
• Minnewegian (Minnesota / Norwegian), a subdialect spoken in the northernmost
part of this region was spoofed in the movies Fargo and Drop Dead Gorgeous.
– Chicago Urban (10)
Influenced by the Midland and Southern dialects. Often spoken by the late John Belushi
(Chicago's Second City comedy theater supplied many Saturday Night Live actors). SNL
used to spoof it in the "Da Bears, Da Bulls" sketches. They call any sweet roll doughnuts.
– North Midland (11)
Created as the people in Pennsylvania migrated westward and influenced by
Scotch-Irish, German, and English Quaker settlers. This and the South Midland
dialect can actually be considered a separate Midland Dialect region that serves
as a transition zone between the north and south. They call doughnuts belly
sinkers, doorknobs, dunkers, and fatcakes.
• Pennsylvania German-English (12)
This was strongly influenced by Pennsylvania Dutch, a dialect of German spoken
by people in this area (in this context, "Dutch" is actually a mispronunciation of the
German word, "Deutsch," which means "German"). Its grammar allows sentences
like "Smear your sister with jam on a slice of bread" and "Throw your father out the
window his hat." They call doughnuts fasnacht, and they also invented dunking -
from the German "dunken" (to dip).
• General Southern (purple and red)
This dialect region matches the borders of the Confederate states that seceded during
the "Confederate War" and is still a culturally distinct region of the United States.
Since it was largely an agricultural area, people tended to move around less than
they did in the north, and as a result, the subdialects are much less uniform than
those of the General Northern regions and have much more clearly defined
boundaries. Other languages that had an important influence on it are French (since
the western region was originally French territory) and the African languages
spoken by the people brought over as slaves. People tend to speak slower here than
in the north creating the famous southern "drawl." I is pronounced AH, and OO is
pronounced YOO, as in "Ah'm dyoo home at fahv o'clock." An OW in words like
loud is pronounced with a slided double sound AOO (combining the vowel sounds
in "hat" and "boot"). Some local words are: boogerman, funky (bad smelling), jump
the broomstick (get married), kinfolks, mammy, muleheaded, overseer, tote, y'all.
– South Midland (17)
This area, dominated by the Appalachian Mountains and the Ozark Mountains, was
originally settled by the Pennsylvania Dutch moving south from the North Midland areas
and the Scotch-Irish moving west from Virginia. A TH at the end of words or syllables is
sometimes pronounced F, and the word ARE is often left out of sentences as they are in
Black English. An A is usually placed at the beginning of verb that ends with ING, and
the G is dropped; an O at the end of a word becomes ER. ("They a-celebratin' his birfday
by a-goin' to see 'Old Yeller' in the theatah"). A T is frequently added to words that end
with an S sound. Some words are: bodacious, heap, right smart (large amount), set a
spell, and smidgin. American English has retained more elements of the Elizabethan
English spoken in the time of Shakespeare than modern British English has, and this
region has retained the most. Some Elizabethan words that are now less common in
England are: bub, cross-purposes, fall (autumn), flapjack, greenhorn, guess (suppose),
homely, homespun, jeans, loophole, molasses, peek, ragamuffin, reckon, sorry (inferior),
trash, well (healthy).
– Ozark (18)
Made famous by the Beverly Hillbillies, this isolated area was settled by
people from the southern Appalachian region and developed a particularly
colorful manner of speaking.
– Southern Appalachian (19)
Linguists are still studying the specific differences with South Midland, but
most of the research has concentrated on the many archaic words that are
still alive in its vocabulary rather than on its grammar and usage. A popular
myth is that there are still a few remote regions here that speak an
unchanged form of Elizabethan English, but it isn't true.
• Smokey Mountain English (25)
One such region that is notable for the many archaic features in its
pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar is the Smoky Mountains, a small,
thirty by sixty mile area located on the border between North Carolina and
Tennessee (the size is exaggerated on the maps). However, while it has
preserved a great many elements that once were - but no longer are - used in
Britain, it has also developed a large number of unique features of its own.
"They" is used in the place of "there"; subject-verb agreement can differ; and
plural nouns may not end with an "s" ("They's ten mile from here to the
school"). An "-est" can be placed at the end of a word instead of "most" at the
beginning (workingest, completest). Irregular verbs may be treated as regular
verbs and vice versa, or they may be treated as irregular in a different way
from more general dialects (arrove, blowed, costed). Like many of the other
dialects discussed on this page, the decrease in isolation caused by the
increases in mobility and literacy has caused Smoky Mountain to be much less
spoken today than it was at the beginning of the twentieth century. Some local
words are withouten (unless) and whenevern (as soon as).
• Southern (Cold Sassy Tree Southern)
• As the northern dialects were originally dominated by Boston, the southern dialects were
heavily influenced by Charleston, Richmond, and Savannah. They tend to drop Rs the way
New Englanders do, but they don't add extra Rs. Some words are: big daddy (grandfather),
big mamma (grandmother), Confederate War (Civil War), cooter (turtle), fixing to (going to),
goober (peanut), hey (hello), mouth harp (harmonica), on account of (because).
– Virginia Piedmont (20)
When an R comes after a vowel, it becomes UH, and AW becomes the slided sound, AH-AW.
Thus, four dogs becomes fo-uh dah-awgs. Some local words are: hoppergrass (grasshopper), old-
field colt (illegitimate child), school breaks up (school lets out), weskit (vest).
– Coastal Southern (21)
Very closely resembles Virginia Piedmont but has preserved more elements from the colonial era
dialect than any other region of the United States outside Eastern New England. Some local words
are: catty-corner (diagonal), dope (soda, Coca-Cola), fussbox (fussy person), kernal (pit), savannah
(grassland), Sunday child (illegitimate child). They call doughnuts cookies.
• Ocracoke (26)
Named for the island off the coast of North Carolina where it is spoken, this dialect is also called Hoi Toide
(because of the way its speakers pronounce the long I sound in words like "high" and "tide") and Outer
Banks English to include the coastal regions of North Carolina and Virginia where it is also sometimes
heard. OW becomes a long A so that "town" becomes "tain". Unlike other Southerners who tend to drop
their Rs, Hoi Toiders actually emphasize their Rs. Overall it tends to resemble the Scottish and Irish dialects
and is another area that is often incorrectly believed to be speaking an unchanged form of Elizabethan
English. Some local words are mommuck (to bother) and quamished (nauseous).
• Gullah (22)
Sometimes called Geechee, this creole language is spoken by some African Americans on the coastal areas
and coastal islands of Georgia and South Carolina and was featured in the novel on which the musical, Porgy
and Bess, was based. It combines English with several West African languages: Mende, Yoruba, Wolof,
Kongo, Twi, Vai, Temne, Ibo, Ewe, Fula, Umbundu, Hausa, Bambara, Fante, and more. The name comes
either from the Gola tribe in Liberia or the Ngola tribe in Angola. The grammar and pronunciation are too
complicated to go into here, but some words are: bad mouth (curse), guba (peanut - from which we get the
English word goober), gumbo (okra), juju (magic), juke (disorderly, wicked), peruse (to walk leisurely),
samba (to dance), yam (sweet potato).
• Gullah: Sometimes called Geechee, this creole language
originated with African American slaves on the coastal areas
and coastal islands of Georgia and South Carolina. The dialect
was used to communicate with both Europeans and members of
African tribes other than their own. Gullah was strongly
influenced by West African languages such as Vai, Mende,
Twi, Ewe, Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, and Kikongo. The name and
chorus of the Christian hymn "Kumbaya" is said to be Gullah
for come by here. Other English words attributed to Gullah are
juke (jukebox), goober (Southern term for peanut) and voodoo.
In a 1930s study by Lorenzo Dow Turner, over 4,000 words
from many different African languages were discovered in
Gullah. Other words, such as yez for ears, are just phonetic
spellings of English words as pronounced by the Gullahs, on the
basis of influence from Southern & Western English dialects.
– Gulf Southern (23)
This area was settled by English speakers moving west from Virginia, Georgia, and the
Carolinas, as well as French speaking settlers spreading out from Louisiana, especially
the Acadians (see "Cajuns" below). Some words are: armoire (wardrobe), bayou (small
stream), bisque (rich soup), civit cat (skunk), flitters (pancakes), gallery (porch), hydrant
(faucet), neutral ground (median strip), pecan patty (praline).
• Louisiana (24)
There's a lot going on down here. Many people in southern Louisiana will speak two or three of
the dialects below. Cajun French (the Cajuns were originally French settlers in Acadia,
Canada - now called Nova Scotia - who were kicked out when the British took over; in 1765,
they arrived in New Orleans which was still French territory) carries the highest prestige of the
French dialects here and has preserved a number of elements from the older French of the
1600s. It has also borrowed some words from the Spanish who once controlled this area. There
are many local variations of it, but they would all be mutually understandable with each other
as well as - with some effort - the standard French in France. Cajun English borrows
vocabulary and grammar from French and gives us the famous pronunciations "un-YON"
(onion) and "I ga-RON-tee" as well as the phrase "Let de good times role!", but movies about
cajuns usually get the rest wrong. A famous authentic speaker is humorist Justin Wilson, who
had a cooking show on PBS, with his catch phrase, "How y'all are? I'm glad for you to see me."
New Orleans is pronounced with one syllable: "Nawlns." There is another dialect of English
spoken in New Orleans that is informally, and some would say pejoratively, called Yat (from
the greeting, "Where y'at"), that resembles the New York City (particularly Brooklyn) dialect.
Provincial French was the upper class dialect of the pre-Cajun French settlers and closely
resembles Standard French but isn't widely spoken anymore since this group no longer exists as
a separate social class. Louisiana French Creole blends French with the languages of the West
Africans who were brought here as slaves. It is quite different from both the Louisiana and
standard dialects of French but is very similar to the other creoles that developed between
African and French on various Caribbean Islands. Married couples may speak Creole to each
other, Cajun French with other people, and English to their children.
• Southern Pronunciation
The Southern dialect is a non-Rhotic one, like that of New York or New
England, dropping the /r/ sound after vowels. So in the South far becomes
/fah/ and river becomes /rivuh/. This dropping of the Rs is much less common
in the South Midlands, where the Rs tend to be pronounced. And the Midlands
even goes a step further and adds an /r/ sound in words like wash, pronounced
/warsh/, and the nation’s capital is pronounced /warshington/. And in the
Appalachians, words that end in a long O are likely to have an /r/ added to the
end. Hence hollow is pronounced /holler/ and meadow is /meder/.
• Another consonant change occurs in one particular word, greasy. In the South,
the /s/ sound is pronounced as a /z/, /greazy/. Strangely, the root noun grease is
still pronounced with the /s/. This pronunciation of greasy extends well into
the North, but it is centered in the South.
• Southern speech also clips the /g/ sound from the suffix –ing. This is hardly
unique to the South, but it is characteristic of the dialect.
• The other pronunciation differences are chiefly in the vowel sounds. In the
South, the long I sound becomes /ah/. Tire is pronounced /tahr/ and hide
• Also, the short E is pronounced as a short I. So, pen and pin are pronounced
alike. This has given rise to the word inkpen, which Southerners use for the
sake of clarity. Also, both these short vowels are lengthened or drawn out in
Southern dialect. Pen is not pronounced simply as /pin/, but rather as /piy-un/.
The drawing out also occurs with the short O. Hence dog is /daw-ug/.
• Few generalizations can be made about Southern
pronunciation as a whole, as there is great
variation between regions in the South (see the
different southern American English dialects
section below for more information) and between
older and younger people. Upheavals such as the
Great Depression, the Dust Bowl and World War
II caused mass migrations throughout the United
States. Southern American English as we know it
today began to take its current shape only after
• Traditionally, SAE differed from other varieties of American
English in some of its lexical, grammatical, and phonological
features, but many of the lexical differences, which were rooted in
an agrarian economy and a traditional society, have begun to
disappear. For instance, most younger Southerners are as likely to
use green beans as snapbeans and are more likely to use dragon fly
than either snake doctor or mosquito hawk. Just as these book terms
have replaced the older folk terms with the advent of universal
education, a significant part of the regional vocabulary associated
with farm life has become obsolete as the artifacts to which they
refer have disappeared. Few Southerners under 50 know what a
singletree is (it is the bar of wood on a wagon to which the traces
are attached) or have heard the term dogtrot used for a type of
house (usually a two room house with an open hall down the
middle). Many of the distinctive grammatical and phonological
features of SAE still persist, however.
• Some of the grammatical differences between SAE and
other varieties are well known. For example, most
Americans immediately recognize you-all and yall as
distinctively Southern second person pronouns, and
many would know that fixin to, as in "I'm fixin to eat
breakfast," is Southern as well. The latter represents a
modification of the English auxiliary system that
enables Southerners to encode an aspectual distinction
grammatically that must be encoded lexically
elsewhere: “I'm fixin to eat breakfast” means that I
intend to eat breakfast in the next little while.
• Other grammatical features are less widely known but are no less
important. SAE also modifies the English auxiliary system by
allowing for the use of more than one modal in a verb phrase. For
instance, for most Southerners “I might could leave work early
today” is a grammatically acceptable sentence. It translates
roughly as “I might be able to leave work early,” but might could
conveys a greater sense of tentativeness than might be able does.
The use of multiple modals provides Southerners with a
politeness strategy not available in other regional dialects.
Although no generally agreed upon list of acceptable multiple
modals exists, the first modal in the sequence must be might or
may, while the second is usually could, can, would, will,should,
or oughta. In addition, SAE allows at least one triple modal
option (might shouldoughta) and permits useta to precede a
modal as well (e.g., “I useta could do that”).
• The most widely recognized phonological features of SAE are the
merger of the vowels in words like pen and pin or ten and tin (the
vowel in both words has the sound of the second member of the
pair) and the loss of the offglide of the /ai/ diphthong in words like
hide (so that it sounds like hahd). SAE is also characterized by a
series of vowel rotations that William Labov (1993) has called the
“Southern Shift.” Describing the shift would require an extensive
technical phonetic descriptions of SAE vowels, but people can hear
its most important feature simply by listening to Bill Clinton’s
pronunciation of the vowel in way or stayed. The beginning of the
vowel (which is a diphthong in SAE) will sound something like the
vowel in father. Vowel differences such as these are hard to
describe in non-technical terms, but they are what makes people
immediately recognizable as speakers of SAE -- long before a
might could, fixin to, or yall crops up in their speech.
• Shared Features
• The following features are also associated with SAE:
• /z/ becomes [d] before /n/, for example [wʌdnt] wasn't, [bɪdnɪs] business, but
hasn't is sometimes still pronounced [hæzənt] because there already exists a
word hadn't pronounced [hædənt].
– /z/ → [d] | before /n/
• Many nouns are stressed on the first syllable that would be stressed on the
second syllable in other accents. These include police, cement, Detroit,
Thanksgiving, insurance, behind, display, recycle, and TV.
• The Southern Drawl, or the diphthongization or triphthongization of the
traditional short front vowels as in the words pat, pet, and pit: these develop
a glide up from their original starting position to [j], and then in some cases
back down to schwa.
– /æ/ → [æjə]
– /ɛ/ → [ɛjə]
– /ɪ/ → [ɪjə]
• The Southern (Vowel) Shift, a chain shift of vowels which is described by Labov as:
– As a result of the "drawl" described above, [ɪ] moves to become a high front vowel, and [ɛ]
to become a mid front vowel. In a parallel shift, the nuclei of [i] and [e] relax and become
– The diphthong /aɪ/ becomes monophthongized to [aː]. Some speakers exhibit this feature at
the ends of words and before voiced consonants but Canadian-style raising before voiceless
consonants, so that ride is [raːd] and wide is [waːd], but right is [rəɪt] and white is [wəɪt];
others monophthongize /aɪ/ in all contexts. The [aː]-sound tends toward an [/æː/]-sound
throughout most of the region, so that word pairs like rod (SAE [raːd], normally pronounced
without any noticeable rounding) and ride (SAE [ræːd]) are never confused.
– /aɪ/ → [aː]
– The back vowels /u/ in boon and /o/ in code shift considerably forward.
– The open back unrounded vowel /ɑr/ card shifts upward towards /ɔ/ board, which in turn
moves up towards the old location of in boon. This particular shift probably does not occur
for speakers with the cot-caught merger.
• The distinction between /ɝr/ and /ʌr/ in furry and hurry is preserved.
• In some regions of the south, there is a merger of [ɔr] and [ɑr], making cord and card,
for and far, form and farm etc. homonyms.
• The distinction between /ɪr/ and /iːr/ in mirror and nearer, Sirius and serious etc. is not
• /i/ is replaced with /ɛ/ at the end of a word, so that furry is pronounced as /fɝrɛ/
• The distinction between /ʊr/ and /ɔr/ in pour and poor, moor and more is not preserved.
• The l's in the words walk and talk are occasionally pronounced, causing the words talk
and walk to be pronounced /wɑlk/ and /tɑlk/ by some southerners.
• Word use
• Word use tendencies from the Harvard Dialect Survey:
– Likely influenced by the dominance of Coca-Cola in the Deep South, a carbonated beverage in general is referred to as coke, or
cocola, even if referring to non-colas. Soda is sparingly used.
– The push-cart at the grocery store as a buggy (or less often, jitney or trolley).
• Use of the term "mosquito hawk" or "snake doctor" for a dragonfly or a crane fly (Diptera Tipulidae).
• Use of "over yonder" in place of "over there" or "in or at that indicated place," especially when being used to refer to a
particularly different spot, such as in "the house over yonder." Additionally, "yonder" tends to refer to a third, larger
degree of distance beyond both "here" and "there," indicating that something is a long way away, and to a lesser extent,
in an open expanse, as in the church hymn "When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder." (The term "yonder" is still widely
used in British English.)
• Use of the phrase "chill bumps" instead of "goose bumps"
• Use of the verb "reckon" to mean "perceive" or "think". For example "I reckon there's a chance of rain" or "I reckon I
want to go fishin'". The term "reckon" is also still widely used in British English.
• Use of "to love on someone or something" in place of "to show affection to" or "be affectionate with someone or
something." For example: "He was lovin' on his new kitten."
• The use of singular nouns as if they were plural as in, "Pass me those molasses." or "Did you get your license?....Yes, I
• Use of the word "mash" in the place of "press" or "push". Example: "Would you mash that elevator button for me?"
• Use of the word "carry" in the place of "drive". Example: "Would you carry me in your car to the store?"
• The use of the word "cut" rather than "turn" on/off lights in a house or car, as in, "cut the lights on for me"
• Use of the word "young'un" instead of "child" or "kid".
• Use of the word "tote" instead of "carry". Example: "Tote that bucket over to me."
• Use of archaic "hit" for "it."
• Use of the verb "to tump over," meaning "to tip over so that the contents spill out."
• Use of the verb "to chuck" or "to chunk" for "to throw."
• Use of the word "proud" to mean "happy" or "pleased" as in, "I was real proud to meet y'all."
• In parts of Southern Kentucky and East Tennessee, "I don't care to do that" carries the connotation that the speaker is
willing to do something for another person (despite the seeming contradictory meaning, which may stem from the idea
of "It does not cause me care [or worry] to do that for you.") For example, if Person A said, "I need a ride to the post
office," Person B's response of "I don't care to take you" indicates a willingness to do so.