rafting-2071983_1280Talkin’ Like a Mountaineer

I wrote in my tip about what I learned from Damon Runyon that a writer should only sprinkle in slang or words from a dialect.  Since my book is set in West Virginia, I use words my West Virginian relatives speak.  I use some of them myself, even though I grew up across the river in Ohio.

Just a note: If you are not from around Appalachia, you should understand there’s a difference between a Southern accent and an Appalachian one.  In the book The Story of English, some experts consider the Appalachian accent a cross between Midwestern and Southern. The further south you travel in the Appalachian mountains, the more southern the accent becomes.

The words I list below may not be unique to West Virginia but they are not common in the Midwest where I grew up.

No account — no good, disreputable, unreliable.  The farmer down the road was no account – he let his farm fall down to rack and ruin.

Lopper-jawed (I am guessing on the spelling) — to hang crookedly.  The door to the abandoned house hung lopper-jawed.

heap sight (I am guessing on the spelling of “sight”) — a great amount.  We had a heap sight more tomatoes this summer than last summer.

red up — clean up.  We red up the house before our company comes.country-lane-2089645_1280

fer piece — a long distance.  My nearest neighbor is a fer piece down this road.

pert near — almost or close.  “Pert” is short for “pretty”.  When that dog lunged for me, it pert near scared the pants off me.

I will have some more Appalachian words and patterns of speech next Wednesday.