14 January 2006

A few notes on the Appalachian tongue.

The natives of darkest Pennsyltucky speak a curious dialect, no doubt affected by the fact that each little mining community, often separated by a few kilometers were populated by different ethnic groups that generally despised each other..

“Don’t marry a dirty, stinking Irishman!” A pole might say.

“Ghlad frokdha clanny radish!” * The Irishman would reply hotly and the fur would fly.

In the interest of preventing ethnic violence, the department of education mandated different drinking establishments for German, Polish and Irish immigrants, to be spaced every 100 feet. Eventually, when ethnic tensions declined, this massive grid of bars was merged under single management, becoming the massive boozer that we know of today as the Pennsylvania State University.

The non-cirrhotic legacy of this dynamic system is the rich language of central Pennsyltucky. For example:

In the Queens English, if one were addressing a group, one would simply say “You” and the plurality would be assumed. A vulgarian might say “You lot” or “Y’all” but being the grammar Nazi that I am, I would beat them rump-wise with a steel rod, unless they were larger than I am. Then I merely make a snide comment behind there backs and blame it on a random pedestrian should they turn around. This works quite well as long as you can fake a air if righteous indignation.

In Appalachia, when addressing a group, plurality may be expressed in two ways; through the gaping maw of a double barreled 12 gauge shotgun loaded with buckshot, or the more polite “You ‘uns” (pronounced “Yins”).

Confusingly, “Yins” is also used in the singular, probably as a result years of drinking water from lead plumbing.

Another peculiarity is that the infinitive “to be” has vanished from the vernacular, viz:

“Your truck needs worshed.”
“Your kid needs beat.”
“Your ass needs liposuctioned.”

Furthermore, an Appalachian sentence is not ended with a full stop (period), exclamation point or question mark, it is usually ended with a “buddy”.

For example: “Yins commin’ to the bar with me Buddy?”

So, there you have it. Yins could now survive if stranded in central PA. Yins might find our diet of scrapple, paunhaus pudding, chicken and waffles, ham pot pie and funnel cake a bit strange, but wash it down with a few IC lites, and yins are good to go, buddy.

Gotta go. Bladder needs emptied.


*
No, I’m not going to translate this. It’s really quite offensive to Norwegians. Feel free to use the Babelfish translator on the side-bar if you really must know.


And that's the way I likes it.