Talking Appalachian: Voice, Identity, and Community
Tradition, community, and pride are fundamental aspects of the history of Appalachia, and the language of the region is a living testament to its rich heritage. Despite the persistence of unflattering stereotypes and cultural discrimination associated with their style of speech, Appalachians have organized to preserve regional dialects—complex forms of English peppered with words, phrases, and pronunciations unique to the area and its people. Talking Appalachian examines these distinctive speech varieties and emphasizes their role in expressing local history and promoting a shared identity.
Beginning with a historical and geographical overview of the region that analyzes the origins of its dialects, this volume features detailed research and local case studies investigating their use. The contributors explore a variety of subjects, including the success of African American Appalachian English and southern Appalachian English speakers in professional and corporate positions. In addition, editors Amy D. Clark and Nancy M. Hayward provide excerpts from essays, poetry, short fiction, and novels to illustrate usage. With contributions from well-known authors such as George Ella Lyon and Silas House, this balanced collection is the most comprehensive, accessible study of Appalachian language available today.
Amy D. Clark is associate professor of English at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. She lives in Big Stone Gap, Virginia.
Nancy M. Hayward is professor emeritus of English at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She lives in Savannah, Georgia.
“This book fills a need in college and secondary classrooms in a unique and exciting way—examining a stigmatized, regional variety that also serves as a strong indicator of in-group membership and identity for many (but not all) of its speakers through the use of both research studies and essays/literary excerpts. This is an ambitious project that will serve students, researchers, and instructors for many years to come.”—Jim Michnowicz, assistant professor of Spanish at North Carolina State University
“Clark and Hayward are to be praised for assembling a well-ordered broad spectrum of conversant essays and literary pieces that stand to bring the study, understanding, and appreciation of Appalachian English(es) into a new era of cultivation.”—Chris Green, Director, Loyal Jones Appalachian Center, Berea College
"Talking Appalachian is a wonderful collection, challenging readers to learn about the many histories that have shaped Appalachian dialectical diversity and to gain tools to counter the linguistic chauvinism that has used Appalachian dialect as a stand-in for other powerful forms of social and economic marginalization, akin to the ways speakers of Gullah and other regional dialects have been marginalized in the U.S.. The excellent use of leading linguistic scholarship, essays, fiction and poetry in this volume makes it a powerful contribution." - Ann Kingsolver, director of the Appalachian Center at the University of Kentucky