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Talking Appalachian

Talking Appalachian

Voice, Identity, and Community

Edited by Amy D. Clark and Nancy M. Hayward

Contributions by Michael Ellis, Kirk Hazen, Jaime Wagner Flesher, Erin Simmons, Anita Puckett, Jeffrey Reaser, Walt Wolfram, George Ella Lyon, Silas House, Lee Smith, Jane Hicks, Rita Quillen, Crystal Wilkinson, Anne Shelby, Katherine Sohn, Ronald Rash, Denise Giardina and Michael Montgomery

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

274 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in, 7 figures, 1 table, 1 map

  • Hardcover
  • ISBN: 9780813140964
  • Published: August 2014


  • Paperback
  • ISBN: 9780813147437
  • Published: August 2014



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.