Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OHIOU.EDU
Mon Jun 7 21:16:48 UTC 2004

This reminds me of the opening scene in the old "Story of English" video on
Black English.  Some whites are talking about their childhood memories of a
term they borrowed from servants on the plantation/estate (whatever they
call it these days).  I transcribed it as "yedi" without knowing what it
meant, until someone said it was "hear" or "hear ye" or something like
that.  Then I realized it involved palatalization plus flapping.  A better
dialect spelling might therefore be "hyear" plus whatever affix was meant
(my memory is weak on the exact sound).  Is this initial palatalizing
common in Southern English in general? or only in AAVE, and there only in
older speakers?  I'm not familiar with it in Appalachian English, though
apparently it's in Ozark English.

At 11:25 PM 6/5/2004 -0400, you wrote:
>On Jun 5, 2004, at 8:54 PM, Mullins, Bill wrote:
>>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>Poster:       "Mullins, Bill" <Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL>
>>Subject:      kyarn
>>>In my childhood in
>>>East Texas, a word that sounded like "kyahn" was used by my parents
>>>grandparents with a meaning something like "an otherwise-unidentified
>>>substance with a disgusting odor," since it occurred only in sentences
>>>like "That smells/stinks like/as bad as kyahn." I've never heard
>>>"kyahn" used by *anyone* outside of my immediate family. Nevertheless,
>>>about 35 years later, while thumbing through a book on the vocabulary
>>>of *Ozark* English, what before my wondering eyes should appear but
>>>citation, "kyahn. n. carrion." It blew my mind, to say the least.
>>>Unfortunately, I'm unable to recall the title or the author of the
>>My wife's maternal grandmother is in her 80's, and grew up/lives in
>>south Georgia (Douglas, Nicholls).  My wife picked up from her side
>>of the family "kyarn", meaning carrion (note the "r").  The best
>>is kyarn is what a dog will roll in just before it
>>comes inside and rubs against you.  The stinkier, the better.
>Now that you've brought it to my attention, it could well have been the
>"kyarn" spelling that I saw in the lexicon. My "knowledge" of English
>of the Ozark/Appalachian type has been gained primarily from comic
>strips like "Li'l Abner" and "[Barney Google and] Snuffy Smith," and
>from TV shows like Jerry Springer. Interestingly, while in the Army, I
>had a (white) Appalachian-speaking buddy for whom "yon" as an adjective
>was a living part of his vocabulary. He could say things like, "Let's
>go have a beer in yon bar." This was in 1961. Down home in East Texas,
>we blacks used "yon" only adverbially in exclamations like "Yon he go!"
>Otherwise, we used "yonder" and even then still only adverbially: "He
>use to live (over) yonder; look (over) yonder!; they went (over)
>yonder/went yonder (way)."

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