[Ads-l] New website about Appalachian English from Michael Montgomery and Paul Reed

Grant Barrett grantbarrett at GMAIL.COM
Thu Oct 12 22:35:02 UTC 2017

>From Michael Montgomery and Paul Reed:

We are most pleased to announce the launch of the website Appalachian
English, which presents and provides a library of materials and resources
to study the region’s speech. Housed at the University of South Carolina,
the site can be found at


The hosts (Michael Montgomery at, U of SC; Paul Reed, U of Alabama)
gratefully acknowledge USC’s College of Arts and Sciences for accommodating
this site.

The English spoken in Appalachia has long captured the interest of
linguists and educators, among others. This extensive literature is
scattered and often either difficult to find or unknown. Our site brings
much of it together and provides avenues for linguists and the public to
study and to learn about the fascinating English of Appalachia. In addition
to links, articles, and other standard features, visitors can find

- Joseph Hall’s 1942 monograph ''The Phonetics of Great Smoky Mountain
Speech.'' Seventy-five years after publication, this volume remains the
only full account of the pronunciation of an Appalachian English variety.
It remains a remarkable achievement still of great value to students of the
region's speech.

- All 28 entries from the Language section of the Encyclopedia of
Appalachia, with entries ranging from African American English to language
ideology, from medical terminology to moonshining terminology, from place
names to speech play.

- A thousand-entry bibliography of scholarly and popular literature,
identifying the area studied for each item and in most cases furnishing a
brief summary annotation.

- Michael Montgomery’s “Grammar and Syntax of Traditional Smoky Mountain
English,” from his 2004 Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English.

- Walt Wolfram and Donna Christian’s “Sociolinguistic Variables in
Appalachian Dialects,” the larger research report that formed the basis for
their book Appalachian Speech (1976).

The heart of the site is the traditional speech of the Smoky Mountains of
Tennessee and North Carolina, presented through remarkable recordings of 62
people made by Joseph Hall in 1939. Against the backdrop of displacement by
creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Hall traversed the
rugged area using aluminum and plastic disks to create a record of stories
and local lore from people aged 18 to 95. The accounts include vivid
turn-of-the-century bear hunts and much more. The transcriptions are
accompanied by audio versions, so you can listen and read simultaneously.
Numerous terms in the transcriptions are linked to a 400-entry glossary.

The site also compiles transcriptions of Hall’s speakers into a corpus that
we have named CESME, the ‘Corpus of Early Smoky Mountain English’. Its
creation fulfills a commitment made at the 2012 Southeastern Conference on
Linguistics meeting in Lexington, Kentucky. The site tells the story and
provides an account of Hall’s research through a 1990 interview Montgomery
conducted with him. Not to be missed also are two musical selections he
recorded forming part of a 2013 Grammy-nominated CD!

We trust that the Appalachian English website will stimulate further study,
provide resources for educators, and help all to better understand the
diversity of American English(es).


Grant Barrett

American Dialect Society

Vice President of Communications and Technology


grantbarrett at gmail.com

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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