APPALACHIAN ENGLISH. The English of the mountain region of Appalachia in the south-eastern US: in parts of Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and all of West Virginia. The most influential settlers in these areas were the SCOTS-IRISH, who began arriving in the British American colonies c.1640 and moved to the south and west. Because of the relative isolation in which it has developed and the continuance of forms regarded elsewhere as archaisms, Appalachian English has been regarded (popularly but incorrectly) as a kind of Elizabethan or Shakespearian English. However, it shares features with other kinds of non-standard English, particularly in the South: absence of the copula (That alright); the use of right and plumb as intensifying adverbs (I hollered right loud, The house burnt plumb down). Phonological features include: initial /h/ in such words as hit for it, hain't for ain't; -er for -ow as in feller/tobaccer/yeller (fellow/tobacco/yellow). Grammatical features include: a-prefixing with -ing participial forms (He just kept a beggin' an' a-cryin') and the use of done as a perfective marker (He done sold his house: He has sold his house). A-prefixing is a relic of a construction containing the OLD ENGLISH preposition on in unstressed positions before certain participles: He was on hunting (He was engaged in hunting). Currently, Appalachian English is often socially stigmatized because it is spoken in its most distinctive form by poor, often uneducated, mountain people. See DIALECT (UNITED STATES), SOUTHERN ENGLISH.
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