West Virginia Dialect Project

U.S. National Archive Jack Corn

We all have a unique way of talking- and here in Appalachia, we have many ways of being understood, and misunderstood, because of our language.

It stretches across race lines - and the judgment of one’s language can reveal classism, racism or both. This week’s episode of Inside Appalachia explores one of the ways people are judged: language.   

Derek Cline/ Inside Appalachia

We all have a unique way of talking- and here in Appalachia, we have many ways of being understood..and misunderstood, because of our language.

An article in the University of Dayton Law Review defines Appalachiaism as discrimination based on the traditions and lifestyles of Appalachians.

Derek Cline/ Inside Appalachia

So how do you say Appalachia? This week, our episode is about the many different accents, and pronunciations, of Appalachia. Many of those interviewed for the show said they have very strong feelings about pronunciation.

Inside Appalachia’s host Jessica Lilly found six known pronunciations of the word Appalachia. Yes, that's right, six different ways to say it:

Derek Cline/ Inside Appalachia

Despite stereotypes, Appalachians don’t have a homogenous way of speaking. This week, we’re excited to share lots of Appalachian voices as we explore the complex aspects of the way we talk.

A professor of linguistics and English at WVU is working to map West Virginia’s dialects and accents.  Kirk Hazen was in Wyoming County earlier this week, collecting interviews from natives.