‘Intertidal zone of the linguistic South” — that’s us

“The Tar Heel State is the intertidal zone of the linguistic South: Overwhelming forces wash in and out, but weird, fascinating little tide pools remain….”

— From “Why North Carolina Is the Most Linguistically Diverse U.S. State… But it might not be that way for much longer” b at Atlas Obscura (Dec. 11)

Cited at length: N.C. State’s Walt Wolfram, “one of the great American linguists of the past 50 years.”

 

Where Yankees said ‘very,’ we said ‘mighty’

“The words very and must didn’t exist in the rural North Carolina dialect I spoke. All my relatives and neighbors used mighty where Yankees would use very.

“I recall the first time I heard must coming from the mouth of a Southerner. Our high school was having career day and had invited a pianist from Fayetteville who had tried his luck in New York. He said, ‘I must go now; I have another session….’  I was so struck by the incident, that I remember it to this day, a half century later. Now very and must are commonplace….”

— From Dr. Goodword’s Language Blog (Sept. 18, 2013) 

Offline, Dr. Goodword is Robert E. Beard, native of Fayetteville, graduate of UNC Chapel Hill and professor emeritus of languages at Bucknell University.