References to cipherin’, revenuers and white lightnin’ were commonplace among the cast of the The Beverly Hillbillies, a popular American sitcom of the 1960s and ‘70s. No doubt confusing to some, it should come as no surprise that the mountain vocabulary was familiar to most East Tennesseans since Granny hailed from the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.
Dr. Bethany Dumas, University of Tennessee Knoxville English Professor Emerita, will present Southern Mountain English, a Southern Appalachian Studies series program about the language of this area, on Monday, August 28, at 7 p.m., in Blount County Library’s Sharon Lawson Room.
Dumas will decipher the intriguing, and sometimes mystifying, language referred to as “Southern Mountain English” and share her interpretation of this variety of American English as a shaper of identity.
She will talk about how words like holler and winder evolved, and how some words became substitutes for other English expressions, such as liketa in, “I liketa never went to sleep last night.”
Clothes may make the man, but Dumas says, “Speech and dialect shape identity.”
Dumas specializes in Forensic Linguistics, Education Management, and Language Variation. She holds a B.A. from Lamar University, M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas and a J.D. from the University of Tennessee.
Dumas has received numerous awards and grants, including the National Endowment for the Humanities Younger Humanist Fellowship, the American Council of Learned Societies Travel Grant, and the Tennessee Bar Association Jury Reform Commission. She is a member of the Dictionary Society of North America and the Southeastern Conference on Linguistics.
Photo: Early Summer Landscape, East Tennessee © Jerry Waley / Shutterstock.
Open to the public, this program will be hosted by the Blount County Public Library, located at 508 N. Cusick Street, Maryville. For further information about library programs or services, call the library at 982-0981 or visit the website at www.blounttn/197.