Growing up in the North I always pronounced the great Eastern mountain chain - the Appalachian Mountains - with a long a in the middle. Something like "appalayshin" mountains. I also referred to the region surrounding the mountains as "appalaysha".

Since moving to East Tennessee I've altered my pronunciation to the Southern way and I now call it "appa-latch-a" and the "appa-latchin" mountains.

This change is partly a result of joining the scholarly Appalachian Studies communities, within which the Southern pronunciation reigns supreme. In fact, hearing the Northern take on "Appalachian" sounds almost as outlandish now as "Mary-VILLE" (as opposed to "Mare-a-vul" or "Murvul".

I was pleased to hear Stephen Colbert, South Carolina native, refer to the great trail on which Governor Mark Sanford was NOT hiking as the appa-LATCH-in trail, and I thought about how unusual it is to hear anybody of national profile pronounce it that way. Many Southern-accented national media personalities use the Northern method.

How do you pronounce it? And what quirky inconsistencies have you noticed with the pronunciation of Appalachia or Appalachian?

R. Neal's picture

Growing up, we always said

Growing up, we always said "appa-latchin." Somewhere along the way I picked up "appa-layshin." Probably from being around all those Northerners in Florida for fifteen years or so. I sometimes revert, though, now that we're back.

Olepossom's picture

Just like the river

Since the river in Florida goes by the pronunciation "appa-latch-a-cola", and since the mountains take their name from the river, which takes its name from the indigenous folk residing there, we say what I always have said: latch ya

bizgrrl's picture

This reminds me of the

This reminds me of the pronunciation of Louisville, TN. Growing up it was pronounced lu-i-vil, like Louisville, KY. Now, many people seem to pronounce it like lewisville.

Pam Strickland's picture

The one in Kentucky is in

The one in Kentucky is not lu-i-vil. It is Luuu-UH-VUUhhLLL.

I have family there. And that's the way they say it. For real.

Pam Strickland

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." ~Kurt Vonnegut

Virgil Proudfoot's picture

How to enforce the correct pronunciation of "Appalachian"

Just tell someone who says "Appa-lay-shun" or some other Yankeeism that, if you persist, I'll throw an apple at'cha.

lovable liberal's picture

Even after 30 years in

Even after 30 years in Massachusetts, I use '-latch-', and let me tell you I'm pretty unique in that up here.

Bizgrrl, I was only in Lakemoor for three years (plus some summers during college), so take this with a grain of salt, but I never heard anything but 'lewisvul'. I do have fond memories - despite (because of?) way too much to drink - of a graduation party at the Woods' lake house in Louisville.

Liberty and justice for all.

My home

JCW not logged in...'s picture

Northern for me...

I grew up in Oak Ridge, with West Tennessee parents, and I have always said the "Appa-lay-shun" version. When I hear the Appa-Latcha, it just sounds funny.

8 years ago, I moved to North Knoxville, off Dante Road. I pronounced it Dante, as in Dante's Inferno (SP?)"Dawn-Tey"... I am now told it should be prounced "Dain-tee". Brother in law is so southern, it comes out as one syllable.

Which is it?

Rachel's picture

Dante is pronounced without

Dante is pronounced without the "t", sort of like the name Danny. Corryton is pronounced with an added "g" - Cor-ring-ton.

Only Yankees use a long "a" in Appalachian. I've been arguing with my Oregon born, Cornell educated spouse about this for years. Oh, and Colbert is from South Carolina, so he knows how to say it.

Russ's picture

Corryton is pronounced with

Corryton is pronounced with an added "g" - Cor-ring-ton.

Only outsiders pronounce it that way. Locals call it "Carn'n".


Rachel's picture

True enough. Kind of like

True enough. Kind of like the difference between Marivul and Murvul.

Pam Strickland's picture

Sorry, my 66-year-old uncle

Sorry, my 66-year-old uncle was born there and still lives on the same plot of land, and he adds the "g".

Pam Strickland

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." ~Kurt Vonnegut

redmondkr's picture

Then there is LaFollette.

Then there is LaFollette. Some say Lay Flat, some La Fo Lay.

We have a new Lifestar pilot who sounds Australian and it's fun to listen to him struggle with our cities and towns.

Visit us at:

The Home

bill young's picture

Over Home

Dont this here mountain range go from New York to Alabama?

It aint a yankee/southern thang.
It's a hillbilly thang.

So like the folks from Sneedville say

We all from..Over Home.

Rachel's picture

It aint a yankee/southern

It aint a yankee/southern thang.
It's a hillbilly thang.

Not entirely. The spouse claims folks in the Penn./NY mountains use a long "a".

bill young's picture

When in Rome..

45 years ago my Dad was traveling south Georgia.

Ask the feller at the gas far was

Well you get on the highway & go north till
you hit New York & ask 'em how to get to
the capital.

But about 10 mile down the road.

Elrod's picture

Red Hickey and "Serveerville"

My favorite is the way WDVX DJ pronounces Sevierville: "Ser-veer-vul" with the added "r" in the first syllable.

Big pet peeve: pronouncing "suite" like "suit" instead of "sweet." There's an "e" on the end of it for a reason.

Elrod's picture

"Eastern Tennessee"

I also hate it when people refer to this section of the state as "eastern Tennessee" instead of "East Tennessee." In Kentucky it's "eastern Kentucky" but here it's just "East."

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