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Wednesday, 28 October 2015


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David I knew you were a man of true culture! I can talk about Justified as I watched the series. Its critics called it "southern gothic". Whatever, the series was well written and acted by many native Southerners who were allowed to speak our "native language" which helped the context but probably why you had a hard time understanding. The setting for most of the show is centered in Harlan, Kentucky. A search for that place would be some interesting reading. I have been through there once but it is tucked away on the mountainous border between Virginia and Kentucky. Coal mining country. As the crow flies, not all that far from here. Harlan is in real life unwelcoming and rough. "Bloody Harlan" was its one time name and made famous by Robert Mitchum's "Thunder Road".

Well if 'Justified' is "southern gothic" (an excellent description) then 'Fargo is 'Northern gothic'. How you would categorise "Breaking Bad" as the two dumb 'heroes' try to use acid on a body in a bath which promptly melts the bath and the floor on which it stands is beyond my ken!

But tell me, Whiters, do the Kentuckians actually use that sort of language in which they put together quite long, complex almost (dare I say) poetic sentences?

David, no the natives don't speak that way among themselves. It would almost be classified as "sissy talk", the speaker who did this would be viewed by his peers as a "subversive" know, like someone who might have smuggled a dictionary into town under the cover of darkness. Or worse..during church service where he was absent. They need not be so fluent to dig coal, grow tobacco or weed or even make moonshine.

The show's success had a lot to do with the unique honor of an outlaw being shot dead "Justified" by a seemingly educated well spoken native. It don't get no better than that!

Whitewall's resolute'n thet alots packed in pert bags David. Wha'gets sayed amongst ourselves is just smidges to the ears of "not ferm around here izzers?"

Where the wandering (wondering?) meanders is when there's an opportunity (opportunity = fun, enjoyment) to translate for screenwriter's benefit. Or, the modern English personages. Or ... the Especially Asians attemptin' the langerge!

That was a fascinating link, JK, thanks. However based on your, er, 'transcription of current 'Arkanese' I think this sentence sums it up:

"This isolation fostered an independent development of the dialect that set Ozark English apart from what is widely considered standard American English."

I would only add that it's pretty independent of English English, too!

Well, Whiters, all credit to the writers and the actors that they can spin out those long, elegant sentences and make them sound so real. So much better than that recent series - name escapes me - in which two Louisiana detectives spent several hours of my time grunting at each other in a series of glottal stops!

The other thing I like about 'Justified' is that almost everyone in it looks more or less insane! Anyway, don't miss the latest 'Fargo'!

"more or less insane!" Yep, those are the locals.

Ozark English has many similarities to remote Appalachian English too.

Yes, JK's link stresses that.

Also, this from the Wiki entry for my 'hero', John Barton, founder of the RSC:

"Barton still holds these workshops and even conducts Master Classes at BADA (British American Drama Academy) during their Summer in Oxford training programs. He was awarded the 2001 Sam Wanamaker Prize. Barton believes that the present-day speech of the Appalachian Mountains is the most suitable model for actors who want to imitate the accent used at the time of Shakespeare's plays.[5]:"

I heard him once reciting Shakespeare lines in as close to the accent of Elizabethan England as it is possible to get today and you could hear how it has influenced early American.

" ... two Louisiana detectives spent several hours of my time grunting at each other ... "

Jestya keep y'all onter rails David, them Loose-nay-anians (broke for pronunciation purposes solely) is French.

Difrunt critter altether.

Elevating Whitewall's "More or less insane yep, thems locals."

Whitewall, I read somewhere that Robert Mitchum was a Hobo during the Great Recession. Any truth in that. He was in the Longest Day. Still have the old video

True story David, an I wouldn't be saying so if'n this here blog was anywheres in the US a'cause JK would likely get revealt - my Dad when I was a 5 year-old was a Navy MD on a USMC base out in California - recruited to come back to his native Arkansas to start up the first "modern hospital" in the Ozarks. (Dad incidentally was enlisted during both WWII and Korea, only becoming an MD on the GI Bill.)

The guy who is getting described below is closer to my generation than Dad's but in the early days of the hospital Dad was heard to say more than once, "If it hadn't been for guys like Crowbar traveling up to Missouri on the weekends (northern Arkansas at the time was alcohol free - the legal kind) the hospital would have been forced to close the doors."


"You'd rather try to pour hot butter up a wildcat's ass than mess with him when he's mad." That's what one character says about Crowbar Russell on the show, and it's hard to disagree, as most of his screen time is spent railing furiously against "poachers," "flatlanders" and "those bastards who busted up my moonshine." His dialogue is generally subtitled, presumably because his accent might be a challenge for some viewers."

15 miles away as the crow flies.

Jimmy I don't know about the hobo part but I have Longest Day video myself. Search and listen to "Thunder Road" sung by Mitchum in the mid 1950s I think. I know all the locations mentioned and where the driver lost control and burned up. We have cousins near that spot who lived there then and now.

Sorry, JK, but I can't find any link to Mr. Crowbar Russell but the 'Arktimes' provoked me to a post - see above.

Open ARKANSAS TIMES, type or paste Crowbar Russell in search area just below ARKANSAS TIMES. Currently first story to appear “Small town Arkansas gets caricature in “Clash of the Ozarks” locals ….

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