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How to Do an Appalachian Accent

Learn how to do an Appalachian accent from voice and speech coach Andrea Caban in this Howcast video.


Let's work on your Appalachian accent. This is mountain speak, and this is the accent that shows up in the mountains of North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee.

The oral posture for this accent, your tongue is pulled really far back in your throat, and your lips are barely moving at all. Try that. The "OO" sound becomes "Oooo." The moon looks blue on a June night. The "AW" sound becomes "Aaaaw." I thought I caught that dog. I thought I caught that dog becomes I thought I caught that dog. Have fun with that.

The "I" sound, as in "tiny my, " becomes the "A." Tiny. My. Let's talk about Rs. Do it. Do it even more. Really go into that R. In fact, do it so much that you add an R sometimes when there isn't even an R in the word, like "warsh." "Wash" becomes "warsh." "Carolina" becomes "Carolinar." Go for it. Go all the way for the caricature, and then you can always knock it back some if you want to. Go for it, and have fun with it.

What do you notice about the musicality of this accent? It's very choppy. It's very (?), meaning there's lots of Rs, so that affects the musicality of it. Because my mouth isn't opening so much, there's a privacy in that kind of communication. Don't take my word for it. Go listen to some native Appalachian speakers. There's a fabulous documentary on Appalachian folk ballads. Watch it. Learn it, and work on your Appalachian accent.

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