I got this question on the Ask the English Teacher page, and I'm sharing it here. Do with it what you will.
Here is the question as it was written:
is your opinion, is Appalachian English nothing more than inferior
dialect of uneducated lazy Southern Hillbillies living among themselves
isolated from the real world? Or is it as research expanding over 80
years now theorize as remnant of Elizabethan (or Shakespearean) English
that due to isolation has been preserved? There is other theories from
the British Isles settlers to adapting with Colonial American English.
Personally my opinion the so call educated people are not willing to
acknowledge years of stereotyping from being unable to speak or
understand it. Where as speakers of Appalachian English have no trouble
understanding standard English as well.
Love to hear your
prospective on the subject, from my quick overview you have experience
with standard English, to being married to an Hillbilly, to teaching and
that's the upmost authority any could have.
If you have not
noticed I am an true Appalachian Hillbilly, over the years one can only
imagine the theoretical I have experienced. As an example two have
stayed implanted among my old head. After moving to New York City in
2000 was asked by who now is an dear friend, "Don't you people do things
with barn animals why?" Took a few minutes to reply then said well I
was hoping that our delightful habits were not known but maybe one day
I'll take you down there so to experience it. Left it at that for a
couple years. Then while on an four week Caribbean cruse was approached
by a wonderful educated well rounded lady from Chicago, she wanted to
know why and how it was that I am not those on Hee Haw? She and her
colleagues for years could not understand how no one would help us,
educate us, send us to boarding schools for such types. Cruse already
half way she had become part of our afternoon martini tea time group
but, just could not let this pass. Came back well honey you know what I
am glad you're so good to see that in me if you would like to donate I
am not ashamed to accept an Harvard education as well as summer abroad
the european expanding my little pea picking brain. LOL Got neither but
she did get educated.
In closing am in debate for now ten years
that I am no more than just an Hillbilly reason I can speak better is
association among the educated, any so called theories Appalachian
English is superior I should really go to be mentally checked, jokingly
In answer to the question, I don't find any one dialect inherently inferior to any other. Dialects tend to be based on regional or socio-economic isolation. In other words, we use the speech we hear around us all day.
Also, language is constantly changing. If we take a group who all speak the same dialect and separate them for long enough, they will eventually be speaking two completely different dialects.
However, there is a dialect known as Standard American English. This is the English used in business and education. It is the language of power. In order to be successful in America, one should be able to use Standard American English. Without this ability, one is unlikely to be taken seriously by those who have power and authority. These are the people who will hire you, support you, connect you, bankroll you. Or not.