I’d like to go back to my comment on the politics of Assendorp very briefly, as I don’t want to be misinterpreted. Dalton County is known for its very conservative values, and because of that, most townsfolk enforce the idea that the man goes out and does the work while the woman stays home to keep the house clean. I wouldn’t say that feminism is dead in Dalton county. If something is to be declared to be “dead”, that would imply that it was at some point alive and I don’t think feminism was ever alive in Dalton county.
There has been some dispute as to whether the English language is dying, and who might be responsible for its slow death. While I personally believe that our language isn’t dying but simply evolving, there are certain words that have long since died in Dalton county, and the locals are dancing on their graves- some of those words being, “you all”, “soda”, and “miles”. If you want to give yourself a few minutes to grieve their passing, take as much time as you need.
Dalton folks are the sorts of people who regularly use the contracted terms “y’all” and “ain’t” on a regular basis. “Soda” is referred to as “pop”. And if you’re asking for directions, don’t expect the reply to be how far away the distance is, but instead how long of a drive in minutes it will be. So if you ever ask someone from Assendorp how far away Wolfsburg is, don’t be surprised when they answer, “Oh, ‘bout five… ten minutes that way.”
While the southern Ohioan dialect is thicker than most Ohioan dialects, I wouldn’t say it’s completely incoherent. It’s a relaxed and nasally dialect that requires you to speak your mind in as short a time as possible. Words like “about”, “probably”, and “going to” are abbreviated down to “’bout”, “prolly”, and “gonna”. This ensures that if you’re saying a long and detailed sentence, you don’t have to waste the listener’s time so much.
It’s not just how they’re shortened, it’s also how they sound. The biggest discerning factor for how to tell if someone is from the southern portion of Ohio, is in how they say “well”. You and I might say it simply as it is written, so phonetically it would look like “weɫ”. But with most southern Ohioans, it would look more like “’wɛəɫ”, which would sound more like you’re saying, “way-uhl”.
And if you want to spot someone from Dalton, just listen to how they say the name of the county. Instead of looking like “’dɑɫtən”, a regular Dalton-ite’s pronunciations looks like this “’dɔɫ˺n”. The “a” has a rounder sound- not quite an “a” or “o”- and the “to” have been thrown out, to make a forced stop between the “l” and “n”, sounding something akin to, “Dull-n”. While I’d love to explain this dialect more in-dept, I’d like to not waste your time either.
While the people of Dalton have been judged, I don’t think that such judgment is baseless. But I hope that I have conveyed to you a different light on the simple but endearing folks of this county. I never grew up with them, but over the several years I spent visiting Assendorp, I felt a kinship to them that one might compare to the relationship the Tucker brothers had with these same people. Although, to be fair, I didn’t stab these folks in the back in the end.