Southeast Missouri State University

Quiddity Editor Lecturing on South Midland Dialect

by News Bureau on

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Nov. 13, 2013 -- Joanna Beth Tweedy, novelist and editor of Quiddity magazine, will present the lecture “Cow-Catchers, Bumfuzzles, and Chiggers-Oh, My!: Exploring the Celebrated South Midland Dialect” Nov. 20 at Southeast Missouri State University.

The lecture, scheduled for 7 p.m. in Glenn Auditorium in Dempster Hall, is sponsored by Southeast Missouri State University Press, with financial assistance from the Missouri Arts Council.

The South Midland Dialect is lauded by linguists and philologists for its remarkable capacity for imagery, story, transmission and even the elements of hope and possibility embedded in its syntax. It also has been one of the most misunderstood American dialects.

The author will engage participants in a discussion of American dialects as well as brief exercises, centering specifically on the notion that how individuals are bound and where they are bound share a connection that ultimately effects itself through a region’s diction and idiom. Through many examplesᾰfrom vocabulary, pronunciation variations, grammatical anomalies, including phrases unique to regions within the South Midlandsᾰthe workshop will demonstrate how linguistic landscapes are “mapped,” and how language becomes place.

Tweedy has been immersed in this wonderful, creative language all her life. Born and raised in the Shawnee Hills of southernmost Illinois, she later published “The Yonder Side of Sass and Texas,” (Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2009), a novel full of the linguistic twists and leaps of the south midland dialect, found in not only Illinois but Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee. The novel follows the lives of two sisters, born into a family full of girls, the “female fluster” as Grandpa Jelly calls it. Tweedy weaves the midland dialect through every passage: “Girls just run in the family. Folks bluster on unending about how it doesn’t make a cat’s bark of sense, blast-all boy-howdy and what-have-you. A few allege it’s some kind of Creole voodoo hex, but Granny pishposhes that.”

An ardent foreign-adventurist with “chronic and gravitational homesoil leanings,” Joanna Beth Tweedy was born and raised in Little Egypt, Ill. She is the founding editor and host of Quiddity International Literary Journal and Public-Radio Program, housed at Benedictine University and distributed by NPR-member/PRI-affiliate WUIS. Tweedy teaches creative writing, and her poetry and fiction have received honors from Glimmer Train, the Southern Women Writers Conference, The Alsop Review, Life Press and the Ray Bradbury Creative Writing Contest, among others.

For more information, contact Dr. Susan Swartwout at (573) 651-2044 or sswartwout@semo.edu

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