My first point about this is that sometimes the truth gets debunked as a
My second point about this is that claiming North Carolinians speak Queen
Elizabeth I's English is an overstatement, and therefore can be easily
attacked as a claim, even though a lesser claim that many old things survive
might hold water.
Consider this: In Japan, the Okinawa dialect is said to be more like the
Japanese spoken in the Heian Period than any of the other dialects. The
reasoning being that, existing at the outside edge of influence from the
Japanese power center, other influences have been slower to reach there and
change things. This is generally accepted and not considered "a myth" at
This is somewhat analogous to "the Appalachians speak Shakespeare's English"
claim. After all, the Appalachia's were the remotest part of the world
speaking English at that time and would be the last place for subsequent
changes to reach. The lesser claim that a lot of Elizibethan English still
survives in Appalachia is probably true.
Going back to my first point: any proposition can be argued with. Every
position one might take has a potential argument that can be moutned against
it. The fact you *can* mount an argument does not mean the argument has been
won. For instance, I believe I could write a very good rebuttal to the essay
you cite. (This post perhaps being a sort of preview of what I'd say, plus
As a side note: have you ever been to snopes.com
? All of the information
gathered there was originally collected by the members of the
alt.folklore.urban newsgroup (of which I was a member) during the early
1990's. The free information was basically "borrowed" by two of the members
and made into a more commercial website. I believe these members were of
questionable scruples in that they did not do all the work to collect it,
but now try to claim a sort of ownership.
Anyway, the goal of alt.folklore.urban was to look at various myths and try
to rate them as: "Known to be True," "Known to be False," "Suspected to be
True," "Suspected to be False," and "Unknown/Unverified.
Usually, there are clear facts that make an item "Known to be True" or
"Known to be False." But when there are disputes, these decisions are made
by consensus. It's tempting to take such a source as definitive, but in
several cases, I happen to know for certain (complete 100% conviction) that
several "Known to be True" items are not true at all and that a few "Known
to be False" items really happened. (I'd rate overall accuracy of
informaiton at snopes.com
at about 97+ percent, which is excellent, but not
The third point: Don't just accept whatever someone states as definitive
fact just because it's been professionally published and authoritatively
stated. Rather than discarding the claim as a total myth, I'd stick with the
general idea that due to the remoteness of Appalachia versus Britain that
there is a fair amount of obsolete, obscure and out-of-date Elizabethan
English floating around.
As I said, the ability to mount an argument and put it in a book doesn't
equal winning that argument.