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November 10, 2011
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I believe the expression "might could" is typical of Appalachia and not the entire Southern United States. I grew up in Southwest Virginia and have lived all over the country and in Ireland. I'm currently a writer at an Ivy League university, and I continue to use the phrase when it fits. I'm proud of it. It's part of the color of my unique culture. And It's a great ice-breaker or conversation starter with my professorial colleagues as well. I've never had anyone accuse me of being stupid or uncouth. (Perhaps that's because I write about them and my ability to manipulate language almost always makes them sound better than they are.)
Also, in the area where I'm from, the phrase "might could" often carries the connotation, "I might be able to, SHOULD I CHOOSE TO TRY." We are often a wry and subtle people, and you have to be pretty smart to pick up on that.
My dialect is part of the reason I became fascinated with language at an early age. But when I left home for college, I realized if I was going be taken seriously I'd have to change the way I spoke. It took a long, concentrated effort to get rid of that intrusive R. I still sound like a Yankee most of the time (except when I'm drinking), but I whip out my native tongue when it can have the most effect.
Oh, and Sarah Jane and Crockett, I wish I could share some peaches soaked in moonshine with ya'll. We might could have a right good time at it.
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