Ozark Heritage Lecture Series : MO Humanities speaker Brooks Blevins reschedules lecture at the Harlin for Saturday, July 15th at 1pm


Join us at 1 pm on Saturday, July 15 for a presentation by Dr. Brooks Blevins–who spends his days as a Missouri Humanities speaker, an MSU Professor of Ozark Studies, a resident historian, and an author–on the intricacies of language and the spoken word here in the Ozarks.

This lighthearted presentation explores early ethnic and cultural influences on the Ozarks through the lens of dialect and accent. It dismisses the old notion of Elizabethan dialect in the Ozarks and instead looks at words, phrases, and speech patterns that were once common in vernacular Ozark (and usually Appalachian) language, tracing their origins to European or colonial American roots.

The presentation invites frequent audience participation and includes a built-in “Talking Ozark” quiz. Natives or longtime residents of the Ozarks will enjoy revisiting styles and words that have probably gone unused for decades, and others will gain an appreciation for cultural diffusion and regional distinctiveness in Missouri—as well as the forces that constantly chip away at that distinctiveness.

Dr. Blevins’ lecture will coincide with the display of our Ozark Heritage Exhibit, which features L.L.Broadfoot’s Pioneers of the Ozarks collection of original charcoal sketches and oil paintings–depicting local people, customs, and traditions, and, as a whole, representing the last traces of the simpler world that was this region in the late 1930s/early 1940s. Along with each character portrait, the artist included a written portion with all the inflections and accents unique to each individual, telling a little portion of their personal story–and invoking a collective image that is unparalleled by any other collection of its kind.

It offers an interesting backdrop to the topic of language that Dr. Blevins will be covering. So, please, make plans to come to hear Dr. Blevins speak on, “How To Talk Ozark In Seven Simple Steps” at the Harlin Museum on June 15th at 1 pm. Free admission; donations are welcome. The Ozark Heritage exhibit will be on display at the museum until September 3rd, 2023.