Quick Guide to Speaking Like You Are From Kentucky
Ok so we all know we get a bad wrap for the way we talk here in The Bluegrass State. But you know what? We don’t care what you think. In fact if you come here we think you need to speak the local language and try to fit in. Because there is nothing a good ole boy from Kentucky mistrusts more than an outsider, an outsider city slicker especially.
1. As a general rule in most cases know that it’s not necessary to pronounce every letter, especially the ones near the end of a word. The human brain is a great thing, it can determine what you are trying to say without wasting all the effort to pronounce every single letter in a word.
2. Know the correct way to say the town you are living in or going to, these are the most easily recognizable words city slicker outsiders use.
Versailles – we don’t care what the French say, ever, its (Ver-sales) not (Ver-seye)
Pikeville – Silent K, i = u, no e (Pi-vull)
Louisville – Not Looeyville, (Lool-vull) (Lool-ville is acceptable West of Frankfort.
Garrard County – (Gar-rid)
Lancaster – (Lank-ister)
Rowan County – Not Row like Row Your Boat – But Row like How and one syllable. (Rown)
Athens – It’s not Greece, Long A – (Ay-thins)
Beattyville, Maysville– Again any i, in any ville, is a u, and no e. Beatty-Vull, Mays-Vull)
(Any) Hollow – Its Holler, always, unless is an empty log, but it’s acceptable in that use as well.
Cincinnati – is the same thing as Northern Kentucky as far as we are concerned
Lastly (remember this is the CliffsNotes Version not the Master’s Level stuff) just because Webster or Mrs. Seventh Grade English Teacher says it ain’t a word, or “correct” English, don’t mean nothing.
Quick Tips: Aint , Caint, Up yonder, pert near, reckon, double negatives, dangling participles, all OK in the right context. “Bless your heart” is really bad if directed towards you. If you want to end a sentence in a preposition, well that’s ok too, as long as you imply there is word following it…Never honk you hore outside of Lexington or Louisville unless you want to fight, or are saying Hi to someone driving by, the direction you are looking as honking is the understood target.
Most Important Tip: If a stranger waves at you, or says Hi as passing, and you do not return the gesture, you are a city slicker and it’s acceptable to spit tobacco on your shoes. Just kidding about the tobacco part but it ain’t cool – be friendly. And remember if you visit and don’t like the weather outside, give it a few minutes it will change but it will probably rain at some point.