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Talk Like a Louisvillian

The particular dialectal feature Eric Baković notes at Language Log is not confined to Louisville. My wife and I have somewhat frequent discussions about whether she’s looking for a “pen” to write with or a “pin” to sew with, and she’s not even from the same state. (She’s from Kentucky.) (And if you’ve ever lived in Louisville, you know what I mean.) It’s the same with my relatives in Bell County, Kentucky. I’ll have to double-check my parents, though. They’ve lived in Michigan so long their accent has drifted some—although not by much.

What I really wish Eric had explained, however, was how one manages linguistically to condense “Louisville” into two and a half syllables!

looavul

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2 Comments

  1. Anne says:

    I’ve got family in Louisville. One of them lives in “Luhvul” and the other in “LouEville”. Odd. Though one’s originally from Frankfort and the other is originally from the foothills …

    I still remember my dad carefully explaining to me how to pronounce his home town (Lex’n’n).

    Take care & God bless
    Anne / WF

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  2. I heard the pen/pin thing growing up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There it was south side vs north side. Apparently my cousin was sure I wrote with a PIN. I could have sworn I wrote with a PEN.

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