We Speak Kentucky…

Yesterday Sofia and I were having our weekly chinese Dad and Sofia lunch. A young chinese man came into the restaurant and the waitress recognized him and they started talking loudly to one another because they were halfway across the room. Sofia says… “Are they talking Chinese?”, I say yes. “What do we talk?”, I say that we speak English. “Why?” Because we were born here (meaning the US) and that’s the language we learned when we were growing up. “When you grew up in New York, did you talk New York?” Well, a New York kind of English… but people in NY now act like I sound like I’m from KY and the people in KY act like I sound like I’m from NY. “But I’m growing up in Kentucky?” Yep. “So I speak Kentucky?” After a got done spitting my spring roll onto my plate I said… well, yes I guess so. For some reason this never occurred to me before. As a former northerner it seems almost cruel to raise your child to speak Kentucky but what could I actually do about besides move and it’s probably too late for that. As we age, we eat crow. Speaking of aging, here’s what a little wiseass I could be when I hadn’t aged much yet. My grandfather, probably 75 in the picture asked my sister to take a picture to send to his brother in Sicily so they could see him with some of his grandchildren. His eyesight was going and he had trouble sometimes telling if we were giving him a hard time or not. So we set up for the picture and my friend is sitting on the couch to my right and he wears glasses… I didn’t at the time. Right as the picture is going to be shot, I mess up my hair, grab my friend’s glasses, put them on crooked and make a face. I hear that payback’s a bitch, wondering how it will manifest itself… maybe a daughter that speaks Kentucky? Unfortunately, the picture was never sent… but if it had it would have accurately depicted one of Grandpa’s grandchildren.


11 Responses to “We Speak Kentucky…”

  1. ron Says:

    Funny post Jim. I know I speak NC. Specifically Shelby, NC. Drive 8 miles to Polkville or Lawndale and they are are speaking different from me. It’s great. I really enjoy all your blogging about Sofia and yourself.
    Have a great day.

  2. Ken Says:

    Who is that studious young lad on the right?

    • jim Says:

      hey kenny, i think the sweater vest holds up well, that’s probably the most that you ever looked like an executive.

  3. soubriquet Says:

    That’s interesting….
    Just as most americans can’t really ‘hear’ the differences in british accents, I’m a stranger to yours, yes, I can tell the difference between north and south, but present me with an array of recorded soundbites, and I’d be unable to tell kentucky from montana…..

    What Ron said is true here too, ten miles and it’s different-speak. So much so that a farmer I regularly have reason to talk to, twenty miles south of here, is unintelligible to me… It takes about twenty minutes for me to tune in to “Edward speak”, it’s worth it, though, because the man has such a dry sense of humour I end up laughing until it hurts.

    Did you know that here in europe, schools in non-english speaking countries teach separate courses in “english”and “American english”?

  4. judy Shreve Says:

    I grew up speaking Georgia & moved to northern CA when I flew out of the nest — well – my ‘Georgia-speak’ was ridiculed away & now I’m back in GA after living all over the country & folks now think I sound like I’m from the north — that’s not a compliment from someone who grew up speaking GA.

  5. cindy shake Says:

    OMG! that picture and story is so funny :o) Payback in deed my man. I was born in California and we moved to Alaska when I was in grade school. Someone once asked me if I grew up in Californinia, when I asked why they said “I speak like I’m a Californian -because I talk so FAST!”

  6. Amanda Barr Hawkins Says:

    I spoke what I called ‘hick’ (rural Missouri) until I went to college, where I learned St. Louis. Now that I’ve been in Iowa for awhile, I have started speaking Iowa.

    Did you know they send newscasters (Walter Cronkite is a famous one!) to Iowa to learn the accent called “General Midwestern?” We have a relatively bland, emphasis-free speech pattern here. It’s the same idea as the British Recieved Pronunciation (Queen’s English) that a lot of BBC presenters have to use. It negates regionalism and promotes trust as the broadcaster isn’t obviously loyal to any part of the country.

    LOVE the photo!

  7. meredith Says:

    we raised two kids here in te rural south.
    OUr youngest is biligual- she can ya’ll and younder with the best of them.
    I was born in NC but raised in Va. when I would visit here and the locals would ask where I was from? I would tell them VA. They would reply- Oh. way up North……
    Well last time I checked VA. was the south!

  8. gary Says:

    JIM! I wonder sometimes if you and me are smartass twins seperated at birth….and listen man, you do NOT sound like a New Yorker at all, now you sound either coonass or cracker with a dollop of redneck thrown in…

  9. ang Says:

    hahaaa the glasses look good and now you can’t live without them..! that’s brilliant a good food spit, i did the same thing last night, pity sprayed some good chard across the carpet..! Bug will prob move to NY when she’s older and tell you you have an accent….payback its still coming….mmmmm

  10. dawn Says:

    David Sedaris has a similar story – “We talk Pretty, One day”

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