An English In Kentucky


















Thursday May 9th 2013    Tim Candler


    The Big Town in the State of Kentucky is Louisville.   I was there yesterday, amongst people with cell phones and in unbridled traffic.  An English can get close to an adequate pronunciation of The Big Town's name if he realizes the 's' is silent, otherwise confusion may rule.  Louisville is named after the French King Louis the sixteenth, who is the French King who lost his life to the guillotine, and whose nickname is Louis The Last. And it's worth noting that in the lineage of French Monarchs, Louis the sixteenth was actually  followed by Louis the seventeenth and by Louis the Eighteenth. The first King Louis of France, Louis the Pious, is not to be confused with King Louis the First of Spain, or the first King Louis of Bavaria, or the first King Louis of Hungry.  The name Louis is generally thought to mean Famous Warrior, so a great many proud European kings must have named their boy child Louis in hopeful expectation.  But how the word Louis emerged from words reflecting the idea of  fame and war and warrior in any language defeats me.  I've always thought of the sound "lewis" and "looee" as "big bottom pansy ass boy," which I am well aware is yet one more flaw  in me that I should work on, and I will.

    Louisville was founded and given it's name by George Roger Clark.  He was soldier from Virginia in the Revolutionary War, which was a war that saw the French on the American Colonist's side.   Of current day pronunciations of Louisville this is how some might be spelled,  "Loouhvull"  or the much friendlier "Luhvull"  and sometimes to better encompass the ear of outsiders the sound is repeated as  "Looeevil."   Louis, or Famous War Warrior, in the English language way of these things, is 'lewis,' the 's' is not silent.   And indeed there is a town called Lewisville in Texas, which is named after man called  Basdeal Lewis. Lewisville Texas is pronounced "looisvil."  As well there is a town in England called Lewes, it's about twenty miles from where the Saxon King Harold lost his battle with French Normans in the year 1066. A loss that can still hurt me as much as the loss of Carthage to Rome and Troy to the Athenians.  And this town of Lewes in England as well as the town of Lewes in Delaware is pronounced "lewis."  Lewes is also a name with an origin in Wales, and there are some who will tell you it comes from the Welsh  word "Llyue" which means 'leader'  or perhaps brightness'  and probably arrives in English from the Welsh name  Llywelyn.  And I wonder what might have happened had George Roger Clark been inspired by Llywelyn The Last of Wales, rather than Louis The Last of France.  Llywelynville  would sound something like "hhluwwerlihnvull."  Which to my ear is even further  from sounding like ""big bottom pansy ass boy town"  than is "Luhvull."


 Previous     Next