Thursday May 9th 2013
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
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."