Down The Lane: Kentuckians can talk funny
Published 9:28 am Thursday, October 11, 2018
If you have lived in Kentucky any length of time, you can pretty much understand other Kentuckians.
However, if you are new to the state, you may have a problem with the way we talk.
I must admit we do talk a little different even within this county. I did not realize this until I married my husband more than 30 years ago.
He asked me for a rack one day and I did not know what on earth he was talking about. He kept repeating “a rack, a rack,” and it still did not mean anything to me. I finally showed him a clothes hanger. He said, “yeah, a rack.” I had never in my life heard of a clothes hanger called a rack.
It would not be long before he asked me for a tote. I got him a bag suitable for overnight. He only wanted a paper bag, which I called a sack.
Then I realized he had grown up that way and I had grown up hearing words so differently.
There some other words I have either heard or used that have so many different meanings.
I can remember my Aunt Bea using the word “directly,” when she meant she would be doing something in a minute or soon. She used to say “I will be there or do something directly.” I learned it would be soon.
I do not know how often I have overheard conversations when my mom and aunts spoke of someone getting “put out” over something. Their meaning was someone got angry about something. For others they may say they got “het up “ over something.
From childhood I have learned when you go to the grocery store you get a buggy. A buggy only means something hooked to a horse for some. Others not from Kentucky say a shopping cart. Well, we know it is a shopping cart to push groceries in, but it is a buggy to most of us.
I have about got away from using the word “gom.” After my mom cleaned house really good and did not want it messed up before special company came, we heard her tell us, “I don”t want you all getting in there and gomming everything up.” She meant it better be clean when company got there.
Some of the older people I grew up around used “pert near” often for “almost.”
I also have heard someone being “skittish” for the word nervous. I sometimes use this word myself and “antsy” the same way.
One thing my grandson, Hayden, has caught me saying was the word “worsh” for wash — as in “worsh” your face and hands. He giggled and repeated the word to me and reminded me what I had said.
That word came from my momma. We “worshed” clothes. I am trying to break this habit.
Another Kentucky way of saying something is when we are asked if we would like something. Our answer might be, “I don’t care.” This means, “Yes, I would like it.”
You don’t have to live in a “holler” instead of a hollow near a “crick” instead of a creek to speak this way.
When you throw something away in some places of Kentucky you may just be “chucking” it.
If you live on a farm and the milk does not taste just right, it could be “blinked” or “blanked” instead of being sour.
If you go to visit your neighbor you might be asked to sit for a spell instead of for a while.
Then when you get ready to leave to go home you might just say I better “mosey on home ‘cause those youngun’s will be looking for me.”
A man’s wallet is better known as a “billfold” in Kentucky.
Some of us in Kentucky use the word “youans” while others use “y’all” to mean more than one of you. This is just according to where you live in the state.
The bluegrass in Kentucky can mean both a lifestyle and a genre of music. For some, it is one and the same.
A Brown Betty means a favorite dessert. I
n most places of Kentucky when you want tea, it is almost always sweet tea.
If you are sad you can be blue, but for most of Kentucky, it means you are a Wildcat fan.
When you get little bumps on your arms for some of us we say chill bumps while others say goose bumps. For some of us it is just what mood you are in when you say it.
While the dialects are changing and our English is improving, there are some words that will always remain “Kentucky” words.
I love Kentucky and Kentucky’s people. I find them to be as fine a people as anywhere on earth.
In other words, I “shore” do love them. I surely do.
Sue Staton is a Clark County native who grew up in the Kiddville area. She is a wife, mother and grandmother who is active in her church, First United Methodist Church, and her homemakers group, Towne and Country Homemakers.