"hillbilly from Louisville"

James Landau jjjrlandau at EARTHLINK.NET
Sat Feb 4 02:18:51 UTC 2006

Anybody who uses "hillbilly from Louisville" is definitely NOT from

In Kentucky the term "hillbilly" refers ONLY to people living in the
Mountains, also called the "Cumberlands" or the "Eastern Kentucky coal
field".  This is a well-defined geological area which starts about a
hundred miles east of Louisville.

Geologically Kentucky is divided into the Eastern coal field, the Western
coal field, the Pennyrile, the Knobs, the Jackson Purchase, and the
Bluegrass.  (Bluegrass is not a state of mind but rather an area of rolling
hills that provides excellent pasturage for horses.)  Louisville is in the
Knobs.  No Kentuckian would use "hillbilly" to refer to anyone from other
than the Eastern coal field..

People in the Mountains have terms to refer to Louisvillians, beginning
with "city slicker" and going downhill (literally?) from there, but
"hillbilly" is definitely not one of them.

       - Jim Landau

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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