Appalachian English: Speaking the Kentucky stereotype

Appalachian English flows through Kentucky's veins, and it is one of the most mocked American speech patterns. It is also one that many consider part of their rich cultural heritage.

But is mountain speech an aural indication of lesser worth?

That's what Jodelle Deem, a speech professor at the University of Kentucky, wants to know. How do Appalachian speech patterns affect employability in Lexington, Louisville and Cincinnati?

Deem and graduate student Lisa Hill will use tapes of Appalachian and non-regional speech patterns to find out what health care managers think of the candidates.

Their hypothesis: Managers will perceive those who speak the standard English dialect as the most employable, and those who speak with an Appalachian accent and grammar as the least.

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