Sunday, October 24, 2010

Looavul or Looeyville?

Once about every three months, all the juniors and novices at Saint Meinrad Archabbey, along with the novice-junior master and socius, go on a little outing in the region. It is not only a break of sorts, but an opportunity to spend some relaxed time with one another in a different context. On Saturday, we had our fall outing, and the eight of us went to Louisville, Kentucky, which is about an hour and 20 minutes' drive east of Saint Meinrad.

We spent a couple hours browsing downtown Louisville--a bookstore, a museum, etc. Then we attended a late-afternoon performance of  The Mystery of Irma Vep at the Actors Theatre of Louisville before having dinner together and coming home. The play was a farce in keeping with the season, and had us in stitches, and the meal was very good.

While we were downtown, Br. Philippe Tchalou (above) requested that his picture be taken when he noticed that I had brought a camera. Br. Philippe is a junior monk from Monastère de l'Incarnation, a Benedictine monastery in the West African country of Togo. He is living with us while attending Saint Meinrad Seminary. When he arrived here a little over a year ago (the first time he'd ever been away from Togo), he knew very little English but now speaks it quite well in addition to his native French.

So well, in fact, that he is able to offer an opinion on a pronunciation puzzle that many ponder in this region--just how exactly does one say "Louisville" ? As the sign above spells out, there are a number of variations, and depending on who is saying it, you are likely to hear them all.

Br. Philippe's official position (with which I concur) is: Looeyville.

Then again, neither one of us is a native of the Louisville area. Novice Michael is. He pronounces it: Looavul. To be sure, the first two options on the list seem to win out among the region's natives.

In the end, I suppose, it doesn't really matter one way or another. Indeed, we all live as though pilgrims in a foreign land.


Kelly said...

I'm a native and I agree with Br. Michael. It should be Loo-uh-vul. The "uhl" sound is very important to the Kentucky accent. It shows up in words such as "well" and "bail."

Br. Francis de Sales Wagner said...


I've even caught myself using the "uhl" sound on occasion myself!

Br. Francis