Eastern Kentucky TwangI was born and raised in the Appalachian Mountains. People here have a different way of doing things; this includes speaking. As with all of the other customs of our area, the accent stands out. In my opinion, this is not a bad thing but in other's minds, it reflects a lesser society.
No matter where I travel, often I am asked where I am from. Yes, my accent is that "twangy". No one has ever been rude or treated me as inferior but I am aware that there are those who consider our language as a curse rather than a blessing.
The dialect of eastern Kentucky has long been thought of as an ignorant language. It is often cited as the chosen speech of the uneducated and the unsophisticated. Unfortunately, those who, themselves, are uneducated about Appalachian history sometimes view these stereotypes as an impediment to educational and social advancement.
The origin of our speech has been theorized as being a form of Elizabethan (Shakespearean) English and/or the Scots-Irish and Anglo-Scottish languages. Recent studies have suggested that Appalachian English is a unique dialect that came from early settlers who re-adapted the various languages to form one familiar form of communication.
To me, our accent is another aspect of our cultural heritage.
I will admit that anyone who meets me would notice my very thick, distinct, eastern Kentucky drawl and either be charmed by it or perhaps become offended by not being unable to understand it. I hope the former as opposed to the latter. After a "Hidey y'all!, how you'ns doing?", maybe you would listen past the accent and hear the words as I (and the majority of the people here) mean to say them... as gracious as the time calls for. Most times, that is a good thing.