Fridy, E. (2019). Rural and urban dialect perceptions of Kentucky high schoolers. The Young Researcher, 3 (1), 50-59.
This research focuses on the previously unstudied dialect perceptions of Kentucky urban high schoolers as it relates to their rural peers. Focus groups and questionnaires were used to collect data with a grounded theory method being employed to analyze data. Students were asked their perceptions of topics relating to regional identity, linguistic variation, and prejudices, as well as how they, as a younger generation, view language and identity. The purpose of this research was to identify trends in urban high schoolers’ perceptions of their rural peers. The research found many students held prejudices against rural students, and although they recognized the prejudices, they believed them to be true. The research further concluded that Louisville high schoolers perceive Louisville is a separate cultural and dialectal entity from rural Kentucky, and that rural Kentuckians are more likely than Louisvillians to be uneducated, ignorant, and impoverished. Furthermore, urban students think that rural Kentuckians have an overall negative view of Louisvillians, especially African Americans, stemming from a lack of communication and a difference in political and social values. These findings clearly point to the fact that urban students have negative views of rural citizens, and that Kentucky needs to address systematic social division within the state between urban and rural citizens, especially students.
Keywords: perceptual dialectology, Kentucky students, rural dialect perception, urban dialect perception, rural stereotypes