In case you’re just tuning in here to AinW, you’ll need to be updated on my life-changing transition, currently underway.
Oh, so very underway.
Like a nuclear submarine underway.
While pondering my return to Tennessee and new adventures in the East (read: hillbilly) part of the state, I thought I’d do a little internet research (I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…that internet’s here to stay, I think) about the various cities in my upcoming home state.
Here’s what I’ve found: the names of Tennessee cities fall into 3, major categories.
1. You got your city names that we stole from somewhere else. ‘Cuz that’s how we roll.
Alamo – isn’t this in San Antonio?
Athens – um, Greece?
Carthage – isn’t this…somewhere else? Over there, somewhere?
Moscow – Russia?
South Pittsburg – because the regular Pittsburg is the “north” one, lest we be confused for those darn Yankees.
Troy – didn’t they have that big, wooden horse here? And Brad Pitt?
Sparta – again with the city-states. What are we trying to say here?
Oakland – um, Raiders? Is that where they are?
Paris – seriously? Now, we’re just being ridiculous.
Savannah – now, I’ve been to Savannah, Georgia. All they have there are mosquitoes. Swarms and swarms of mosquitoes.
Jamestown – Pocahontas? Captain John Smith? Wampum, anyone?
Portland – isn’t that on the West Coast?
Cleveland – rocks!
2. Cities that fight the Battle of the Villes versus the Vulls.
Here’s the deal: we Tennesseans like our -villes, but there’re strict pronunciation rules that, if violated, scream, “I’M NOT FROM AROUND HERE!” (See South Pittsburg reference above.) For example, Knoxville is a Vull. We say, “knocks-vull”, emphasis on the first syllable. On the other hand, Shelbyville is a Ville. We say, “shell-bee-ville”, emphasis on the first syllable again.
Here’s the breakdown:
Adamsville – Ville
Brownsville – Vull
Fayetteville – Vull
Hartsville – Vull
Knoxville – Vull
Louisville – Vull
Maryville – Vull
Lynnville – Vull
McMinnville – Vull
McLemoresville – Ville
Milledgeville – Ville
Pikeville – Vull
Rossville – Vull
Cookville – Vull
Crossville – Ville
Hendersonville – Ville
Shelbyville – Ville
Smithville – Vull
There are people, native Tennesseans, who would disagree with me on these pronunciations. We call those people “Frequent Visitors to Lynchburg (see below)”
3. Cities whose names are weird or, in some way, otherwise interesting.
Bean Station – now, here’s the thing: if Big Daddy heard this word combination, he would think it’s a restaurant and want to go. Then, he’d have to sleep outside with Laila-Dog for a multitude of nights we’d refer to as a Recovery Period. Who thought this was a good idea, naming a city Bean Station? Had to be a dude.
Bell Buckle – prior to this research, I was unaware that bells did, in fact, have buckles. Who knew?
Bucksnort – “Yes, sir, that’s right. My address is 5543 Smith Road, Bucksnort, Tennessee. Sir? Why are you laughing, sir? I’m trying to conduct a serious, banking transaction! Well, of all the nerve! Darn Yankee.”
Algood – I wanna live here. It’s all good.
Belle Meade – the quintessential Southern city name.
Big Sandy – somebody forgot the noun. Big, sandy what?
Bulls Gap – I don’t mean to be ugly, but I don’t really want to know what’s in a bull’s gap. But the voyeur in me had to look. Here’s what I found. Isn’t she precious? I love old people!
Church Hill – it’s been my experience that all hills in the South are “church” hills.
Holenwald – let’s just call it what it is..a hole in the wall.
Lewisburg – my town!
Red Boiling Springs – hmmm…the name just makes you want to move there, doesn’t it? Wonder why they didn’t go for “Scalding Lava”?
Sharon – that’s the name of my mama.
Lynchburg – yes, this is where they make Jack Daniels. No, I will not send you some.
Huntland – between the lynching (above) and the hunting (here), should I be nervous?
Breaking the Scripts,