Campus News

UK Linguistics presents video showcasing ‘What a Wildcat Sounds Like’

Video courtesy of UK Arts and Sciences.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 20, 2023) — What does a Kentucky Wildcat sound like?

A new initiative, spearheaded by the Department of Linguistics in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Kentucky, aims to answer that very question by exploring the many ways language is spoken and heard on a diverse campus.

The video (seen above) features a series of students, faculty and staff repeating the phrase, “This is what a Wildcat sounds like."

Allison Burkette, chair of the Department of Linguistics, said the project began as an attempt to raise awareness of dialect diversity.

"'This is What a Wildcat Sounds Like' became a mosaic of our differences and shows us how — when pieced together — our differences enrich the college experience," she said.

The video also serves as an invitation for everyone to join the academic conversation — no matter their background.

"First-generation students coming to a college campus from, for example, Appalachia, may not feel comfortable with their accent. Maybe they don't feel comfortable enough to speak up in class," Burkette explained. "But the last thing an educator wants is for a student to feel like they can't ask a question or contribute to a conversation, because they're insecure about their use of language."

Ultimately, the project depicts why dialects matter. They are an essential part of linguistic diversity — reflecting the unique histories, cultures and identities of different communities around the world.

"This is simply what people do — they speak to express their identities, to express membership to different groups, to different communities or to their family," she said. "There's a lot of things wrapped up in the way people talk. And I believe very strongly, there's no right way or wrong way to use language."

You can learn more about the Department of Linguistics here

Every October, communities and organizations across the country celebrate National Arts and Humanities Month.

Humanities majors encompass a broad range of studies at the University of Kentucky — providing students with a well-rounded education in core disciplines that prepare them for a variety of careers.

Humanities expand our knowledge of cultures and society — helping us understand what binds us together and what differentiates us from one another.

Humanities students gain expertise in creative thinking, communication, problem solving, relationship building and more. No matter what you want to do, choosing a humanities major from UK will prepare you for a lifetime of possibilities.

This is a photo of students on the University of Kentucky campus.
Students on the UK campus. Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.