What does Piedmont Mean?

Pied du Mont = Foot of the mountain.
So the other day I was sitting in class waiting for the professor to come in when a young man, a student of European origination, with his foreign accent, said the word "piedmont", pronouncing it "Pee-ed-d Moount". Considering this was college, and the conservative south, where we suggest anyone who is living here to "learn English or go home!"; I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone heckled the poor lad by saying "We pronounce it Piedmont!" Now this bothered me some, because clearly the heckler was wrong. In fact the student from Europe was more right, from my perspective, than the person who may have been hinting at the foreigner's ignorance. So I turned around and while trying to be as humble as possible, I asked the heckler what she thought the word Piedmont meant.

I think she assumed I was stupid at that point, rather than grasping my attempt to lead her to enlightenment as she said to me "Girl, it's right here, you'z sittin'z on it!". Now I like this classmate a lot. She's rather typical, and I suppose I deserved the glib answer I received since everyone knows, at least if they grew up here, that Piedmont means the foot of a mountain. But this was my point, and so I asked her "Do you know the word in French that means foot? It's Pied!", I overly enunciated, sounding more like my poor European friend who was amazed at what he had started? "Seriously?" she asked. "Mont" of course meaning montagne, mountain. (Such as Mont Blanc.)
Pied = Foot in French | Mont = Mountain in French
I now had the entire class's interest. (I knew my French would come in hand at some point.) Another student then shouted "Well, we didn't lean that in school." Indeed, I hadn't either, originally. Another student then yelled "Well, uh, this here is still America and we'z goin to pronounce it like this." In fact my own curiosity of the word's etymology, just struck me, the answer just popped in my head as I was sitting there watching one person insult another's intelligence because of their dialect. While the origination of the words may be Latin, it was an awakening to all of us that day in class. More importantly it taught us not to judge someone based on their accent. In fact the American language we must always remember, is a product of foreign language. Indeed our country is the product of foreign people and their culture which has and is often modified, or purposely suppressed for political reasons, such as this young heckler attempted to, (cultural norms) or simply by diversity, isolation, or popular trend.
Piedmont Airlines

One of the confusing things that then came up was the term tar heel. If Piedmont means foot, is there a connection? Perhaps, but according to Wikipedia, the term seems to originate from the use of tar products in everything from tobacco to US Warships, but nobody really knows for sure.

Of course it gets real tragically humorous when you consider the fact there used to be an airline called Piedmont Airlines. I even had the opportunity to fly with them once. The Airline called "foot of the mountain", safely landed on a runway when I flew them to the Bahamas, but there was a Piedmont Airlines crash in 1943, into a mountain.

Or maybe I never got off that plane at all. Hmmm?


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