A collection of the total range of scholarly and popular writing on English as spoken from Maryland to Texas and from Kentucky to Florida
The only book-length bibliography on the speech of the American South, this volume focuses on the pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, naming practices, word play, and other aspects of language that have interested researchers and writers for two centuries. Compiled here are the works of linguists, historians, anthropologists, sociologists, and educators, as well as popular commentators.
With over 3,800 entries, this invaluable resource is a testament to the significance of Southern speech, long recognized as a distinguishing feature of the South, and the abiding interest of Southerners in their speech as a mark of their identity. The entries encompass Southern dialects in all their distinctive varieties—from Appalachian to African American, and sea islander to urbanite.
Appalachian Englishes in the Twenty-First Century provides a complete exploration of English in Appalachia for a broad audience of scholars and educators. Starting from the premise that just as there is no single Appalachia, there is no single Appalachian dialect, this essay collection brings together wide-ranging perspectives on language variation in the region. Contributors from the fields of linguistics, education, and folklore debunk myths about the dialect’s ancient origins, examine subregional and ethnic differences, and consider the relationships between language and identity—individual and collective—in a variety of settings, including schools. They are attentive to the full range of linguistic expression, from everyday spoken grammar to subversive Dale Earnhardt memes.
A portal to the language scholarship of the last thirty years, Appalachian Englishes in the Twenty-First Century translates state-of-the-art research for a nonspecialist audience, while setting the agenda for further study of language in one of America’s most recognized regions.
Dip into the Dictionary of American Regional English and enter the rich, endlessly entertaining, ever-changing world of American speech. Learn what a Minnesota grandma is making when she fixes lefse, what a counterman in a Buffalo deli means by kimmelweck or a Hawaiian baker puts into a malassada. Find out what kids on the streets of New York are doing when they play Johnny-on-the-pony or off-the-point, what Southerners do when they use their tom walkers, what the folks in Oklahoma and Texas celebrate on Juneteenth and those in some parts of Wisconsin at a kermis.
Like its enormously popular predecessors, this volume captures the language of our lives, from east to west, north to south, urban to rural, childhood to old age. Here are the terms that distinguish us, one from the other, and knit us together in one vast, colorful tapestry of imperfect, perfectly enchanting speech. More than five hundred maps show where you might be if you looked in a garden and saw moccasin flowers, indian cigars, or lady peas; if you encountered a bullfrog and cried, "jugarum!"; or came upon a hover fly and exclaimed, "newsbee!" And here, at long last, is an explanation of what the madstone and the money cat portend.
Built upon an unprecedented survey of spoken English across America and bolstered by extensive historical research, the Dictionary of American Regional English preserves a language that lives and dies as we breathe. It will amuse and inform, delight and instruct, and keep alive the speech that we have made our own, and that has made us who we are.
With this fifth volume of the Dictionary of American Regional English, readers now have the full panoply of American regional vocabulary, from Adam's housecat to Zydeco. Like the first four volumes, the fifth is filled with words that reflect our origins, migrations, ethnicities, and neighborhoods.
Contradicting the popular notion that American English has become homogenized, DARE demonstrates that our language still has distinct and delightful local character. If a person lives in a remote place, would you say he's from the boondocks? Or from the puckerbrush, the tules, or the willywags? Where are you likely to live if you eat Brunswick stew rather than jambalaya, stack cake, smearcase, or kringle? What's your likely background if your favorite card game is hasenpfeffer? bid whist? sheepshead? Whether we are talking about foods, games, clothing, family members, animals, or almost any other aspect of life, our vocabulary reveals much about who we are.
Each entry in DARE has been carefully researched to provide as complete a history of its life in America as possible. Illustrative citations extend from the seventeenth century through the twenty-first. More than 600 maps show where words were collected by the DARE fieldworkers. And quotations highlight the wit and wisdom of American speakers and writers. Recognized as the authoritative record of American English, DARE serves scholars and professionals of all stripes. It also holds treasures for readers who simply love our language.
This companion volume to the Dictionary of American Regional English vastly enhances readers' use of the five volumes of DARE text. Those who want to investigate the regional synonyms for a rustic, or a submarine sandwich, or that strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street can search through the five volumes and compare the distributional maps. Or, with this volume, they can open to a page with all those maps displayed side by side. Not only is it an extraordinary teaching tool, it is also a browser's delight.
The user who wants to know what words characterize a given state or region is also in luck. The Index to the five volumes not only answers that question but also satisfies the reader's curiosity about words that have come into English from other languages, and words that vary with the speakers' age, sex, race, education, and community type.
And those who simply love to explore the variety and ingenuity of American expression will be seduced by the lists of answers to the DARE fieldwork questions. Dust balls under the bed? Americans have at least 176 names for them. Names for a heavy rainstorm? There are more than 200, including the fanciful frog-strangler, goose-drownder, lightwood-knot floater, and trash-mover. More than 400 questions and all of their answers are included in this treasure trove of American linguistic creativity.
Every page in this new volume of the Dictionary of American Regional English makes it wonderfully clear that regional expressions still flourish throughout the United States.
Depending on where you live, your conversation may include such beguiling terms as paddybass (North Carolina), pinkwink (Cape Cod), or scallyhoot (West); if you're invited to a potluck dinner, in Indiana you're likely to call it a pitch-in, while in northern Illinois it's a scramble; if your youngsters play hopscotch, they may call it potsy in Manhattan, but sky blue in Chicago.
Like the popular first three volumes of DARE, the fourth is a treasure-trove of linguistic gems, a book that invites exclamation, delight, and wonder. More than six hundred maps pinpoint where you might live if your favorite card games are sheepshead and skat; if you eat pan dulce rather than pain perdu; if you drive down a red dog road or make a purchase at a racket store; or if you look out your window and see a parka squirrel or a quill pig.
The language of our everyday lives is captured in DARE, along with expressions our grandparents used but our children will never know. Based on thousands of interviews across the country, the Dictionary of American Regional English presents our language in its infinite variety. Word lovers will delight in the wit and wisdom found in the quotations that illustrate each entry, and will prize the richness and diversity of our spoken and written culture.
Volume I of the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE), published to wide acclaim in 1985, captured the wondrous variety and creativeness of American folk words and expressions and tickled the imagination of lovers of language around the world. Decades in preparation, the DARE corpus reflects the liveliness of English as it is spoken on America’s main streets and country roads—the regional metaphors and similes passed along within homes and communities.
Like its popular predecessor, Volume II is a treasury of vernacular Americanisms. In Virginia a goldfinch is a dandelion bird, in Missouri an insufficient rain shower a drizzle-fizzle. Gate was Louis Armstrong’s favorite sender (a verbal spur to a sidekick in a band), a usage that probably originated from the fact that gates swing. Readers will bedazzled by the wealth of entries—more than 11,000—contained in this second volume alone. The two and a half pages on “dirt” reveal that a small marble is a dirt pea in the South. To eat dried apples, a curious rural euphemism for becoming pregnant, appears in the five pages on “eat.” Seven pages on “horn” and related words take readers on a tour of the animal and nether worlds: horned lark, horned frog, horned pout (look that one up), and that horned fellow, the devil.
Initiated under the leadership of Frederic G. Cassidy, DARE represents an unprecedented attempt to document the living language of the entire country. The project’s primary tool was a carefully worded survey of 1,847 questions touching on most aspects of everyday life and human experience. Over a five-year period fieldworkers interviewed natives of 1,002 communities, a patchwork of the United States in all its diversity.
The result is a database of more than two and a half million items—a monument to the richness of American folk speech. Additionally, some 7,000 publications, including novels, diaries, and small-town newspapers, have yielded a bountiful harvest of local idioms. Computer-generated maps accompanying many of the entries illustrate the regional distribution of words and phrases.
The entries contained in Volume II—from the poetic and humorous to the witty and downright bawdy—will delight and inform readers.
How do Americans really talk—what are their hometown, everyday expressions in the many regions and sections of this huge country? The Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE), twenty years in preparation, answers these questions. It gives visible proof of the diversity—and the vitality—of American folk language, past and present.
DARE includes thousands of words and phrases not found in conventional dictionaries, and out-of-the-way meanings for common terms. Here are local names for familiar objects, from old cars to frying pans to dust-balls under the bed (176 names for these); for plants, animals, and critters real and imaginary; for rainstorms and heat waves; for foods, clothing, children’s games and adults’ pastimes; for illnesses and traditional remedies. Here are terms—salty, sarcastic, humorous—by which people describe each other, their physical appearance, characters, emotions, states of mind. Here are metaphors and similes galore.
In Wisconsin a man whose motives are suspect “has beans up his nose.” In Georgia a conceited person is “biggity”; someone important or self-important in the Northwest is “bull of the woods.” A close friend may be “bobbasheely” (Mississippi) or an “ace boon coon” (New York City). West of the Appalachians the old saw “I wouldn’t know him from Adam” becomes “I wouldn’t know him from Adam’s off-ox” (or, in the South, “from Adam’s housecat”). These and some twelve thousand other expressions are identified and explained in the first volume of DARE.
While DARE is the work of many dedicated people, it owes its existence to Frederic G. Cassidy, who in 1963 agreed to organize the project, raise funds for it, and serve as Editor-in-Chief. Cassidy trained teams of fieldworkers and equipped them with a carefully worded questionnaire: 1,847 questions grouped in 41 broad categories ranging over most aspects of everyday life and common human experience. From 1965 to 1970 the fieldworkers conducted week-long interviews with natives of 1,002 representative communities in all fifty states. The two and a half million items gleaned from the fieldwork, coded and computer-processed, are DARE’s primary data base, a rich harvest of regional Americanisms current in the seventh decade of this century. Earlier collections have been drawn upon as well, notably the 40,000 expressions recorded by the American Dialect Society since 1889; and some 5,000 publications, including regional novels and diaries and small-town newspapers, have been combed for local idioms.
A unique feature of the dictionary is the computer-generated maps that accompany many of the entries to show the geographical distribution of the term. The base map is schematic, distorting the areas of the states to reflect their population density.
Volume I includes extensive introductory material on DARE itself and on American folk speech. Its entries, from Aaron’s rod to czarnina, cover nearly a quarter of the total DARE corpus.
A Publication in the Centennial Series of the American Dialect Society in celebration of the beginning of its second century of research into language variation in America.
“Heartland” English is the first book-length scholarly treatment of English spoken in the Midwest, or the northern interior of the continental United States. Frazer and his contributors focus on the myth of a uniform, “Midwestern” variety of American English. They show the complex region in which forces-old and new- have led to variety in the spoken language.
Contributors include: Craig M. Carver, Thomas Donahue, Rachel Faries, Ticmothy Frazer, Timothy Habick, Robin Herndobler, Donald Lance, Donald Larmouth, Michael Miller, Thomas Murray, Denis Preston, Marjorie Remsing, Timothy Riney, Andre Sledd, Bruce Southard, and Erick Thomas.
Top linguists from diverse fields address language varieties in the South.
Language Variety in the South Revisited is a comprehensive collection of new research on southern United States English by foremost scholars of regional language variation. Like its predecessor, Language Variety in the South: Perspectives in Black and White (The University of Alabama Press, 1986), this book includes current research into African American vernacular English, but it greatly expands the scope of investigation and offers an extensive assessment of the field. The volume encompasses studies of contact involving African and European languages; analysis of discourse, pragmatic, lexical, phonological, and syntactic features; and evaluations of methods of collecting and examining data. The 38 essays not only offer a wealth of information about southern language varieties but also serve as models for regional linguistic investigation.
This book discusses words used in the Southeast and how they have changed
during the 20th century. It also describes how the lexicon varies according
to the speaker's age, race, education, sex, and place of residence
(urban versus rural; coastal versus piedmont versus mountain). Data collected
in the 1930s as part of the Linguistic Atlas of the Middle and South Atlantic
States project were compared with data collected in 1990 from similar speakers
in the same communities.
The results show that region was the most important
factor in differentiating dialects in the 1930s but that it is the least
important element in the 1990s, with age, education, race, and age all
showing about the same influence on the use of vocabulary. An appendix
contains a tally of the responses given by 78 speakers to 150 questions
about vocabulary items, along with speakers' commentary. Results
from the 1930s may be compared to those from 1990, making this a treasure
trove for anyone interested in regional terms or in how our speech is changing
as the South moves from an agricultural economy through industrialization
and into the information age.
The third installment in the landmark LAVIS (Language Variety in the South) series, New Perspectives on Language Variety in the South: Historical and Contemporary Approaches brings together essays devoted to the careful examination and elucidation of the rich linguistic diversity of the American South, updating and broadening the work of the earlier volumes by more fully capturing the multifaceted configuration of languages and dialects in the South.
Beginning with an introduction to American Indian languages of the Southeast, five fascinating essays discuss indigenous languages, including Caddo, Ofo, and Timucua, and evidence for the connection between the Pre-Columbian Southeast and the Caribbean.
Five essays explore the earlier Englishes of the South, covering topics such as the eighteenth century as the key period in the differentiation of Southern American English and the use of new quantitative methods to trace the transfer of linguistic features from England to America. They examine a range of linguistic resources, such as plantation overseers’ writings, modern blues lyrics, linguistic databases, and lexical and locutional compilations that reveal the region’s distinctive dialectal traditions.
New Perspectives on Language Variety in the South: Historical and Contemporary Approaches widens the scope of inquiry into the linguistic influences of the African diaspora as evidenced in primary sources and records. A comprehensive essay redefines the varieties of French in Louisiana, tracing the pathway from Colonial Louisiana to the emergence of Plantation Society French in a diglossic relationship with Louisiana Creole. A further essay maps the shift from French to English in family documents.
An assortment of essays on English in the contemporary South touch on an array of compelling topics from discourse strategies to dialectal emblems of identity to stereotypes in popular perception.
Essays about recent Latino immigrants to the South bring the collection into the twenty-first century, taking into account the dramatic increase in the population of Spanish speakers and illuminating the purported role of “Spanglish,” the bilingual lives of Spanish-speaking Latinos in Mississippi, and the existence of regional Spanish dialectal diversity.
In North Carolina English, 1861–1865, Michael E. Ellis offers an Oxford English Dictionary–like take on regional language based on more than two thousand letters and diaries composed by North Carolinians during the Civil War. These documents are part of a larger project, the Corpus of American Civil War Letters (CACWL), aimed at locating, photographing, and transcribing letters written during the period from all parts of the country. With little formal education, the correspondents were men and women who wrote “by ear,” often reproducing their spoken language through unconventional spellings and grammatical forms, as well as regional or archaic words and usages.
The core of the book is an alphabetically arranged glossary of words and expressions characteristic of mid–nineteenth century North Carolina, each containing excerpts from the letters themselves to illustrate meaning and usage. While the majority of the writers were Confederate soldiers and their family members, the collection also includes letters from slaves, former slaves, and African Americans from North Carolina serving in the Union Army. The soldiers’ letters rarely contain details about battles, except to list the names of relatives or neighbors among the killed or wounded. After a battle, a soldier might simply write, “the Like of ded men an horses I never saw before” or “we hav lost a heep of men and kild a heep of yankeys.” As Joel Howard of Lincoln County wrote home in June 1863, “I have bin in the ware and Saw the ware and heard tell of the ware till I have got tired of it. if I Could get clear of this ware I neve[r] want to Read of A nother.”
Food is perhaps the most common topic, followed by illness. Numerous terms relate to farming, clothing, religion, and the effects of the war itself, as well as entries for expressions that have long since disappeared from American English: in the gants, on the goose, and up the spout.
In addition to the glossary, Ellis offers an extensive overview of North Carolina English of the period, delves into the social background of the letter writers, and provides invaluable guidance to the ways in which Civil War letters should be read. A unique window into a largely neglected corner of our extraordinarily rich and regionally distinct language, this volume will prove an indispensable reference for scholars and students seeking to reconstruct the world of the common Civil War soldier.
When the Oakland, California, school board called African American English "Ebonics" and claimed that it "is not a black dialect or any dialect of English," they reignited a debate over language, race, and culture that reaches back to the era of slavery in the United States. In this book, John Baugh, an authority on African American English, sets new parameters for the debate by dissecting and challenging many of the prevailing myths about African American language and its place in American society.
Baugh's inquiry ranges from the origins of African American English among slaves and their descendants to its recent adoption by standard English speakers of various races. Some of the topics he considers include practices and malpractices for educating language minority students, linguistic discrimination in the administration of justice, cross-cultural communication between Blacks and whites, and specific linguistic aspects of African American English. This detailed overview of the main points of debate about African American language will be important reading for both scholars and the concerned public.
In music, crossover means that a song has moved beyond its original genre and audience into the general social consciousness. Rhetorical Crossover uses the same concept to theorize how the black rhetorical presence has moved in mainstream spaces in an era where African Americans were becoming more visible in white culture. Cedric Burrows argues that when black rhetoric moves into the dominant culture, white audiences appear welcoming to African Americans as long as they present an acceptable form of blackness for white tastes. The predominant culture has always constructed coded narratives on how the black rhetorical presence should appear and behave when in majority spaces. In response, African Americans developed their own narratives that revise and reinvent mainstream narratives while also reaffirming their humanity. Using an interdisciplinary model built from music, education, film, and social movement studies, Rhetorical Crossover details the dueling narratives about African Americans that percolate throughout the United States.
How is a nation brought into being? In a detailed examination of crucial texts of eighteenth-century American literature, Christopher Looby argues that the United States was self-consciously enacted through the spoken word. Historical material informs and animates theoretical texts by Derrida, Lacan, and others as Looby unravels the texts of Benjamin Franklin, Charles Brockden Brown, and Hugh Henry Brackenridge and connects them to nation-building, political discourse, and self-creation. Correcting the strong emphasis on the importance of print culture in eighteenth-century America, Voicing America uncovers the complex process of early American writers articulating their new nation and reveals a body of literature and a political discourse thoroughly concerned with the power of vocal language.
Word’s Out: Gay Men’s English
William Leap University of Minnesota Press, 1996 Library of Congress PE3727.G39L43 1996 | Dewey Decimal 427.973086642
Conversation between two men, a salesclerk (S) and a customer (C).
S: Can I help you find something?
C: No thanks, I am just looking. [Pause while customer looks at merchandise]
C: What are you asking for these? [Points to set of grey sweatshirts]
S: Oh. I'm afraid they're not on sale today. But that colored shirt would look nice on you. [Points to a pile of lavender sweatshirts, which are on sale]
C: Yeah, I know. I own a few of them already. [Grins]
S: [Grins back; no verbal comment]
C: Thanks for your help. [C walks off]
The first book-length analysis of the language used by gay men.
Do gay men communicate with each other differently than they do with straight people? If they do, how is "gay men's English" different from "straight English"? In Word's Out, William Leap addresses these questions in an entertaining account that looks at gay men's English as a cultural and a linguistic phenomenon.
Whereas previous studies of "gay language" have centered almost entirely on vocabulary, word history, and folklore, Word's Out focuses on the linguistic practices-cooperation, negotiation, and risk taking-that underlie gay men's conversations, storytelling, verbal dueling, self-description, and construction of outrageous references. Leap "reads" conversations for covert and overt signs of gay men's English, using anecdotes drawn from gay dinner parties, late-night airplane flights, restaurants, department stores, and gourmet shops, and from other all-gay and gay/straight settings. He incorporates material from life-story narratives and other interviews and discussions with gay men, from gay magazines, newspapers, and books, and from events in his own life.
The topics addressed include establishing the gay identities of "suspect gays," recollections of gay childhood, erotic negotiation in health club locker rooms, and gay men's language of AIDS. Leap shows how gay English speakers use language to create gay-centered spaces within public places, to protect themselves when speaking with strangers, and to establish common interests when speaking with "suspect gays," and explores why learning gay English is a critical component in gay men's socialization and entry into gay culture.
Provocative and potentially controversial, Word's Out provides fascinating insight into the politics of gay experience by exploring the connections between language and daily experience in gay men's lives.
"Word's Out is the first comprehensive linguistic ethnography of the North American gay male speech community. Word's Out is a significant contribution to language and gender research in general and to lavender linguistics in particular." --American Speech
"The book is a superb example of gay studies at its best and as it should be. It deals with real people and uses theory only to clarify points, not to cloud issues or to display the author's cleverness." --Lambda Book Report
"This work explores important insights into the politics of gay experience." --The Reader's Review
"How gay men's English is different from straight men's English is one of the topics studied in this fascinating look at language and orientation." --Feminist Bookstore News
"This book presents engaging analysis of a large number of instances of 'Gay English,' including banter at parties and gyms, poignant memories of trying to understand adolescent feelings of difference, several excerpts from fiction, a pair of 1980s popular songs, toilet graffiti, 1987 responses to two sex ads, interview responses, and some folk semantics." --Anthropological Linguistics
William L. Leap is professor of anthropology at American University in Washington, D.C. His recent articles on gay English have appeared in New York Folklore, High School Journal, and in his edited collection Beyond the Lavender Lexicon (1995).