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Folklore: Dictionary of American Regional English

Desert Dancer 24 Feb 12 - 08:42 PM
Jon Corelis 24 Feb 12 - 09:41 PM
katlaughing 24 Feb 12 - 09:59 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 25 Feb 12 - 12:02 AM
Desert Dancer 04 Jul 12 - 12:18 PM
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Subject: Folklore: Dictionary of American Regional English
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 24 Feb 12 - 08:42 PM

Almost added this to one of the "regional expressions" threads, but then I decided it was big enough to deserve special notice on its own.

Regional Dictionary Finally Hits 'Zydeco' (NY Times, 24 Feb. 2012) -- a fun article about the completion of the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE), from the University of Wisconsin and published by Harvard University Press, a "mere 50 years after the project was inaugurated".

The final volume took a decade to complete because there were so many more resources available online, than when the previous volumes were produced (they had come at roughly 5-year intervals).

The dare.wisc.edu site says this:
Latest news, as of Feb. 21, 2012: The DARE staff is excited to see Volume V in print! You can buy it at bookstores or from HUP. This covers entries for the remainder of the alphabet, Sl- through Z, plus the bibliography for all five volumes.

To celebrate the completion of the text in Volume V, UW Communications has created a fantastic website about DARE, with words used in each state, links to media stories on DARE, audio and video clips, and more -- take a look!

And volume VI is off to the publisher tomorrow! This includes well over 1,300 maps shown by concept (e.g. a heavy rain, house siding, a small paper bag, fried cornbread, the green leaves on a strawberry, an old or broken-down car, the common worm used as bait, a little extra from a seller, names for a grandmother or -father, sick ____ one's stomach, a bad dive that lands flat, meaner than ____, one's signature, all gone, the wrong way around, and much more); maps shown by social categories (age, race, sex, education, community type); and an index to the labels in the entries for volumes I through V.

The Dictionary of American Regional English

Like other dictionaries, the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE) is arranged alphabetically by headword, from A to Z. What is different about DARE is that it shows where people use the words that are included. We all know, for example, that Americans have many names for the kind of sandwich that includes meats, cheeses, lettuce, tomatoes, etc., served in a long bun. What DARE can tell you (and can often illustrate through the use of maps based on fieldwork) is where the words hero, hoagie, grinder, sub, torpedo, Cuban, etc. are the local terms for this sandwich. It can also tell you where people use the words darning needle, ear cutter, eye stitcher, mosquito (or skeeter) hawk, sewing needle, snake doctor, or snake feeder (among other terms) for a dragonfly.

And what about the words people use for the strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street? Boulevard, devil strip, grass plot, neutral ground, parking, parking strip, parkway, terrace, tree bank, tree belt, and tree lawn are just a few of them.

DARE can tell you where people might live if their favorite card games are euchre, five hundred, schafskopf, sheepshead, or sixty-three; or where Americans eat apple pandowdy, lutefisk, or rivel; or where people are from if they live in dog trots, railroad flats, salt boxes, or shotgun houses.

The language of our everyday lives is captured in DARE, along with expressions our grandparents used but our children will never know. Based on interviews with thousands of Americans across the country, as well as on newspapers, histories, novels, diaries, letters, government documents, and other written sources, the Dictionary of American Regional English presents our language in its infinite variety. Word lovers of all stripes will delight not just in the entry words, but also in the quotations that illustrate their use. Open the pages of DARE and browse:you'll be amazed by the treasures of our language as it reflects the richness and diversity of our culture.

Four volumes of DARE, including extensive introductory matter and letters A through Sk-, have been published (1985-2002), to the acclaim of scholarly and lay reviewers alike. Volume V, containing the remainder of the alphabet, has just appeared. An online version will be available, planned for 2013.

(emphasis mine) The new DARE website is worth a look, and the news of an online version -- soon! -- is really exciting.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dictionary of American Regional English
From: Jon Corelis
Date: 24 Feb 12 - 09:41 PM

A magnificent achievement, though those considering buying it should be warned that it costs a king's ransom. Often you can get your public or university library to acquire it, if it doesn't have it already, though it will usually be put in the non-circulating reference section.

I didn't know about the on line version, which would be great, though it may be by subscription only -- I'm just speculating, but such things often are. If it is, it still may be possible to get free access through a public or university library.

Despite the cost, I'd love to have a set myself, but unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, there is no room in my house for more books.

Jon Corelis
Euripides' Hippolytos: A performance version with music


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dictionary of American Regional English
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 Feb 12 - 09:59 PM

What a fantastic site. What fun!! Thanks, Becky!

katlaughing


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dictionary of American Regional English
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 25 Feb 12 - 12:02 AM

We can only hope Random House will, enshalah, publish the third section of Mr. Lighter 's "Dictionary of American Slang."

Sincerely,
Gargoyle
lots of marvelous stuff beyound "N "


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Dictionary of American Regional English
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 04 Jul 12 - 12:18 PM

Today on the Diane Rehm show they're re-broadcasting the show about The Dictionary Of American Regional English from March (guests: Joan Houseton Hall, chief editor, Dictionary of American Regional English, and Ben Zimmer, the language columnist for The Boston Globe and former On Language columnist for The New York Times. He is also the executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus and Vocabulary.com). There's a link to the full transcript, but it's fun listening, of course.

~ Becky in Tucson


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