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Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE). DARE A reference tool. Not to prescribe or even describe how Americans speak. To record the varieties.

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Presentation on theme: "Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE). DARE A reference tool. Not to prescribe or even describe how Americans speak. To record the varieties."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE)

2 DARE A reference tool. Not to prescribe or even describe how Americans speak. To record the varieties of English that are not found everywhere in the US. Words, pronunciations, and phrases that vary regionally, that we learn at home and not in school, and that are part of our oral culture. First four volumes covering A- through Sk- have been published.

3 History Sponsored by the American Dialect Society (ADS) founded in “…the investigation of the English Dialects of America with regard to pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, phraseology, and geographical distribution.” Goal was to make a thorough dictionary of American English. First publication of the ADS called Dialect Notes (1890). Published mainly word lists.

4 History 1962: the project gained needed financial support and a plan was formed. Frederic G. Cassidy ( ): professor at University of Wisconsin. Chief editor and promoter of DARE. Preliminary work on the dialects of Wisconsin (Wisconsin English Language Survey WELS) proved that this type of project was possible. 50 Wisconsin natives filled out a questionnaire that revealed differences in local dialects. Questionnaire became the basis for DARE.

5 The Project Decided that one thousand communities were to be investigated. Community: “any group of people living fairly close to each other and sharing the same commercial facilities, social organizations, and the like.” 5 types of community categories: Urban Large city Small city Village Rural

6 The Project Data gatherers sent to each community to find people and get them to answer the questionnaire. Gathered between 1965 and Each person given a personal identifying number and every response coded. Biographical information collected on informants: name, address, social factors (sex, race, age, education), amount of travel, chief occupations, family background on both sides, and attitudes toward language.

7 The Questionnaire Questions try to establish the regional or local name for a single object/idea. Ex: one question describes a dragonfly and asks for its name. 79 different replies were given: snake feeder (N and S Midl) snake doctor (Midl, Sth) mosquito hawk (Sth) spindle (coastal NJ) ear-cutter (NH, WI)

8 The Questionnaire Ex: What different kinds of oak trees grow around here? Pin, post, Spanish, chinquapin, overcup, shim, chair bark oak. Over 130 given. Ex: To feel depressed or in a gloomy mood: He has the _____ today. Ex: If a person’s lower jaw sticks out prominently, you say he’s _____.

9 DARE Maps Maps are included in the dictionary to show where specific words were found. Based on settlement history and population density as of the 1960s. States with low population like Nevada have only two interviews while states like New York have over 80. Size of the states is skewed, location is maintained geographically.

10 DARE Maps

11 Shows positions of the informants if they all gave the same answer.

12 Some Entries Above one’s bend also above one’s huckleberry: 1) beyond one’s abilities (esp Sth, Wst) Boonie familiarized form of boondock: 1)The backwoods 2)An outdoor toilet: widely used in Tidewater Virginia for privy. 3)Something very good: “Say that’s a boonie!” (KY)

13 Some Entries Bundle also in Sth, S Midl bun’le: 1)A sheaf of grain, widespread except in wMD, sPA, WV. 2)A woman; one’s wife. Question: Joking names for a man’s wife…“I have to go down and pick up my _____.” (SC) 3) To share a bed with a person of the opposite sex while fully clothed (or with some other impediment to sexual intercourse); chiefly NEast. 4) To court, woo. 5) To make an err in judgment… “He usually handles things well, but this time he certainly _____.” (KY)

14 Some Entries Crispied: 1) slightly burnt around the edges. (cTX) Pinkletink also pinkwink, tinky: only Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket MA 1) a spring peeper or young frog. Pogonip: mainly NV, some say from the Paiute Indians. 1) a dense, icy fog; formerly also a snowstorm.

15 Some Entries Potlatch: Pacific NW, AK 1) to give or loan; rarely, to borrow. Question: “I need five dollars before Saturday, will you ____ it to me?” Potluck meal: 1) Indiana: pitch-in 2) nILL: scramble Hopscotch: 1) Manhattan: potsy 2) Chicago: sky blue

16 DARE In O’Neill Reference PE 2843.D ml


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