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.
Joan Houston Hall is Distinguished Scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She joined the DARE staff in 1975, became Associate Editor in 1979, and was named Chief Editor in 2000.
What People are Saying About This
To open its pages is to thrill at the exploration of the New World and to trace the course of American history through its language... Its editors… have caught the native poetry of America on every page.
DARE is evidence that American speech will never become stale and fusty, that the great linguistic homogenization of television is a myth. Henry Kisor, Chicago Sun Times
The Dictionary will rank as one of the glories of contemporary American scholarship...it is endlessly rewarding to dip into, and if you look up a particular word or phrase you are in constant danger of being seduced to something else...It is a work to consult, and a work to savor—a work to last a lifetime. John Gross, New York Times
Unmatched as a kind of refuge for colloquialisms threatened with extinction...Writers, etymologists and other devotees of verbal arcana have never been given a richer browsing ground. Ezra Bowden, Time
Stuart B. Flexner
The Dictionary of American Regional English...is all we had hoped for and more. It includes the regional and folk language, past and present, of the old and the young, men and women, white and black, the rural and the urban, from all walks of life... This is an exciting, lasting work of useful scholarship accomplished with excellence, a work that scholars and laypeople alike will study, use and enjoy for generations. Stuart B. Flexner, New York Times Book Review
A testimonial to the metaphor-making power of the American language at its most vigorous.
The Dictionary of American Regional English is an essential resource for the English language and its rich expression in America. From Mark Twain to William Faulkner, our great writers have anchored their work in regional English with its deep ties to the places in which Americans live. With the publication of this magnificent volume, we can now fully understand and embrace the voice of our nation. William Ferris, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Joseph J. Ellis
This is a monumental achievement, nothing less than a comprehensive account of the ever-expanding ways we talk to each other. Up above, Noah Webster and Mark Twain are smiling.