Synopses & Reviews
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.
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.
DARE readers now have the full panoply of American regional vocabulary, from Adam's housecat to Zydeco. Volume V is filled with words that reflect our origins, migrations, ethnicities, and neighborhoods. Whether we are talking about foods, games, clothing, family, animals, or any other aspect of life, our vocabulary reveals much about who we are.
A New Yorker Best Book of 2012
2013 Dartmouth Medal, Reference and User Services Association, American Library Association
About the Author
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.
University of Wisconsin