Cover: Dictionary of American Regional English, Volume VI: Contrastive Maps, Index to Entry Labels, Questionnaire, and Fieldwork Data, from Harvard University PressCover: Dictionary of American Regional English, Volume VI: Contrastive Maps, Index to Entry Labels, Questionnaire, and Fieldwork Data in HARDCOVER

Dictionary of American Regional English, Volume VI: Contrastive Maps, Index to Entry Labels, Questionnaire, and Fieldwork Data

Product Details


$130.00 • £113.95 • €118.95

ISBN 9780674066533

Publication Date: 01/08/2013


1080 pages

8-1/2 x 11 inches

1702 maps

Belknap Press

Dictionary of American Regional English


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Fans of the long-running project to create the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE) have much to cheer and to consider. To cheer: this sixth volume follows its predecessor after only one year, and the work as a whole won this year’s Dartmouth Award for outstanding reference source. To consider: a digital version is slated for launch later this year… This thorough, fascinating work of scholarship is highly recommended for serious language students.—Marianne Orme, Library Journal (starred review)

DARE, as it is known, has the information you will need to bush around (discuss) the difference between bush-busters (hillbillies) and bush eels (rattlesnakes). One could make a sport out of guessing the meanings of DARE entries… Every page of DARE shows the absolute centrality of metaphor and other forms of verbal figuration to colloquial speech. Naming storms for the damage they do, or foods for what they do to your stomach, or foreigners for the strange traits they exhibit—these tendencies suggest just how much of reality is established after the fact, in conversations about shared experience by people with a common world of reference… Because of its reliance on and scrupulous recording of personal testimony, DARE is one of the most poignant reference books ever compiled, a great exploration of the far reaches and dark corners of American cultural memory… This massive cataract of language is enough to make one cry uncle, or calf rope, or barley out, or I want a crab apple—or a perennial favorite, never out of style for long: mama.—Dan Chiasson, Harper’s

DARE devotes as little space as possible to standard words with standard meanings. It doesn’t cover ‘technical, scientific, or other learned words or phrases.’ Nor does it take any particular interest in the kinds of words that appear in dictionaries of slang or on Urbandictionary.com. What’s left? A vast, meticulously researched and organized compilation of the nonstandard words, spellings, and pronunciations that dictionaries generally leave out—American regional English… The DARE alphabet is at last complete. Now forensic linguists can look up zaguan (‘A vestibule; a porch’). Environmental lawyers can look up zanjero (‘The people who take care of or open the floodgates into the ditch’). And so can anyone who needs or wants a fuller picture of American English.—Barbara Wallraff, American Scholar

The native words we know for things sound right when we hear them, reminding us who we are and where we come from. That is one more reason to celebrate the Dictionary of American Regional English, which reminds us that we have continued to name things long after Adam, and which lovingly and indefatigably catalogues the words that place us in the world.—John E. McIntyre, The Baltimore Sun

For scholars of American English, this volume and the series it completes are a hoard of riches, and also a work of heroic proportions for more than four decades… For the non-specialist reader… browsing is an endless delight… What strikes one repeatedly is the variety, the creativity, and the colorfulness of the American English. This final volume alone has more than 1,200 double-column pages, and every one I have looked at so far has some fresh piece of information (sushi has been known in American English since 1894) or evocative term (swing-dingle, a shoulder yoke for carrying two buckets). This volume, this project is more than a mere reference for looking up obscure terms. It is a repository of who we have been as a people, and who we are.—John McIntyre, The Baltimore Sun blog You Don’t Say

DARE is evidence that American speech will never become stale and fusty, that the great linguistic homogenization of television is a myth.—Henry Kisor, The Chicago Sun-Times

A reference tool of the finest kind.Down East

The Dictionary of American Regional English covers regional and local speech for the whole United States: It is the treasure-house for the all-American word hoard… Touring the Dictionary of American Regional English is a road trip of the mind from sea to shining sea… Its approach has been unusually adventurous. It speaks with authority about American regional speech and has also captured the popular imagination. It is a peerless resource for scholars, but at the same time delivers accurate information about regional vocabulary to laypersons who, until DARE, could not count on access to it. In the twentieth century, DARE was so far ahead of practices in both dialectology and lexicography that it sometimes seemed futuristic… DARE entries have a homespun texture, demanding more of a reader, who must reconcile various types of information in order to understand what DARE has to say about a word or phrase. But if they pay attention, readers come away marvelously informed… DARE is a bold synthesis of linguistic atlas and historical dictionary… Scholars of American language, history, and culture will rely on it, and they will enjoy it as much as lay readers. DARE teaches us about American regional speech, of course. It also teaches us to think big, put aside assumptions, draw on traditions when useful, and make things new.—Michael Adams, Humanities

‘Aaron’s rod’ to ‘zydeco’—between these two verbal bookends lies an immense and largely hidden American vocabulary, one that surely, more than perhaps any other aspect of society, reveals the wonderfully chaotic pluribus out of which two centuries of commerce and convention have forged the duller reality of the unum… A monument, a memorial, a piece of work both magisterial and majestic that someone, somewhere, was one day bound to undertake. So to all who take pleasure from the complex mechanics of human communication: let us rejoice that someone did indeed undertake this gigantic task, and recorded so fascinating a morsel of American linguistic history.—Simon Winchester, Lapham’s Quarterly

To scholars and language lovers [the Dictionary of American Regional English] is an invaluable guide to the way Americans not only speak but also live—a homegrown answer to the Oxford English Dictionary… From the beginning the dictionary was the product of cutting-edge lexicographical science and on-the-ground research of unprecedented scope… Over the years DARE has been consulted by Broadway dialect coaches, detectives analyzing ransom notes, scholars puzzling over a Eudora Welty reference to ‘piecing’ (that is, snacking) and poets looking to mine its 170-plus synonyms for dust bunnies.—Jennifer Schuessler, The New York Times

An important event in lexicography.—Joan Acocella, The New Yorker

If you’re the kind of person who is delighted to stumble across one strange new word in a book, you may find reading this enormous volume to be an almost excessive pleasure…The Dictionary is a book you can actually sit down and read—not just for colorful words and quotations, but also for a tour of actions, objects, creatures and categories central to far-off or vanished pockets of American life… Without your own team of roaming lexicographers, there is probably no easier way to browse America’s past ways of living and talking than to read its books. But Dictionary of American Regional English gathers all these terms into one place, together with samples of the voices and stories and songs that gave rise to them. It’s the rare American book whose roots extend not just to one region but to all of them.—Amanda Katz, NPR.org

The true value of DARE is as a record of the down-home speech of Americans, reflecting quotidian concerns: children’s games, plants and animals, good things to eat and ways to talk about our neighbors—the kinds of things too easily forgotten… Although we often assume that ‘country practices’ have fallen by the wayside under the onslaught of pop culture, DARE provides evidence for many terms not only of past use but of continued currency.—Erin McKean, The Wall Street Journal

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