Cover: Dictionary of American Regional English: Volume II: D–H, from Harvard University PressCover: Dictionary of American Regional English: Volume II: D–H in HARDCOVER

Dictionary of American Regional English: Volume II: D–H

Editor-in-chief Frederic G. Cassidy

Edited by Joan Houston Hall

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Product Details


$149.00 • £119.95 • €134.00

ISBN 9780674205123

Publication Date: 09/01/1991


1200 pages

8-1/2 x 11 inches

606 maps

Belknap Press

Dictionary of American Regional English


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

For the first time, in the nation of homogenized milk and golfheaded pifflespeakers, we have a definitive picture of who says what where when the TV is off. This picture, literally dotted out on helpful maps, provides a raucous hymn to linguistic diversity. Even more important, it serves as a sort of verbal game preserve where all manner of endangered species—from big hats to blind tigers—may linger a while longer.The Boston Globe

A staggering work of collective scholarship… DARE is not only a reference treasure for the scholar and the general word lover, it’s a lode for raiding parties by specialists of all kinds… Most of all, 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

DARE is a monumental and impressive work… For those studying American English or linguistics, this is a work that will be consulted again and again.—Daniel F. Phelan, Language and Linguistics

Because these volumes are the most complete lexical records we have of the American experience, much of the history and contemporary condition of American society can be found in their pages… We are very fortunate to have DARE; it is not a dictionary; it is a national treasure.—Edward Callary, Language in Society

The most exciting linguistic project going on in the United States.—William Safire, The New York Times

The long-awaited, definitive and fascinating Dictionary of American Regional English [DARE]…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. Although DARE will be one of the most scholarly, comprehensive, and detailed dictionaries ever completed…it will also be one of the easiest and most enjoyable to use or browse in… 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, The New York Times Book Review

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, led by Professor Frederic G. Cassidy, have caught the native poetry of America on every page.—Fred Strebeigh, Smithsonian

In its scope and thoroughness, Cassidy’s dictionary is 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 Bowen, Time

Proof that tourism, television and technological change haven’t rounded off all the gaudy and gracious edges of the way we talk.—L. A. Jolidon, USA Today

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