RARA-AVIS: Dialectology....

From: Steve Novak (Cinefrog@comcast.net)
Date: 10 Dec 2008

  • Next message: jacquesdebierue: "RARA-AVIS: Re: Dialectology...."

    This (below) will be useful for any discussion on US dialects...but I think that the best and most accurate study is at:


    Anyway, this subject is quite endless and always in flux anyway...just like the languages/dialects it refers to...

    LINGUISTIC ATLAS, also dialect atlas. A book of maps which show the distribution of language features over a chosen area. The maps show, with conventional signs such as dots, circles, and triangles, the locations of features as used by native speakers, such as sounds, words, or syntactic features. Ideally, the speakers are directly interviewed in their home communities and their responses immediately noted, but the data are sometimes gathered by postal enquiry. Linguistic atlases have been made for Scotland by Angus McIntosh (1952, An Introduction to a Survey of Scottish Dialects) and J. Y. Mather and H. H. Speitel (1975, 1977, 1986, The Linguistic Atlas of Scotland, 3 volumes); for Wales by Alan R. Thomas (1973, The Linguistic Geography of Wales), and for England by Harold Orton, Stewart Sanderson, and John Widdowson (1978, The Linguistic Atlas of England). In North America, the overall project ŒThe Linguistic Atlas of the United States and Canadaš, for which fieldwork was begun in 1931, has been only partly achieved. Parts completed and published are: The Linguistic Atlas of New England, handbook and 3 volumes, by Hans Kurath (1939­43); The Linguistic Atlas of the Upper Midwest, 3 volumes, by Harold B. Allen
    (1973­6); The Linguistic Atlas of the Gulf States, 3 volumes, with others in preparation, by Lee Pederson (1986­9).

    And just remember what linguists say: a language is a dialect with a strong navy...


    On 12/9/08 4:21 PM, "jacquesdebierue" <jacquesdebierue@yahoo.com> wrote:

    > --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com <mailto:rara-avis-l%40yahoogroups.com> ,
    > Patrick King <abrasax93@...> wrote:
    >> > The idea that any writer might come up with a sentence in English
    > "that would never be uttered by a native American." Seems like a broad
    > stroke to me. I trust by "native American," you mean someone born or
    > at least brought up somewhere in the United States, not specifically a
    > so-called American Indian.<<
    > Yes, I was referring to a competent speaker of American.
    >>> >>The United States is a vast landscape. Here in New England
    > colloquial expressions and dialects change from town to town, never
    > mind state to state. These colloquial difference expand dramatically
    > as you head south and west. I doubt even an American Henry Higgins
    > could state credibly he knows all of them. Certainly there is a social
    > group throughout the north east, from Baltimore to Boston, who affect
    > an English intonation and whose speaking voices are referred to as
    > "fog" by the more down-to-earth denizens of these cities.<<
    > Yes, there are many dialects, but a writer rarely has true command of
    > more than one. And the dialects make musical genre of sorts. As to
    > sentences that would never be uttered within this musical genre, it
    > would be easy to give examples from Highsmith's novels. I have them
    > packed away, though, except for a former library copy of Strangers on
    > a Train, where the issue does not arise.
    > Best,
    > mrt

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