Dictionary of American Regional English: I-O

Front Cover
Frederic Gomes Cassidy, Joan Houston Hall
Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1996 - History - 927 pages
3 Reviews

Dip into the Dictionary of American Regional English and enter the rich, endlessly entertaining, ever-changing world of American speech. Learn what a Minnesota grandma is making when she fixes lefse, what a counterman in a Buffalo deli means by kimmelweck or a Hawaiian baker puts into a malassada. Find out what kids on the streets of New York are doing when they play Johnny-on-the-pony or off-the-point, what Southerners do when they use their tom walkers, what the folks in Oklahoma and Texas celebrate on Juneteenth and those in some parts of Wisconsin at a kermis.

Like its enormously popular predecessors, this volume captures the language of our lives, from east to west, north to south, urban to rural, childhood to old age. Here are the terms that distinguish us, one from the other, and knit us together in one vast, colorful tapestry of imperfect, perfectly enchanting speech. More than five hundred maps show where you might be if you looked in a garden and saw moccasin flowers, indian cigars, or lady peas; if you encountered a bullfrog and cried, "jugarum!"; or came upon a hover fly and exclaimed, "newsbee!" And here, at long last, is an explanation of what the madstone and the money cat portend.

Built upon an unprecedented survey of spoken English across America and bolstered by extensive historical research, the Dictionary of American Regional English preserves a language that lives and dies as we breathe. It will amuse and inform, delight and instruct, and keep alive the speech that we have made our own, and that has made us who we are.

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About the author (1996)

Frederic G. Cassidy was Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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