Handbook of the Linguistic Atlas of the Middle and South Atlantic States

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, Sep 15, 1993 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 454 pages
0 Reviews
Who uses "skeeter hawk," "snake doctor," and "dragonfly" to refer to the same insect? Who says "gum band" instead of "rubber band"? The answers can be found in the Linguistic Atlas of the Middle and South Atlantic States (LAMSAS), the largest single survey of regional and social differences in spoken American English. It covers the region from New York state to northern Florida and from the coastline to the borders of Ohio and Kentucky. Through interviews with nearly twelve hundred people conducted during the 1930s and 1940s, the LAMSAS mapped regional variations in vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation at a time when population movements were more limited than they are today, thus providing a unique look at the correspondence of language and settlement patterns.

This handbook is an essential guide to the LAMSAS project, laying out its history and describing its scope and methodology. In addition, the handbook reveals biographical information about the informants and social histories of the communities in which they lived, including primary settlement areas of the original colonies. Dialectologists will rely on it for understanding the LAMSAS, and historians will find it valuable for its original historical research.

Since much of the LAMSAS questionnaire concerns rural terms, the data collected from the interviews can pinpoint such language differences as those between areas of plantation and small-farm agriculture. For example, LAMSAS reveals that two waves of settlement through the Appalachians created two distinct speech types. Settlers coming into Georgia and other parts of the Upper South through the Shenandoah Valley and on to the western side of the mountain range had a Pennsylvania-influenced dialect, and were typically small farmers. Those who settled the Deep South in the rich lowlands and plateaus tended to be plantation farmers from Virginia and the Carolinas who retained the vocabulary and speech patterns of coastal areas.

With these revealing findings, the LAMSAS represents a benchmark study of the English language, and this handbook is an indispensable guide to its riches.

  

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

History and Nature of the Project 1
3
Tables of Informants and Communities
24
Work Sheets and Collection of Information
58
Phonetics and Field Worker Practices
113
Field Records List Manuscripts and Initial Editing
128
LAMSAS Computerization
138
Dialects of the LAMSAS Region by Raven I McDavid Jr
147
Settlement History
154
Pennsylvania
228
West Virginia
267
Delaware
292
Maryland
297
District of Columbia
310
Virginia
312
North Carolina
345
South Carolina
380

Community Sketches and Informant Biographies
165
List of Abbreviations
168
New York
169
New Jersey
214
Georgia
422
Florida
451
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1993)

William A. Kretzschmar, Jr., is associate professor of English at the University of Georgia and editor-in-chief of LAMSAS. Virginia G. McDavid is professor emerita at Chicago State University. Theodore K. Lerud is associate professor of English at Elmhurst College. Ellen Johnson is a member of the LAMSAS staff at the University of Georgia.

Bibliographic information