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About American English Dialect Citations of Dialect Resources

There are 8 major English dialect areas in North America, listed on the map.

These are shown in blue, each with its number, on the map and in the Dialect Description Chart below, and are also outlined with blue lines on the map. The first 6 of these begin at the eastern seaboard and proceed west, reflecting western settlement patterns. The many subdialects are shown in red on the map and in the chart, and are outlined with red lines on the map. All of these are listed in the margins of the map as well. In the Dialect Description Chart additional features not shown on the map are provided for distinguishing the dialects.

Dictionary of American Regional English (1985-2013)

Discover the full panoply of American regional words, phrases, and pronunciations with DARE. The digital edition features audio, interactive maps, and insights into the DARE Survey. “These recordings will be of inestimable value to linguists and teachers,” said Allan Metcalf, Executive Secretary of the American Dialect Society, “but they will also be prized by social historians and individuals tracing their own cultural roots.”
University of Wisconsin-Madison: American voices from the past live again, as DARE recordings available online
This is about regional English, not about saying no to drugs. Between 1965 and 1970, DARE Fieldworkers talked with nearly 3,000 people in 1,002 communities, large and small, across the United States. Their responses to the DARE Questionnaire formed a basis for the entries in the six-volume Dictionary of American Regional English (1985-2013) and Digital DARE (2013). Now the recordings, more than 1,800 of them, are freely available online, hosted by the University of Wisconsin's Digital Collections Center.

Austrailian Accent | Irish Accent | Bostonian Accent | Standard American Accent
The Accent Whisperers of Hollywood Peak TV has brought in a flood of global acting talent. It's the job of dialect coaches like Samara Bay to help them all sound right.

Television viewers, exposed to hundreds of different dialects every day, are increasingly aware of the tiniest differences in how people speak, even as the number and degree of distinctions continue to expand. There's a wide and complex range of Minnesotan on “Fargo,” and Tatiana Maslany, the Canadian star of “Orphan Black,” does a dizzying array of British, American and even Eastern-European-inflected English accents. But the specificity isn't relegated to stars. Bay says she was recently dispatched to the set of another TV show to work on a bit player's Haitian Creole. She read the script and character notes and went to YouTube, a miraculous repository (especially under the “accent” tag), then crosschecked her YouTube finds with a Haitian-language specialist at M.I.T.'s linguistics department, who narrowed them down and sent her a few of his own field recordings. All for a few lines uttered briefly by a one-off character in a network drama that has been canceled. The right dialects can help actors create a sense of authenticity and also quickly transmit a lot of information about their characters. An actor could sound generally as if he were from the South and pronounce “pen” like “pin.” Or he could also speak in African-American Vernacular English (for instance, pronouncing “south” like “souf”) and sound as if he were from Bankhead, a largely African-American Atlanta neighborhood. An actor could speak with all these linguistic specificities, but with a particular quicker and more clipped speech pattern that has to do with his own upbringing, and then he'd sound like Earn Marks, the character portrayed by Donald Glover in “Atlanta.” In other words: exactly like who that character is, and no one else.

In 1976, an experimental edition of Bridge: A Cross Cultural Reading program (Simpkins, et al;1975), was field tested in school systems in various areas of the United States..The field test was designed by Houghton Mifflin Publishers and Dr. Gary Simpkins, to test the Bridge Reading Program under actual, day-to-day classroom conditions..The school systems were approached by the publishing company and asked to use their remedial reading program already planned for the upcoming semester, as a control group..This was done in order to compare Bridge with the normal remedial reading activities of the schools..The evaluation was designed as an AAL (African American Language) group, control group, pre-test, post-test experiment..Knowledge of reading was assessed before and after exposure to the reading activities of both groups.
A Black Harvard graduate student, successfully field tested “ Bridge, A Cross-Cultural Reading Program. Dr. Gary Simpkins designed and tested the program with Houghton Mifflin Publishers in 1976, its methodology improved reading scores of functionally illiterate Black inner-city students in grades 7-12. Reading scores for the kids that were taught with the 'Bridge Readers' showed 6.2 months of reading gain after four months of instruction and testing. By contrast, what researchers also found was that the kids that were taught by the conventional methods showed only 1.6 months of reading gain, consistent with the evidence that” the longer African American kids stay in school with existing methods, the further behind they fall in national norms.” The experimental evidence was dramatically in support of the approach, the method offered hope that African American kids would finally be able to read above and ahead of the norm, rather than below it. But the inclusion of the vernacular in some of the “Bridge” readers, even though the kids ended up reading the final version in standard English, elicited knee-jerk negative reactions similar to those which emerged in the Oakland Ebonics debacle of 1996. The publisher of this innovative series of readers, Houghton Mifflin, embarrassed by the negative reactions, quickly decided against continuing production of the “Bridge” series, and this very innovative and promising experiment came to an abrupt end, despite its demonstrated pedagogical success, (Professor John Rickford, Stanford University). The Bridge Reading Program makes effective use of peer influence on learning, providing for differences in individual levels of achievement, and accommodates cultural differences. Its methodology is still viable today and the program is suitable for adults with reading problems. Over 50% of our Black non-mainstream students in inner-city schools are functionally illiterate, functioning at a peak of 4.9 grade level achievement rate in reading and writing. Presently, research funding is actively being sought to convert the revised edition of the ”Bridge” readers into a computerized interactive teacher/student friendly version for our inner-city students.
Dr. Patricia Young at the UMBC
e | phone: 410-455-3902
is the chairperson for the project.
Detailed info on the specifics on the “Bridge” reading program can be found within the book “The Throwaway Kids” by Gary Simpkins,; Barnes & Noble


JLC Journal of Language Contact
Evolution of languages, contact and discourse provides a forum for discussion of general perspectives on language change and should accept contributions of any orientation on the principle that reasoned argumentation will enrich our understanding of language contact.

Creole Talk Mailing Lists

Stanford University Library's Reference Guide for Pidgin and Creole Languages
With bibliographical information for beginners in the field. - list information

For Those With a Sense of Humor: 1999
The Dialectizer If you like Pig Latin--this one will have you laughing

Adger, C., Christian, D., & Taylor, O. (1999). Making the Connection: Language and Academic Achievement Among African American Students. Washington, DC and McHenry, IL: Center for Applied Linguistics and Delta Systems.

Christian, D. (1994). Vernacular Dialects in U. S. Schools. ERIC Digest. Washington, DC: ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics.

Christian, D. (1997). Vernacular Dialects and Standard American English in the Classroom. ERIC Minibib. Washington, DC: ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics.

Center for Applied Linguistics Ebonics Information Page.

Carolyn Temple Adger is a Program Associate at the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington, DC. For more information, contact her at 202-429-9292, or at: by electronic mail.

Adger, C. T. (1997). Issues and implications of English dialects for teaching English as a second language. TESOL Professional Paper #3. Alexandria, VA: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc.

Adger, C. T. (1998). Register shifting with dialect resources in instructional discourse. In S. Hoyle and C. T. Adger (Eds.), Kids talk: Strategic language use in later childhood, pp. 151-169. New York: Oxford.

Alvarez, L. and A. Kolker. Producers (1987). American tongues. New York: Center for New American Media.

American Speech. A publication of the American Dialect Society. Tuscaloosa: the University of Alabama Press.

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Position on Language Variation. (1983). ASHA, 25, 22-23.

Bauer, L., & Trudgill, P. (Eds.). (1998). Language myths. New York: Penguin.

Baugh, J. (1999). Out of the mouths of slaves: African American language and educational malpractice. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Carver, C. (1987). American regional dialects: A word geography. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Cassidy, F. G. (General Ed.). (1985, 1991, 1996). Dictionary of American regional English, (Vols. 1-3). Cambridge: Harvard University Press, Belknap.

Christian, D. (1986). American English speech recordings. Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics. (Available at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC)

Christian, D. (In press). Reflections of language heritage: Choice and chance in vernacular English dialects. In P. Griffin, J. Peyton, W. Wolfram, & R.W. Fasold (Eds.), Language in action: New studies of language in society. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton.

Christian, D., Wolfram, W., & N. Dube. (1988). Variation and change in geographically isolated speech communities. Publication of the American Dialect Society No. 74. Tuscaloosa: U. of Alabama Press.

Delpit, L. (1995). Other people's children: Cultural conflict in the classroom. New York: The New Press.

Eble, C. (1996). Slang and sociability: In-group language among college students. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press

Fasold, R. (1984.) The sociolinguistics of society. Oxford, England: Basil Blackwell.

Ferguson, C., & Heath, S. B. (Eds.). (1981). Language in the USA. Cambridge: Cambridge.

Fordham, S. (1998). Speaking standard English from nine to three: Language as guerrilla warfare at Capital High. In S. Hoyle & C. T. Adger (Eds.), Kids talk: Strategic language use in later childhood, pp. 205-216. New York: Oxford.

Gadsden, V. L., & Wagner, D. A. (Eds.). (1995). Literacy among African-American youth: Issues in learning, teaching, and schooling. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.

Heath, S. B. (1983). Ways with words. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Labov, W. (1972). Language in the inner city: Studies in the Black English Vernacular. Philadelphia: The University of Pennsylvania Press.

Leap, W. (1993). American Indian English. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.

Lippi-Green, R. (1997). English with an accent: Language, ideology, and discrimination in the United States. London: Routledge.

Lucas, C., & Borders, D. G. (1994). Language diversity and classroom discourse. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

Mufwene, S., Rickford, J., Bailey, G., & Baugh, J. (Eds.). (1998). African American Vernacular English. New York: Routledge.

Preston, D. R. (Ed.). (1993). American dialect research. Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Rickford, J., & Green, L. (1998). African American vernacular English. New York: Cambridge.

Vernon-Feagans, L. (1996). Children's talk in communities & classrooms. Cambridge, MA and Oxford, England: Blackwell.

Wiley, T. G. (1996). Literacy and language diversity in the United States. Washington, DC and McHenry, IL: Center for Applied Linguistics and Delta Systems.

Wolfram, W. (1990). Incorporating Dialect Study into the Language Arts Class. ERIC Digest. Washington, DC: ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics.

Wolfram, W., & Schilling-Estes, N. (1997). Hoi toide on the outer banks: The story of the Ocracoke Brogue. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press.

Wolfram, W., & Schilling-Estes, N. (1998). American English: Dialects and variation. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Wolfram, W., Adger, C. T., & Christian, D. (1999). Dialects in Schools and Communities. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.