Regional Dictionary Finally Hits ‘Zydeco’Breaking News
Joan Houston Hall, chief editor of the Dictionary of American Regional English, still remembers the day back in the late 1990s when she typed “scrid” into Google.
The word, meaning scrap or bit, was to be listed in the dictionary as a purely New England piece of vocabulary traceable to 1860. But suddenly there it was on the Web site of a lathe maker in California.
“I thought, ‘Oh no! This regionalism has jumped the country,’ ” Ms. Hall recalled recently in a telephone interview from her office at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
She e-mailed the lathe maker, who wrote back saying he had learned the word from his girlfriend, who was from Maine. A “nice, tight regionalism,” as Ms. Hall put it, was saved.
Such was a particularly nerve-racking day in the life of one of America’s most ambitious lexicographical projects, which culminates with the publication by Harvard University Press of Volume V (Sl-Z) next month, a mere 50 years after the project was inaugurated by Frederic G. Cassidy, an exuberant Jamaican-born linguist given to signing off conversations with “On to Z!”...
comments powered by Disqus
- Ben Carson defends linking gun control to the Holocaust
- Secret CIA Report: Pinochet "Personally Ordered" Washington Car-Bombing
- Mike Huckabee’s 1998 Book Is Full Of Fake Quotes From America’s Founders
- Children should be taught about suffering under the British Empire, Jeremy Corbyn says
- Collateral damage: A brief history of U.S. mistakes at war
- NYT History Book Reviews: Who Got Noticed this Week?
- NC student’s senior thesis selected as top paper sheds light on little-known victory over Jim Crow
- Historian Who Probed Austria’s Nazi Past Begins Sentence for Defrauding State
- Daniel Pipes says we should be worried that immigrants don’t share western values
- Nobel Prize in Literature Awarded to journalist Svetlana Alexievich