The Guardian notes that the Dictionary of American Regional English (fun acronym: DARE) is finally completed, after 50 years of work:
From whoopensocker to upscuddle, strubbly to swivet, 50 years after it was first conceived the Dictionary of American Regional English is finally about to reach the end of the alphabet.
The fifth volume of the dictionary, covering “slab” to “zydeco”, is out in March from Harvard University Press. It completes a project begun in 1962 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, when Fred Cassidy was appointed chief editor of a dictionary of American dialects. Cassidy spent several years crafting a 1,600-question survey covering all aspects of daily life, and in 1965, 80 fieldworkers set out in “word wagons” to 1,002 communities across the US, interviewing 2,777 people over six years. This information has been mapped by editors over the last 40 years with written materials dating from the colonial period to the present, creating a 60,000-entry dictionary that its chief editor says gives the lie to the popular myth that American English has become homogenised by the media and the mobility of America’s population.
From DARE’s site:
DARE can tell you where people might live if their favorite card games are euchre, five hundred, schafskopf, sheepshead, or sixty-three; or where Americans eat apple pandowdy, lutefisk, or rivel; or where people are from if they live in dog trots, railroad flats, salt boxes, or shotgun houses.
The language of our everyday lives is captured inDARE, along with expressions our grandparents used but our children will never know. Based on interviews with thousands of Americans across the country, as well as on newspapers, histories, novels, diaries, letters, government documents, and other written sources, the Dictionary of American Regional English presents our language in its infinite variety.
For the serious word lover, this dictionary is a must on your bookshelf. You can pre-order the dictionary here.