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American English: Dialects and Variation, 3rd Edition

ISBN: 978-1-118-39022-1
456 pages
December 2015, Wiley-Blackwell
American English: Dialects and Variation, 3rd Edition (1118390229) cover image

Description

The new edition of this classic text chronicles recent breakthrough developments in the field of American English, covering regional, ethnic, and gender-based differences.

  • Now accompanied by a companion website with an extensive array of sound files, video clips, and other online materials to enhance and illustrate discussions in the text
  • Features brand new chapters that cover the very latest topics, such as Levels of Dialect, Regional Varieties of English, Gender and Language Variation, The Application of Dialect Study, and Dialect Awareness: Extending Application, as well as new exercises with online answers
  • Updated to contain dialect samples from a wider array of US regions
  • Written for students taking courses in dialect studies, variationist sociolinguistics, and linguistic anthropology, and requires no pre-knowledge of linguistics 
  • Includes a glossary and extensive appendix of the pronunciation, grammatical, and lexical features of American English dialects
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Table of Contents

Contents

Preface ix

Phonetic Symbols xiv

List of Figures xvii

1 Dialects, Standards, and Vernaculars 1

1.1 Defining Dialect 2

1.2 Dialect: The Popular Viewpoint 3

1.3 Dialect Myths and Linguistic Reality 14

1.4 Standards and Vernaculars 17

1.5 Descriptivism and Prescriptivism 27

1.6 Vernacular Dialects 30

1.7 Labeling Vernacular Dialects 33

1.8 Why Study Dialects? 35

1.9 A Tradition of Study 42

1.10 Further Reading 48

2 Why Dialects? 50

2.1 Sociohistorical Explanation 51

2.1.1 Settlement 52

2.1.2 Migration 55

2.1.3 Geographical factors 56

2.1.4 Language contact 58

2.1.5 Economic ecology 61

2.1.6 Social stratification 63

2.1.7 Social interaction, social practices, and speech communities 65

2.1.8 Group and individual identity 73

2.2 Linguistic Explanation 77

2.2.1 Rule extension 82

2.2.2 Analogy 84

2.2.3 Transparency and grammaticalization 91

2.2.4 Pronunciation principles 97

2.2.5 Words and word meanings 107

2.3 The Final Product 111

2.4 Further Reading 112

3 Levels of Dialect 115

3.1 Lexical Differences 115

3.2 Slang 124

3.3 Phonological Differences 129

3.4 Grammatical Differences 144

3.5 Language Use and Pragmatics 155

3.6 Further Reading 166

4 Dialects in the United States: Past, Present, and Future 169

4.1 The First English(es) in America 170

4.1.1 Jamestown 170

4.1.2 Boston 173

4.1.3 Philadelphia 177

4.1.4 Charleston 179

4.1.5 New Orleans 181

4.2 Earlier American English: The Colonial Period 182

4.3 American English Extended 187

4.4 The Westward Expansion of English 191

4.5 The Present and Future State of American English 195

4.6 Further Reading 202

5 Regional Varieties of English 205

5.1 Eliciting Regional Dialect Forms 205

5.2 Mapping Regional Variants 208

5.3 The Distribution of Dialect Forms 211

5.4 Dialect Diffusion 221

5.5 Perceptual Dialectology 228

5.6 Region and Place 233

5.7 Further Reading 235

6 Social Varieties of American English 239

6.1 Social Status and Class 240

6.2 Beyond Social Class 244

6.3 Indexing Social Meanings through Language Variation 246

6.4 The Patterning of Social Differences in Language 248

6.5 Linguistic Constraints on Variability 254

6.6 The Social Evaluation of Linguistic Features 260

6.7 Social Class and Language Change 265

6.8 Further Reading 267

7 Ethnicity and American English 269

7.1 Ethnic Varieties and Ethnolinguistic Repertoire 270

7.2 Patterns of Ethnolinguistic Variation 272

7.3 Latino English 276

7.4 Cajun English 288

7.5 Lumbee English 292

7.6 Jewish American English 297

7.7 Asian American English 302

7.8 Further Reading 308

8 African American English 311

8.1 Defining the English of African Americans 311

8.2 The Relationship of European American and African American English 315

8.3 The Origin and Early Development 323

8.3.1 The Anglicist Hypothesis 323

8.3.2 The Creolist Hypothesis 324

8.3.3 A Note on Creole Exceptionalism 326

8.3.4 The Neo-Anglicist Hypothesis 327

8.3.5 The Substrate Hypothesis 329

8.4 The Contemporary Development of African American Speech 331

8.5 Conclusion 340

8.6 Further Reading 342

9 Gender and Language Variation 344

9.1 Gender-based Patterns of Variation 347

9.2 Explaining General Patterns 352

9.3 Localized Expressions of Gender Relations 355

9.4 Communities of Practice: Linking the Local and the Global 358

9.5 Gender and Language Use 362

9.5.1 The "Female Deficit" Approach 363

9.5.2 The "Cultural Difference" Approach 370

9.5.3 The "Dominance" Approach 373

9.6 Investigating Gender Diversity 376

9.7 Talking about Men and Women 377

9.7.1 Generic he and man 378

9.7.2 Family names and addresses 379 

9.7.3 Relationships of association 381 

9.7.4 Labeling 382 

9.8 The Question of Language Reform 383

9.9 Further Reading 387 

10 Dialects and Style 390

10.1 Types of Style Shifting 391

10.2 Attention to Speech 397

10.2.1 The patterning of stylistic variation across social groups 399

10.2.2 Limitations of the attention to speech approach 402

10.3 Audience Design 405

10.3.1 The effects of audience on speech style 408

10.3.2 Questions concerning audience design 412

10.4 Speaker Design Approaches 416

10.4.1 Three approaches to style, 'three waves' of quantitative sociolinguistic study 417

10.4.2 Studying stylistic variation from a speaker-design perspective 419

10.5 Further Consideration 423

10.6 Further Reading 426

11 The Application of Dialect Study 429

11.1 Dialects and Assessment Testing 432

11.1.1 "Correctness" in Assessing Language Achievement and Development 433

11.1.2 Testing Linguistic Knowledge 439

11.1.3 Using language to test other knowledge 442

11.1.4 The testing situation 440

11.2 Teaching Mainstream American English 444

11.2.1 What standard? 446

11.2.2 Approaches to MAE 450

11.2.3 Can MAE be taught? 454

11.3 Further Reading 462

12 Dialect Awareness: Extending Application 464

12.1 Dialects and Reading 464

12.2 Dialect Influence in Written Language 468

12.3 Literary Dialect 471

12.4 Proactive Dialect Awareness 477

12.5 Venues of Engagement 480

12.6 A Curriculum on Dialects 483

12.7 Scrutinizing Sociolinguistic Engagement 493

12.8 Further Reading 500

Appendix 502

Glossary 534

References 573

Index 613

 

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Author Information

Walt Wolfram is William C. Friday Distinguished University Professor at North Carolina State University, and has authored numerous books including The Development of African American English (with Erik Thomas, Blackwell, 2002) and American Voices (co-edited with Ben Ward, Blackwell, 2006). His most recent book is Talkin’ Tar Heel: How Our Voices Tell the Story of North Carolina (2014).

Natalie Schilling is Associate Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University. She is co-editor of The Handbook of Language Variation and Change, second edition (with J. K. Chambers, 2013, Wiley), and author of Sociolinguistic Fieldwork (2013).
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