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American English : Dialects and Variation - Walt Wolfram

American English

Dialects and Variation


Published: 2nd September 2005
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This book provides a very readable and up-to-date description of language variation in American English, covering regional, ethnic, and gender-based differences. The authors include situations ranging from historically isolated, rural dialects to developing, urban ethnic varieties as they consider the descriptive, theoretical, and applied ramifications of dialects in American society. The second edition of American English includes new chapters on social and ethnic dialects, including more comprehensive discussions of Latino, Native American, Cajun English, and other varieties, samples from a wider array of US regions, and a separate chapter on African American English. Updated chapters and exercises as well as features such as a phonetic symbols key, and a section on the notion of speech community, combine to make the new edition a valuable resource for students and specialists alike.

"This book has become a staple in the study and instruction of American English... The second edition provides the same balance of detail, clarity, breadth and sophistication offered by the first edition, but with an improved organization and up-to-date information. It is clear that the authors took seriously the task of revising and updating this new edition so that its users could enjoy the maximum benefits of its structure and contents. They will be pleased to know that their efforts were not in vain. The book will undoubtedly continue to be used as one of the key texts in the instruction of American dialects for many years to come." Journal of Sociolinguistics "This is an indispensable book, not just for students but for anyone who wants to know how the English language varies in the United States and how this variation has been studied... It is comprehensive, comprehensible and dense with detail." Language in Society (of the previous edition) "The strengths of the book include its style and the authors' consideration of how the book might actually be used as a text... the chapters are divided into subsections with helpful headings; exercises calling for creative responses by students are scattered throughout... each chapter ends with a short annotated bibliography for further readings." Language (of the previous edition)

List of Figures.

List of Tables.

Series Editor?s Preface.


Phonetic Symbols.

1 Dialects, Standards, and Vernaculars.

1.1 Defining Dialect.

1.2 Dialect: The Popular Viewpoint.

1.3 Dialect Myths and Reality.

1.4 Standards and Vernaculars.

1.5 Vernacular Dialects.

1.6 Labeling Vernacular Dialects.

1.7 Why Study Dialects?.

1.8 A Tradition of Study.

1.9 Further Reading.

2 Why Dialects?.

2.1 Sociohistorical Explanation.

2.1.1 Settlement.

2.1.2 Migration.

2.1.3 Geographical factors.

2.1.4 Language contact.

2.1.5 Economic ecology.

2.1.6 Social stratification.

2.1.7 Social interaction, social practices, and speech communities.

2.1.8 Group and individual identity.

2.2 Linguistic Explanation.

2.2.1 Rule extension.

2.2.2 Analogy.

2.2.3 Transparency and grammaticalization.

2.2.4 Pronunciation phenomena.

2.2.5 Words and word meanings.

2.3 The Final Product.

2.4 Further Reading.

3 Levels of Dialect.

3.1 Lexical Differences.

3.2 Slang.

3.3 Phonological Differences.

3.4 Grammatical Differences.

3.5 Language Use and Pragmatics.

3.6 Further Reading.

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

4.1 The First English(es) in America.

4.2 Earlier American English: The Colonial Period.

4.3 American English Extended.

4.4 The Westward Expansion of English.

4.5 The Present and Future State of American English.

4.6 Further Reading.

5 Regional Dialects.

5.1 Eliciting Regional Dialect Forms.

5.2 Mapping Regional Variants.

5.3 The Distribution of Dialect Forms.

5.4 Dialect Diffusion.

5.5 Perceptual Dialectology.

5.6 Region and Place.

5.7 Further Reading.

6 Social and Ethnic Dialects.

6.1 Defining Class.

6.2 Beyond Social Class.

6.3 The Patterning of Social Differences in Language.

6.4 Linguistic Constraints on Variability.

6.5 The Social Evaluation of Linguistic Features.

6.6 Social Class and Language Change.

6.7 Ethnicity.

6.8 Latino English.

6.8.1. Chicano English.

6.8.2 The range of Latino English.

6.9 Cajun English.

6.10 Lumbee English.

6.11 Further Reading.

7 African American English.

7.1 The Status of European American and African American Vernaculars.

7.2 The Origin and Early Development of AAE.

7.3 The Contemporary Development of AAE.

7.4 Conclusion.

7.5 Further Reading.

8 Gender and Language Variation (Was Chapter 7 in first edn).

8.1 Gender-Based Patterns of Variation as Reported in Dialect Surveys.

8.2 Explaining General Patterns.

8.3 Localized Expressions of Gender Relations.

8.4 Communities of Practice: Linking the Local and the Global.

8.5 Language-Use-based Approaches: The ?Female Deficit? Approach.

8.6 The ?Cultural Difference? Approach.

8.7 The ?Dominance? Approach.

8.8 Further Implications.

8.9 Talking About Men and Women.

8.9.1 Generic he and man.

8.9.2 Family names and addresses.

8.9.3 Relationships of association.

8.9.4 Labeling.

8.10 The Question of Language Reform.

8.11 Further Reading.

9 Dialects and Style (Was Chapter 8 in first edn).

9.1 Types of Style Shifting.

9.2 Attention to Speech.

9.2.1 The Patterning of Stylistic Variation across Social Groups.

9.2.2 Limitations of the Attention to Speech Approach.

9.3 Audience Design.

9.3.1 The Effects of Audience on Speech Style.

9.3.2 Limitations of the Audience Design Approach.

9.3.3 Newer Approaches to Audience Design.

9.4 Speaker Design Approaches.

9.5 Further Considerations.

9.6 Further Reading.

10 On the Applications of Dialect Study.

10.1 Applied Dialectology.

10.2 Dialects and Testing.

10.2.1 Language achievement.

10.2.2 Speech and language development tests.

10.2.3 Predicting dialect interference.

10.3 Testing Language.

10.3.1 Using language to access information.

10.3.2 The testing situation.

10.3.3 The language diagnostician.

10.4 Teaching Standard English.

10.4.1 What standard?.

10.4.2 Approaches to standard English.

10.4.3 Can Standard English be taught?.

10.5 Further Reading.

11 Dialect Awareness: Extending Applications.

11.1 Dialects and Reading.

11.1.1 Dialect readers.

11.2 Dialect Influence in Written Language.

11.3 Written Dialect.

11.4 Proactive Dialect Awareness Programs.

11.5 A Curriculum on Dialects.

11.6 Community-based Dialect Awareness Programs.

11.7 Scrutinizing Community Partnerships.

11.8 Further Reading.

Appendix: An Inventory of Socially Diagnostic Structures.




ISBN: 9781405112666
ISBN-10: 1405112662
Series: Language in Society
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 472
Published: 2nd September 2005
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.7 x 15.4  x 2.49
Weight (kg): 0.68
Edition Number: 2
Edition Type: Revised