Pungle up, unless your pockets are full of flug.
March 23, 2012 2:41 PM   Subscribe

In the late fall of 1965, lexicographer Frederic Gomes Cassidy dispatched a fleet of Word Wagons from a Madison, Wisconsin parking lot. His team of graduate students and volunteers, armed with Cassidy's 1,847-item questionnaire were attempting to compile and decipher all regional dialects and idioms found in America. Cassidy passed away in 2000, but colleagues continued on, and the fifth volume of the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE) has been completed.

100 entries from the Dictionary of American Regional English

Take a regional DARE! - Can you identify where a certain word or phrase originated?

Wall Street Journal book review (March 2012)

William Safire eulogy/reflection from 2000 [NYT]
posted by obscurator (18 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
They were also "armed" with reel to reel tape recorders, and had participants read the story of Arthur the Rat as a control variable.
posted by obscurator at 2:50 PM on March 23, 2012


Cassidy was QUITE a character. When I was researching another Cassidy project, I got in touch with a friend of mine who happens to be his grandson. I asked if he continually punctuated conversations with word origins...

My friend wrote:
He most certainly did punctuate conversations with origins and archaic pronunciations. Two examples are "kudos" which he insisted on pronouncing "qew-dos" where dos is pronounced like the old precursor to Windows. He also liked to point out that Caesar is more properly pronounced "kai-sar" and not "seezer."

I also remember marveling at him when he mentioned during his very late 80s that he was considering learning Russian. We also once had a lighthearted argument once about the merits of the prescriptive vs. descriptive views of language. I've always thought that it would be better to have a standard English that would be "correct" and he pointed out that there were various drawbacks to this approach.

As for his experience living in the U.S. after growing up in Jamaica, there were certain foods he loved that were certainly nonstandard. For instance, he practically demanded dessert after every meal. But the desserts he favored were not typical American fare. Rather, his favorite dessert featured miniature red-skinned bananas that were plentiful in the Carribean, but not so much in the frigid north where all we tend to get consistently is Cavendish.
posted by Madamina at 3:26 PM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I took a DARE class when I was in school, for some reason the guy spent a lot of time teaching us different words for marijuana.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:05 PM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is "fuhgeddaboudit" in the NY/NJ section?
posted by Renoroc at 4:14 PM on March 23, 2012


The FUCK is kolacky? (via the take a dare quiz). I was born bred and raised in WI and never heard of such a thing. Wikipedia mentions MN, NE and TX but not a dang word about WI. I think that "Dare" quiz thing ain't right in the head.
posted by symbioid at 4:15 PM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Surely a version of kolache, a Czech pastry -- but I've seen it only in Texas.
posted by escabeche at 4:21 PM on March 23, 2012


So, *that's* what a Waffle Stomper is.
posted by symbioid at 4:28 PM on March 23, 2012


Lexicographers should get to dispatch fleets more often. "So, you're a lexicographer, eh? What's that involve? Pretty tedious sort of work, I imagine!" "Oh, it's mostly dispatching fleets hither and yon, veritable armies of word-wranglers scouring the nation at my beck and call--that kind of thing."
posted by yoink at 4:40 PM on March 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


The FUCK is kolacky? (via the take a dare quiz). I was born bred and raised in WI and never heard of such a thing.

I've only ever encountered it in Iowa (and among people from Michigan), so I call bullshit on attributing it to Wisconsin, too.
posted by scody at 4:59 PM on March 23, 2012


Great, now I'm jonesing for a bear claw.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:45 PM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


More seriously, regionalisms are so fascinating. I mentioned someone "budged" me in line at the store in a Facebook status, which I thought was just a word (having not had much occasion to use it since childhood), but it turned out to be a regionalism that kicked off a gigantic debate among my FB friends about the "proper" word for cutting in line.

Some of these that fell out of use need to come back -- like "a to izzard."

Also I literally just read the sentence in "Young Lonigan" that is their first example for "futz," which was serendipitously cool!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:57 PM on March 23, 2012


Studies like this stick in my goozle.
posted by clvrmnky at 7:36 PM on March 23, 2012


Ooh. Someone start a "this is that weird neologism I know about, guess!" thread.

I'll start with an easy one:

A bunny-hug.
posted by clvrmnky at 7:38 PM on March 23, 2012


OOOh. Very shiny. Thanks for this!
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:40 PM on March 23, 2012


I mentioned someone "budged" me in line at the store in a Facebook status

Hey, I just learned this regionalism from my son, who unlike me is a Wisconsin native. Much discussion ensued at my blog.

The strange thing is, I own volume A-C of DARE and this sense of "budge" isn't in there!
posted by escabeche at 8:41 PM on March 23, 2012


I've had Kolaches before from the Czech bakery my Czech/Bohemian grandmother would go to in Antigo, WI. They're tasty, as long as you don't get the prune filled ones.

The word Kolache caused a bit of confusion in my life in college, when I wondered why UW-Milwaukee's athletic center ( The Klotsche Center) was named after a tasty treat.
posted by drezdn at 9:45 PM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


huh, bear claw as a pastry is regional, never knew that.

reminded of an amusing story my mom told me of when she met my father. my dad was from Michigan and met my mom in California where she grew up. At one point she mentioned wanting to run over to a convenience store to get Ho-Hos, which greatly confused my dad who had never heard of them before, leading to her amusement at trying to explain them to him.

though Ho-Hos are probably the most amusingly named snack ever.
posted by AngelWuff at 8:43 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


though Ho-Hos are probably the most amusingly named snack ever.

I will see your Ho-Hos and raise you some Ding-Dongs.
posted by scody at 9:47 AM on March 24, 2012


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