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Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English Hardcover – March 1, 2004
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From the Publisher
"Almost one hundred years ago Sir William Craigie, one of the original editors of the Oxford English Dictionary, observed that the OED should be supplemented by smaller regional and period dictionaries which would investigate particular varieties of English in much closer detail than was possible in the big OED. Since that time a tradition has grown up of such dictionaries, and The Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English is a worthy addition to this stable. Regional varieties of English are not quaint; they record the life and culture of a community which happens not to be mainstream. What is important to the people of the Smoky Mountains? Look at their characteristic vocabulary: the church, local industries, farming, birds, animals, each other. And these aspects of life are carefully documented here as a fascinating insight into the world of the Smoky Mountains. No dictionary should be without cater-corner or charivari, and (Im starting to be convinced) cumfluttered or from can see to cant see (dawn to dusk). Not every culture needs an expression for a designated person in a mountain community who kept boards ready to construct a coffin at short notice, because burial usually took place the day following death, but some do, and maybe it will prove useful to the producers of HBOs Six Feet Under! Take a look, and see how lexicography uncovers a way of life which may not be with us for too long." John Simpson, Chief Editor, Oxford English Dictionary
"A magnificent dictionary, Smoky Mountain English comes alive in its pages. Montgomery uses the collections of the late Joseph Sargent Hall, begun in 193741, and his own archival and personal observations to create "a record of living speech." All who love Smokies English in fact or fiction will find this great work a delightful account of one of Americas most fabulous dialects." Richard W. Bailey, Fred Newton Scott Collegiate Professor of English, The University of Michigan
From the Inside Flap
Often considered merely a repository of archaic or even Elizabethan English, the language of southern Appalachia represents a distinctive American dialect that is both conservative and innovative. This dictionary marks the first comprehensive, historical record of the traditional speech of this region. Focusing on the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee and western North Carolina, it features more than six thousand names, usages, meanings, and folk expressions that are found in the region, exemplified by more than fifteen thousand documented quotations.
The Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English is the product of more than sixty years work by the late Joseph S. Hall, a scholar who spent much of his life documenting Smoky Mountain speech and lore beginning in 1937, and Michael Montgomery, who assumed editorship of the dictionary in 1990. It is based on hundreds of recordings and written sources that date as far back as the late eighteenth century and includes interviews with elderly residents in the 1930s, early church minutes, Civil War letters, local fiction, and written commentaries on mountain speech.
The dictionary is rich in the terminology of traditional mountain culture, illuminating regional practices connected with herbal medicine, moonshining, farming, cooking, music, religious customs, and many other areas. Popular nomenclature for flora and fauna forms a major component of the dictionary. Grammatical forms and patterns are covered in particular detail because they are often hallmarks of southern Appalachian English.
Each entry contains a headword or phrase with variant forms and spellings, one or more definitions, dated citations, and etymology. The volume includes a users guide and an overview of grammar, which covers points of usage regarding nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, conjunctions, prefixes and suffixes, and other grammatical elements of Smoky Mountain speech.
More than a dictionary, this book is a virtual index to the history and traditional culture of the Great Smoky Mountains. It carries the study of the regions language considerably beyond any previous work and will be a definitive resource for both the language and the culture of southern Appalachia for years to come.
Top customer reviews
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The origins of words and phrases in the mountain vernacular are fascinating.
I would recommend this work to everyone.