Skip to main content Accessibility help

Five visions of America

  • Dennis R. Preston (a1)


The study of dialect distribution has generally focused on the performance of speakers rather than on their perception of speech variation. The exceptions in so-called attitude studies do not further our understanding of where ordinary speakers believe dialect boundaries exist. Hand-drawn maps from five areas (Hawaii, southeastern Michigan, southern Indiana, western New York, and New York City) are converted into generalized maps of local perceptions of dialect areas of the United States. The maps are compared with one another, with traditional maps of U.S.dialect areas, and with maps of cultural and regional zones of the United States. The maps are shown to be of value in calculating attitudinal factors and may be of considerable importance in determining the existence and scope of such notions as “speech community.” (Dialect geography, language standards, American speech, language attitudes)



Hide All
Abler, R., Adams, J., & Gould, P. (1971). Spatial organization: The geographer's view of the world. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.
Atwood, E. B. (1962). The regional vocabulary of Texas. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Bailey, C.-J. N. (1973). Variation and linguistic theory. Washington. D.C.: Center for Applied Linguistics.
Bright, E. S. (1971). A word geography of California and Nevada. (University of California Publications in Linguistics 69.) Berkeley: University of California Press.
Gould, P. & White, R. (1974). Mental maps. New York: Penguin.
Kurath, H., & McDavid, R. I. Jr. (1961). The pronunciation of English in the Atlantic states. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Ladd, F. (1967). A note on “The world across the street.” Harvard Graduate School of Education Association Bulletin 12:4748.
Orleans, P. (1967). Differential cognition of urban residents: Effects of social scale on mapping. Science, engineering, and the city. Publication 1498. Washington. D.C.: National Academy of Engineering.
Preston, D. (1982). Perceptual dialectology: Mental maps of United States dialects from a Hawaiian perspective. In Preston, D. (ed.). Working Papers in Linguistics 14(2):549. (Special issue on language attitudes in Hawaii.) Honolulu: Department of Linguistics, University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Preston, D. (to appear). Where they speak correct English. In Warkentyne, H. (ed.). Methods V/Méth-odes V, (Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Methods in Dialectology.) Victoria, British Columbia: Department of Linguistics, University of Victoria.
Reed, D. W. (1954). Eastern dialect words in California. Publication of the American Dialect Society 21:315.
Rooney, J. Jr, Zelinsky, W., & Louder, D. (eds.) (1982). This remarkable continent: An atlas of United States and Canadian society and cultures. College Station, Tex.: Texas A&M University Press (published for The Society for the North American Cultural Survey).
Shuy, R. W. (1967). Discovering American dialects. Champaign, Ill.: National Council of Teachers of English.
Trager, G. (1930). The pronunciation of short a in American Standard English. American Speech 5(5):396400.
Wells, J. C. (1982). Accents of English 3: Beyond the British Isles. Cambridge University Press.
Wood, G. R. (1972). Vocabulary change: A study of variation in regional words in eight of the southern states. Carbondale, Ill.: Southern Illinois University Press.
Zelinsky, W. (1980). North America's vernacular regions. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 70(1):116.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Five visions of America

  • Dennis R. Preston (a1)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.