This article offers a preliminary comparison of available data from three regional surveys of English: the Linguistic Atlas Project, the Survey of English Dialects, and the Linguistic Atlas of Scotland, taking as its focus the survey item ‘kindling’. Intended as a pilot study, the following discussion highlights the benefits and challenges of combining data from these surveys. This study suggests that a comparison of atlas-style survey data would be productive and that these surveys, in addition to valuable information about variation in language, contain a great deal of cultural information. Finally, this article suggests that the ‘kindling’ data provide evidence of a “material effect”; in other words, the data suggest that physical surroundings have an influence on the vocabulary of different regions.
To Start a Fire: The Material Effect on Vocabulary
allison burkette is associate professor of linguistics at the University of Mississippi. Her main areas of interest include sociolinguistics, American English, and language variation and change. Her book, Language and Material Culture (Benjamins, 2015), draws on Linguistic Atlas Project data and other primary sources to address the intersection of the linguistic and material. Her forthcoming works include Introducing Complex Systems and Speech, a textbook coauthored with William A. Kretzschmar, Jr., and Language and Classification: Meaning-Making in the Classification and Categorization of Ceramics. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Allison Burkette; To Start a Fire: The Material Effect on Vocabulary. American Speech 1 August 2017; 92 (3): 321–339. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00031283-4312075
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