Word Ways


Darryl Francis


When the American Dialect Society (ADS) was founded in 1889, one of the major goals of its charger members was to do for the United States what Joseph Wright was doing for England in compiling his English Dialect Dictionary. But of course the task of making a dictionary of the dialects of the United States was going to be a lot bigger because of the size of the country. So the Society began by publishing word lists made by professors who jotted down unfamiliar terms or expressions as they visited places new to them. For decades, lists were published in the ADS journals Dialect Notes (1890-1939) and Publications of the American Dialect Society (1944-).