Date: Mon, 27 Nov 1995 11:08:22 -0600
From: "Timothy C. Frazer" mftcf[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UXA.ECN.BGU.EDU
Subject: Re: Separate dialects?
On Sat, 25 Nov 1995, Daniel S Goodman wrote:
According to dialect maps, the Hudson Valley has a dialect of English
distinct from the dialect of the rest of Upstate New York and Western
Vermont. Since I grew up in Ulster County NY, I presumably speak one of
these dialects. Trying to figure out which one, I've realized that I
hear more variation within what are supposed to be two dialect areas than
I do between them -- in pitch, pronunciation, and vocabulary.
I'm not a trained observer. But I do wonder whether 1)The differences
between Upstate New York and Hudson Valley have lessened; or 2) the
people who made the original dialect maps were biased toward finding two
distinct dialect areas; or 3) my hearing is worse than I thought it was.
I think one reason is that that distincition was made by Kurath's Word
Geography, which is based on lexicon. But the lexicon which underlies
much of the word geography represents a bygone way of life. Since people
do not, for example, make cottage cheese at home anymore, disntinctions
like "Dutch Cheese" vs. "pot cheese" have disappeared (according to the
maps, "pot cheese" was in the Hudson Valley & came from the Dutch who
were there 200 years ago). I don't think the Hudson Valley was ever set
apart by phonology or morphosyntax.
Dept of English
Western Illinois University
Macomb, Illinois 61455