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.

Tim Frazer

Dept of English

Western Illinois University

Macomb, Illinois 61455