Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 10:27:20 -0600


Subject: Re: Separate dialects?

Tim Frazer wrote:

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.

This is interesting to me, since my work is mostly on the lexicon, which is

seen by many as marking only superficial dialect differences compared with the

more important phon. and syn. ("structural") diffs. Kurath claimed that where

one finds lexical diffs, there are likely to be other types of diffs as well.

I would add that cultural features would be lilkely to differ too.

Are there other areas that people think are marked only by lexicon but not by

other features? I would expect the vocabulary to behave differently because

the rate of lg. change there seems more rapid and because of differences in

acquisition. I'd like to hear more on this topic.

Ellen Johnson