Ronald Macaulay
Table of contents

The term dialect has generally had a bad press. Bloomfield, for example, noted that “local dialects are spoken by the peasants and the poorest people of the towns” (1933: 50) though he also thought that the lower middle class spoke ‘sub-standard’ speech. More than 60 years later Hudson observes that the contrast “between ‘language’ and ‘dialect’ is a question of prestige, a language having prestige which a dialect lacks” (1996: 36). (He goes on to make the interesting claim that Standard English is consequently a language, which would imply that nonstandard dialects are not part of the same language.) It is hardly surprising that in the more enlightened times of the 1960’s linguists tended to shy away from referring to dialects and looked for a more neutral term that would have less negative connotations (see Section 2). There was also an unfortunate period in the development of generative grammar in the U. S. when disagreements about subjective judgments regarding the grammaticality of dubious sentences were labeled ‘dialect differences’. Such extravagant usage was enough to bring any term into disrepute. However, in recent years many linguists have reverted to the use of the term dialect when dealing with linguistic variation, though the precise definition of the term remains unclear.

Full-text access is restricted to subscribers. Log in to obtain additional credentials. For subscription information see Subscription & Price.


Bailey, C.J.
1973The patterning of language variation. In R.W. Bailey & J.L. Robinson (eds.) Varieties of present-day English: 156–86. Macmillan.Google Scholar
Bickerton, D.
1973The nature of a Creole continuum. Language 49: 640–69.Google Scholar
Bloomfield, L.
1933Language. Holt.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Cadiot, P.
1987Roofless dialects (roofless speech). In U. Ammon , N. Dittmar & K. Mattheier (eds.) Sociolinguistics: 755–60. de Gruyter.Google Scholar
Cameron, D.
1995Verbal Hygiene. Routledge.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Cassidy, F.G.
1993Area lexicon: The making of DARE. In D.R. Preston (ed.) American Dialect Research: 93–105. John Benjamins. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
(ed.) 1985Dictionary of American Regional English, A-C. Belknap Press.Google Scholar
Cassidy, F.G. & J. Hall
(eds.) 1991Dictionary of American Regional English D-H. Belknap Press.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Cassidy, F.G. J. Hall
(eds.) 1996Dictionary of American Regional English, I-O. Belknap Press.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Chambers, J.K. & P. Trudgill
1980Dialectology. Cambridge University Press.  BoP DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Edwards, V. & B. Weltens
1985Research on non-standard dialects of British English: Progress and prospects. In W. Viereck (ed.) Focus on: England and Wales: 97–139. John Benjamins. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Feagin, C.
1979Variation and change in Alabama English: A sociolinguistic study of the White community. Georgetown University Press.Google Scholar
Francis, W.N.
1983Dialectology. Longman.Google Scholar
Gauchat, L.
1903Gibt es Mundartgrenzen? Archiv fur das Studium der neieren Sprache 111: 365–403.Google Scholar
Haugen, E.
1966Dialect, language, nation. American Anthropologist 68: 922–35. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Hudson, R.
1996Sociolinguistics. Cambridge University Press. DOI logo  BoPGoogle Scholar
Jahr, E.H.
1997On the use of dialects in Norway. In H. Ramisch & K. Wynne (eds.) Language in time and space: 363–69. Franz Steiner Verlag.Google Scholar
Johnson, E.
1996Lexical change and variation in the Southeastern United States: 1930–1990. University of Alabama PressGoogle Scholar
Kloss, H.
1978Die Entwicklung neuer germanischer Kultursprachen seit 1800. Schwann.Google Scholar
Kolb, E.
1966Phonological atlas of the Northern Region. Francke.Google Scholar
Kolb, E. & B. Glauser & W. Elmer & R. Stamm
1979Atlas of English Sounds. Francke.Google Scholar
A Kretzschmar, W., V. Mcdavid, T. Lerud & E. Johnson
(eds.) 1993Handbook of the Linguistic Atlas of the Middle and South Atlantic States. University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Kretzschmar, W.A. & E.W. Schneider
1996Introduction to quantitative analysis of linguistic survey data: An atlas by the numbers. Sage. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Kurath, H.
1972Studies in area linguistics. Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
Labov, W.
1972Language in the inner city. University of Pennsylvania Press.  BoPGoogle Scholar
1981Field methods of the project on linguistic change and variation. Sociolinguistic Working Paper, No. 81. Southwest Educational Development Laboratory.  BoPGoogle Scholar
1991The three dialects of English. In P. Eckert (ed.) New ways of analyzing sound change: 1–44. Academic Press.Google Scholar
Labov, W. , S. Ash & C. Boberg
1997A national map of the regional dialects of American English.Google Scholar
Macaulay, R.K.S.
1985Linguistic maps: Visual aid or abstract art? In J.M. Kirk , S.F. Sanderson & J.D.A. Widdowson (eds.) Studies in linguistic geography: 172–86. Croom Helm.Google Scholar
1991Locating dialect in discourse: The language of honest men and bonnie lasses in Ayr. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
1997aStandards and variation in urban speech: Examples from Lowland Scots. John Benjamins. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
1997bAyrshire as a linguistic area. In E.W. Schneider (ed.) Englishes around the world: 159–71. John Benjamins. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Martinet, A.
1954Dialect. Romance Philology 8: 1–11.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Mather, J.Y. & H.-H. Speitel
1975–77The Linguistic Atlas of Scotland: Scots section. Croom Helm.Google Scholar
Mcdavid, R.I.
1979Dialects in culture: Essays in general dialectology. University of Alabama Press.Google Scholar
Milroy, L.
1980Language and social networks. Blackwell.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Orton, H. & N. Wright
1975A word geography of England. Seminar Press.Google Scholar
Orton, H., S. Anderson & J. Widdowson
(eds.) 1978The Linguistic Atlas of England. Croom Helm.Google Scholar
Pederson, L. et al.
(eds.) 1986–92Linguistic Atlas of the Gulf States. University of Georgia Press.Google Scholar
Preston, D.R.
1989Perceptual dialectology. Foris. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
1993Folk dialectology. In D.R. Preston (ed.) American dialect research: 333–77. John Benjamins. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Stewart, W.A.
1968A sociolinguistic typology for describing national multilingualism. In J.A. Fishman (ed.) Readings in the sociology of language: 531–45. Mouton. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Trudgill, P.
1986Dialects in contact. Blackwell.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Trudgill, P. & J.K. Chambers
(eds.) 1991Dialects of English: Studies in grammatical variation. Longman.  BoPGoogle Scholar
Wolfram, W. & A. Cavendar
1992Dialect and special-interest domains: Conceptual and methodological issues in collecting a medical lexicon. American Speech 67: 406–20. DOI logoGoogle Scholar