While some debate the idea that English should be the official language in cities or counties, it turns out all of us in America do not speak English in quite the same way. From North to South and East to West, and the middle ground in between, each region has its own subset of vocabulary words, not commonly used beyond those regional borders. In New England a dropped egg is not one that fell out of a basket but rather one that was poached – or dropped into boiling water. In Wisconsin they go out for “bakery,” which are the products at the bakery. In some cases a garden house may be in a garden but it’s not a place for plants. It’s a privy or outhouse. Honeyfuggle means cheating. A blue norther in Texas refers to the wind.
Such variation in the English vocabulary used around America resulted in a project called Dictionary of American Regional English or DARE, which has no relation to that other DARE. As it turns out, a group of experts spend time around the country checking in with locals and just generally hanging about to get a handle on local words. Not every place in the country is familiar with the brat – on a bun, that is. But just when things were getting interesting, the researchers discovered that alas, regional words are an endangered species. With everything from sandwich franchises to business travelers popularizing terminology, regional words are being assimilated into the general English lexicon in America – so one day, we may all speak the same English – except that it would still be different from the original English. Meanwhile please pass the goozlum (so I may pour it over my mashed potatoes).
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