Some Regional Words and Features

Maps of the following can be found in either the Word Map or Camp Talk sections with the exception of a-prefixing, plural was, fixing to, like(d) to, existential they, and pronoun hit. These are included in Michael Ellis. 2016. “Mapping Southern American English, 1861-1865.” Journal of Linguistic Geography 4.1: 1-14. Maps of words marked with * can be found in the Camp Talk section, “Sowbelly and Hardtack.” For a description of the major dialect regions see the Introduction to this Word Maps section

General Patterns found throughout the country
haint for have not, has not
shall and shant with first-person subjects
was with a plural or second-person subject

North [These are characteristic of the North but not the North Midland]
*baked beans, noun (eastern New England)
brown bread, noun (New England)
gain, verb: “to become healthy”
had ought to, verb phrase
*salt horse, noun (Northeast)
see, past tense (Northeast)
smart, adjective: “healthy”
to for at, preposition
want you should, verb phrase (mainly Northeast)

North and North Midland
crick, noun
forenoon, noun
*grub, noun
*hardtack, noun
rod, noun: “5 ½ yards”
soft bread, noun: “loaf bread”
*sowbelly, noun (Northwest and West Midland)

North Midland
middling, adverb: “rather, somewhat” (esp. PA)

North Midland and South Midland
against, preposition and conjunction: “before, by, by the time”
till, preposition and conjunction: “before, by, by the time” (esp. PA., w NC)
apple butter, noun

South Midland
daddy, noun
fixing to, present participle of fix followed by an infinitive: “to intend, get ready”
slips, noun: “men’s underpants” (esp. wNC)

Midland and South
knowed, past tense and past participle
like(d) to, adverb phrase: “almost”
*light bread, noun, “loaf bread”
pap, noun: “a father”
*roasting ear, noun: “immature field corn”
seen, past tense of see
stout, adjective: “healthy”
they, existential subject: “there”

South, South Midland [These are features that are the most characteristically “Southern” and not shared with the North Midland]
all to, preposition: “except for”
cear, verb and noun: variant form of care
connection, noun: “relatives, kinfolk”
heap, noun: “a large number, amount”
hearn, past tense and past participle of hear
hit, pronoun: “it”
hope, past tense and past participle of help
horsespittle, noun: variant form of hospital
howdy, interjection and noun
mighty, adverb: “very”
one, pronoun: “one or the other, one of two alternatives”
right smart, noun: “a large amount”
seed, past tense and past participle of see
smart, adjective: “helpful, productive”
sorrow, adjective: “sorry”
tolerable, adverb: “rather, somewhat”
tolerable, adjective: “average”

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