American Dialect Society

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American Dialect Society
American-dialect-society-logo.png
Organization logo
Motto "dedicated to the study of the English language in North America, and of other languages, or dialects of other languages, influencing it or influenced by it."[1]
Formation 1889[2]
Type Not for profit
Purpose "The American Dialect Society is organized in the interest of the academic community and not for profit. Its object is the study of the English language in North America, together with other languages or dialects of other languages influencing it or influenced by it."[3]
Location
Region served North America
Membership 550[2]
Official language English
President Luanne Vonne Schneidemesser
President Elect Jesse Sheidlower
Vice President for Communications and Technology Grant Barrett
Executive Secretary Allan Metcalf
Parent organization American Council of Learned Societies (admitted 1962)[2]
Website http://www.americandialect.org/

The American Dialect Society (ADS), founded in 1889, is a learned society "dedicated to the study of the English language in North America, and of other languages, or dialects of other languages, influencing it or influenced by it."[1] The Society publishes the academic journal, American Speech.

Since its foundation, dialectologists in English-speaking North America have affiliated themselves with the American Dialect Society, an association which in its first constitution defined its objective as "the investigation of the spoken English of the United States and Canada" (Constitution, 1890). Over the years, its objective has remained essentially the same, only expanded to encompass "the English language in North America, together with other languages or dialects of other languages influencing it or influenced by it" (Fundamentals, 1991).[4]

History[edit]

The organization was founded as part of an effort to create a comprehensive American dialect dictionary, a near century-long undertaking that culminated in the publication of the Dictionary of American Regional English.[1] In 1889, when Joseph Wright began editing the English Dialect Dictionary, a group of American philologists founded the American Dialect Society with the ultimate purpose of producing a similar work for the United States.

Members of the Society began to collect material, much of which was published in the Society's journal Dialect Notes, but little was done toward compiling a dictionary recording nationwide usage until Frederic G. Cassidy was appointed Chief Editor in 1963.[5] The first volume of the Dictionary of American Regional English, covering the letters A-C, was published in 1985.[1] The other major project of the Society is the Linguistic Atlas of the United States and Canada.[4]

Membership[edit]

The Society has never had more than a few hundred active members. With so few scholars advancing the enterprise, the developments in the field came slowly.[4] Members of the organization include "linguists, lexicographers, etymologists, grammarians, historians, researchers, writers, authors, editors, professors, university students, and independent scholars."[6] Its activities include a mailing list,[7] which deals chiefly with American English but also carries some discussion of other issues of linguistic interest.[8]

Word of the Year[edit]

Since 1991, the American Dialect Society has designated one or more words or terms to be the word of the year. The New York Times stated that the American Dialect Society "probably started" the "word-of-the-year ritual".[9] However, the "Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache" (GfdS) announces a word of the year since 1977.

In addition, the ADS has chosen its "Word of the 1990s" ('web'), "Word of the 20th Century" ('jazz'), and "Word of the Past Millennium" ('she'). The society also selects words in other categories that vary from year to year, such as "most original" or "most unnecessary" (or "most outrageous") and "most likely to succeed" (see: Word of the year).

A number of words chosen by the ADS are also on the lists of Merriam-Webster's Words of the Year.[10][11]

Words of the Year[edit]

Year Word Notes
1990 bushlips (similar to "bullshit" – stemming from President George H. W. Bush's 1988 "Read my lips: no new taxes" broken promise)
1991 The mother of all (as in Saddam Hussein's foretold "Mother of all battles")
1992 Not! (meaning "just kidding")
1993 information superhighway
1994 cyber, morph (to change form)
1995 Web and (to) newt (to act aggressively as a newcomer).[12][13]
1996 mom (as in "soccer mom").[14][15]
1997 millennium bug [16][17]
1998 e- (as in "e-mail").[18][19]
1999 Y2K [20][21]
2000 chad (from the 2000 Presidential Election controversy in Florida).[22][23]
2001 9-11 [24][25]
2002 weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) [26][27]
2003 metrosexual [28][29]
2004 red state, blue state, purple state (from the 2004 presidential election).[30][31]
2005 truthiness popularized on The Colbert Report.[32][33]
2006 plutoed (demoted or devalued, as happened to the former planet Pluto).[9][34]
2007 subprime (an adjective used to describe a risky or less than ideal loan, mortgage, or investment).[6][35]
2008 bailout (a rescue by government of a failing corporation) [36]
2009 tweet (a short message sent via the Twitter service)[37]
2010 app [38]
2011 occupy (in reference to the Occupy movement)[39]
2012 hashtag [40]
2013 because (introducing a noun, adjective, or other part of speech) [41]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Flexner, Stuart B. (December 15, 1985). "One language, highly divisible". The New York Times. Retrieved February 19, 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) (2012). "American Dialect Society". ACLS.org (www.acls.org). Retrieved February 7, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Constitution and Officers". Americandialect.org (American Dialect Society). 2012. Retrieved February 4, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c Auroux, Sylvain. History of the Language Sciences. Walter de Gruyter, 2006. p. 2366. ISBN 3-11-016736-0. 
  5. ^ Hall, Joan Houston (2004). "The Dictionary of American Regional English". In Finegan, Edward; Rickford, John. Language in the USA: Perspectives for the 21st Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 94–95. 
  6. ^ a b ""Subprime" voted 2007 word of the year". Americandialect.org (American Dialect Society). January 4, 2008. Retrieved February 19, 2008. 
  7. ^ "ADS-L: email discussion list". Americandialect.org (American Dialect Society). 2012. Retrieved February 2, 2012. 
  8. ^ Horn, Laurence (January 29, 2003). "Re: Canadians in ADS". ADS-L (listserv.linguistlist.org). Retrieved February 2, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Newman, Andrew Adam (December 10, 2007). "How Dictionaries Define Publicity: the Word of the Year". The New York Times. Retrieved February 19, 2008. 
  10. ^ Lea, Richard (November 30, 2009). "'Twitter' declared top word of 2009". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media Limited). Retrieved February 2, 2012. 
  11. ^ Merriam-Webster staff (2009). "Word of the Year 2009". Merriam-Webster Online (Merriam-Webster). Retrieved February 2, 2012. 
  12. ^ Ritter, Jim (December 31, 1995). "1995's Word Of the Year: Either `Web' – Or `Newt'". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved February 21, 2008. 
  13. ^ "1995 Words of the Year". Americandialect.org (American Dialect Society). January 13, 1996. Retrieved February 21, 2008. 
  14. ^ Associated Press (January 5, 1997). "Linguists pick 'soccer mom' as 1996's word". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved February 21, 2008. 
  15. ^ "1996 Words of the Year". Americandialect.org (American Dialect Society). January 13, 1997. Retrieved February 21, 2008. 
  16. ^ Smith, Sheron (January 10, 1998). "Word! 'Millennium Bug' is picked as top phrase of 1997". The Macon Telegraph. Retrieved February 21, 2008. 
  17. ^ "1997 Words of the Year". Americandialect.org (American Dialect Society). January 13, 1998. Retrieved February 21, 2008. 
  18. ^ Gallentine, Shana (January 21, 1999). "1998: Our society defined in just a few short words". The Red and Black. Retrieved February 21, 2008. 
  19. ^ "1998 Words of the Year". Americandialect.org (American Dialect Society). January 13, 1999. Retrieved February 21, 2008. 
  20. ^ Freeman, Jan (June 18, 2000). "Steal this coinage". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 21, 2008. 
  21. ^ "1999 Words of the Year, Word of the 1990s, Word of the 20th Century, Word of the Millennium". Americandialect.org (American Dialect Society). January 13, 2000. Retrieved February 21, 2008. 
  22. ^ Kershner, Vlae (December 11, 2002). "Help us choose the 'Word of the Year'". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved February 19, 2008. 
  23. ^ "2000 Words of the Year". Americandialect.org (American Dialect Society). January 13, 2001. Retrieved February 19, 2008. 
  24. ^ Scott, Janny (February 24, 2002). "A nation challenged: Language; Words of 9/11 Go From Coffee Shops To the Dictionaries". The New York Times. Retrieved February 19, 2008. 
  25. ^ "2001 Words of the Year". Americandialect.org (American Dialect Society). January 13, 2002. Retrieved February 19, 2008. 
  26. ^ Associated Press (January 6, 2003). "'W.M.D.' voted word of year". USA Today. Retrieved February 19, 2008. 
  27. ^ "2002 Words of the Year". Americandialect.org (American Dialect Society). January 13, 2003. Retrieved February 19, 2008. 
  28. ^ Newman, Andrew Adam (October 10, 2005). "In Time of Studied Ambiguity, a Label for the Manly Man". The New York Times. Retrieved February 19, 2008. 
  29. ^ "2003 Words of the Year". Americandialect.org (American dialect Society). January 13, 2004. Retrieved February 19, 2008. 
  30. ^ Associated Press (January 10, 2005). "Linguists' phrase of the year: 'Red state, blue state, purple state'". The Seattle Times. Retrieved February 19, 2008. 
  31. ^ "2004 Word of the Year". Americandialect.org (American Dialect Society). January 7, 2005. Retrieved February 19, 2008. 
  32. ^ Nash, Margo (April 9, 2006). "Jersey Footlights". The New York Times. Retrieved February 19, 2008. 
  33. ^ "Truthiness Voted 2005 Word of the Year". Americandialect.org (American Dialect Society). January 6, 2006. Retrieved February 8, 2008. 
  34. ^ "'Plutoed' Voted 2006 Word of the Year". Americandialect.org (American Dialect Society). January 5, 2007. Retrieved February 19, 2008. 
  35. ^ Mullen, Jim (January 23, 2008). "LOL – Subprime is delighted to be word of the year". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved February 19, 2008. 
  36. ^ "'Bailout' voted Word of the Year". Americandialect.org (American Dialect Society). 2009. 
  37. ^ Barrett, Grant (January 8, 2009). "Word of the Year". Americandialect.org. Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  38. ^ "'App' voted Word of the Year". Americandialect.org (American Dialect Society). 2011. 
  39. ^ "Word of the Year". Americandialect.org (American Dialect Society). 2012. 
  40. ^ “Hashtag” is the 2012 Word of the Year – American Dialect Society. Published 4 January 2013. Retrieved 12 May 2013.
  41. ^ "Because" is the 2013 Word of the Year – American Dialect Society. Published 3 January 2014. Retrieved 6 Jan 2014.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]