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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

From ‘Squeaky Cheese’ To ‘Zydeco,’ Dictionary Celebrates Regional Terms

(Dr. Marcus Gossler)

Today we pour a snit of beer into our whimmy-diddle to celebrate the release of the fifth volume of the Dictionary of American Regional English!

So stop your riftin’ so we can talk about the 60,000 words and phrases that help define what it means to be an American – and how our colorful language varies depending on where we live.

Joan Houston Hall, chief editor of the Dictionary of American Regional English, tells Here & Now‘s Robin Young that there are a range of words to describe something as simple as the rolls of fuzz collecting under the bed.

“They are dust kitties in the Northeast, while they are commonly dust bunnies in the Midwest, house moss in the South, and woolies in Pennsylvania. Also — curds, fooskies, ghost manure, gollywogs, reebolees,” she said.

And what is a zydeco anyway? It’s a kind of dance party or a style of dance music featuring accordian, fiddle or banjo, associated with Louisiana Creole culture, according to the new dictionary.

Quiz: Test Your Regional Vocabulary

Guest:

  • Joan Houston Hall, chief editor of the Dictionary of American Regional English

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