The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture - Vol. 5

By Michael Montgomery; Ellen Johnson | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

New York City and Los Angeles may claim to have speakers of more different languages today, but historically no section of the country has been more linguistically diverse than the American South. No other region can—or ever could—rival its many recognizable varieties of English, and English is only one part of the region’s linguistic fabric, as this volume seeks to show. Few volumes of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture will be newer in more ways than this one. It has grown from the 26 entries of the “Language” section of the first Encyclopedia of Southern Culture to 67 entries here. In reviewing the earlier edition, the editors soon realized how much additional material could be—indeed, must be—tapped if the region’s linguistic richness was to be reflected adequately. Thus, coverage of language topics and themes now takes a much more inclusive and wide-ranging view of the South and its many languages and language varieties. In addition to all the new entries, earlier ones have been updated, with only two or three exceptions.

The overview takes a broad, chronological look at the many languages and varieties that have been spoken in the southern states, beginning with the indigenous languages (e.g., Natchez and Yuchi) or language families (e.g., Muskogean, Algonquian, and Iroquoian) that were here when Europeans arrived. Some of these languages are still spoken today, but many are not. The overview then surveys the languages brought by Europeans and discusses the input of African cultures into southern ways of speaking.

In addition to entries on indigenous language families and individual languages, this volume includes an essay on the phenomenon of trade languages, which were used to communicate widely in multilingual areas and settings. From one entry on native languages in the first edition, coverage has grown to 11. Entries about other non-English languages (e.g., French and Spanish) have been expanded to reflect up-to-date research, and new entries show the cultural impact of recent immigration (e.g., Immigrant Languages, Recent, and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Language contact and borrowing are themes encountered in many entries, evidence that the multilingualism of the South has been both a historical and a modern-day reality. An important innovation has been to recognize emigration out of as well as immigration into the South and the linguistic consequences of such movement. Expatriate vari-

-xvii-

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The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture - Vol. 5
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents ix
  • General Introduction xi
  • Introduction xvii
  • Language in the South 1
  • Index of Contributors 213
  • Index 215
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