Sunday, November 13, 2016

Speaking American

Speaking American: How Y'all, Youse, and You Guys Talk: A Visual Guide. Josh Katz. 2016. Hougton Mifflin Harcourt. 224 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Drawing on work from the Dictionary of American Regional English, the Harvard Dialect Survey, and suggestions from friends and family, in the fall of 2013, I set out to develop an online survey to gather date on how Americans talk. The maps that follow are a product of that survey--which collected more than 350,000 unique responses. Enjoy.

Premise/plot: This one is a VISUAL GUIDE to "American" English. Expect maps, maps, and more maps. It is divided into five sections: "How We Live," "What We Eat," "How We Sound," "Where We Go," and "Things We See." Sprinkled throughout the book, there are special profiles for different cities and states. Unfortunately, none of them focus on Texas.

There is plenty of information in this one though. It has plenty of 'did you know' facts to delight skimmers and readers.

For example, 28% of the U.S. says "Y'all;" 10% say "You all;" 10% say "You;" 50% say "You guys;" and less than 1% say "Yins." (30% of people in Pittsburgh would say YINS).

For example, 17% say "Coke," 59% say "Soda," 18% say "Pop," 6% say "Soft drink."

My thoughts: This one was interesting--intriguing--for the most part. It was a very fast read. But I'm not sure how thorough and complete it is. I think it is still missing some gems. This one doesn't really focus on unique phrases and how locals talk in different regions. It's more comparing/contrasting. Like TRASH CAN OR GARBAGE CAN, SNEAKERS OR TENNIS SHOES.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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