Linguistic Atlas of the Western States


Originally Lee Pederson, now William A. Kretzschmar, Jr.

Status of field work:
In progress. Extensive field work is complete from Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming; a collection of interviews from El Paso, Texas, and from California have been conducted.

LAWS Objectives:
The primary goal of LAWS is to provide data on the speech of the American West by creating an inventory of regional and social markers. The work extends beyond traditional Atlas dialectology in that all facets of the interview are recorded, rather than just target items, offering scholars the opportunity to examine not only pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar, but discourse as well.

Areas covered in the LAWS grid:
Two-hundred-eighty units for research in the western states, including fifty-five in the Middle Rockies: Wyoming (fifteen), Colorado (twenty-eight) and Utah (twenty-two). It began in 1988 with the organization of the Wyoming grid, which identified Wyoming counties for fieldwork and provided a model for establishing grid divisions in Colorado and Utah.

Nature of recordings:
LAWS interviews have been conducted in Wyoming by Michael Madsen, in Utah by Madsen and several of his students, and in Colorado, where interviews were conducted by David Newton in 1990 and subsequent fieldwork was conducted by Josephine Preston, Meredith Barna, and Lamont Antieau. Fieldwork has also been conducted in West Texas (by Anne Marie Hamilton) and California (by Allyn Partin); future work will include additional interviews in these states, as well as in Montana, Idaho, New Mexico, Arizona, Oregon, and Washington. The interviews that have been conducted were recorded on audio cassette tapes in analog form and are currently being digitized for archival and distribution purposes at the Linguistic Atlas Project office.

LAWS protocols:
As with the LAGS project, the protocol is the central research tool. Unlike LAGS protocols, LAWS texts are complete records of interviews, organized as prompts and responses, ordered as numbered exchanges, and cued to worksheet references, with all worksheet items entered in ABC notation.

Materials are archived in the Special Collections repository of the Library, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602.For access to original materials, contact the Linguistic Atlas Project office.

Selective bibliography:

Antieau, Lamont D. 2006. A Distributional Analysis of Rural Colorado English. University of Georgia dissertation.

Cook, Stanley J. 1969. Language Change and the Emergence of an Urban Dialect in Utah. University of Utah dissertation.

Hamilton-Brehm, Anne Marie. 2003. A Foundational Sample of El Paso English. University of Georgia dissertation.

Hankey, Clyde T. 1960. "A Colorado Word Geography." In Publications of the American Dialect Society 34. University: University of Alabama Press.

Kimmerle, Marjorie, Raven I. McDavid, Jr., and Virginia G. McDavid. 1951. "Problems of Linguistic Geography in the Rocky Mountain Area." Western Humanities Review 5:249-64.

O'Hare, Thomas. 1965. The Linguistic Geography of Eastern Montana. University of Texas dissertation.

Pederson, Lee. 1987. "LAWCU Project Worksheets." Journal of English Linguistics 24:52-60.

Pederson, Lee. 1996. "LAMR/LAWS and the Main Chance." Journal of English Linguistics 24:234-49.

Pederson, Lee, and Michael W. Madsen. 1989. "Linguistic Geography in Wyoming." Journal of English Linguistics 22:17-24.

Atlas Projects









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