Request for Historical Dialect Information.

A reader writes:

I’m looking for words and phrases used on the colonial American frontier circa 1772 among the working classes and Scots-Irish farmers, say in the western Pennsylvania/Ohio area. Do you have any links for this? I’m reading the Hervey Allen books (written in 1940s) about life in Bedford in 1763 but that’s about as close as I can come to finding a dialect for that time.

I don’t have any links or information about this, but I’m hoping some of my readers do.

Comments

  1. Jim (another one) says:

    I wonder about the use of “call” to mean “right, prerogative” as in “You’ve got no call to……” I seem to remember but can’t find now that it is related to a word in Irish/Scottish that means “claim”.

    Another is the use of “cared’ as in “One day you will be cared to realize…” I saw it in an old Temptations song that I particularly love and I assume it has to be an old Southernism.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uko8Oa_ZdYI

    http://www.metrolyrics.com/youll-lose-a-precious-love-lyrics-temptations.html

  2. I wonder about the use of “call” to mean “right, prerogative” as in “You’ve got no call to……” I seem to remember but can’t find now that it is related to a word in Irish/Scottish that means “claim”.

    The OED1 (1888) isn’t very explicit, but definition 8a seems to fit: ‘a requirement of duty; a duty, need, occasion, right’. I would guess that it comes from “the call [summons] of duty”. Here are the citations:

    1704 Clarendon’s Hist. Rebellion III. xiv. 377 He assured them..‘that they had a very lawful Call to take upon them the supreme Authority of the Nation’.

    1719 D. Defoe Life Robinson Crusoe 275 What Call? What Occasion? much less, What Necessity I was in to go.

    1779 J. Moore View Society & Manners France (1789) I. xvi. 124 There was no Call for his interfering in the business.

    1858 Thackeray Virginians xxii, I don’t know what call she had to blush so when she made her curtsey.

  3. Jim (another one) says:

    John. that’s the most parsimonious explanation. The other is plausible but not calls for more steps. Not many Scotch-Irish immigrants came from Gaelic-speaking backgrounds of any kind.

  4. The Dictionary of American Regional English includes historical sources; and maps and other ways to search by region I think.

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