DARE Fieldwork Recordings.

Another amazing resource available online:

From 1965–1970, Fieldworkers for the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE) conducted interviews with nearly 3,000 “Informants” in 1,002 communities across America. They visited native residents in all fifty states and D.C., collecting local words, phrases, and pronunciations. In addition to answering more than 1,600 questions from the DARE Questionnaire, many of the Informants, along with auxiliary speakers, agreed to be recorded by the Fieldworkers. These recordings consisted of conversational interviews as well as readings of “The Story of Arthur the Rat” (devised to elicit the essential differences in pronunciation across the country). This fieldwork data provided invaluable regional information for the Dictionary of American Regional English Volumes I–VI (1985–2013) and Digital DARE.

The Fieldwork Recordings are finally available online approximately fifty years after the recordings were first made. The recordings contain American regional speech samples from all fifty states, but their value is not linguistic alone. The full interviews contain an abundance of oral history from the 1960s, with topics ranging from the making of moonshine to the moon landing; from light-hearted jokes, recipes, and songs to serious discussions about race relations, politics, and the Vietnam War. It is truly a time capsule of American voices.

Via MetaFilter, where commenters are being taken back to their childhoods:

There are two recordings from my small, rural, midwestern town from 1968. Listening to it, I am freaking out. The vowel sounds that I left behind, the vowel sounds I beat out of myself, are all there. Plus, I heard slang that that rang me like a bell; stuff I hadn’t heard since I was a little child.

I look forward to exploring it. (DARE previously on LH.)

Update (Aug. 2017). Sadly, DARE is apparently coming to an end as an ongoing project.


  1. While trying to search for something else entirely, I found a recording of Mohawk Dutch, which Wikipedia lists as being extinct and never recorded. Gotta love the internet sometimes.

  2. That link doesn’t work; maybe this one will? She recites a Mohawk Dutch lullaby at 4:45.

  3. David Marjanović says

    which Wikipedia lists as being extinct and never recorded.

    Why didn’t you correct it? Anyway, the lullaby is German with perhaps somewhat reduced grammar, one Dutch diminutive suffix (but the German version also occurs), one Dutch word, and the word “baby” from elsewhere.

    Update: I fixed it.

  4. We had a discussion of Dr. van Loon, who also supposedly learned Mohawk Dutch from his grandfather, back here.

  5. David Marjanović says

    First comment says regular Dutch “of old New York”…

  6. Thanks Lazar and David – it looks like my link was not the permalink. I did mention the recording on the talk page, but I guess that’s just an excuse for not knowing how I should have updated the main page.

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