DARE…to Explore American Regional English

The library is currently running a trial of the online version of the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE). Note: trial is only available for patrons with a UW Colleges user name and password.

This dictionary “has long been consulted by a wide range of scholars and lovers of language and regional nuance. This digital version transforms the dictionary into an interactive, multimedia tool that will greatly benefit both scholarly inquiry and general intellectual curiosity.” (“About DARE”)

But more than that, it’s just plain cool.

If you’re looking for the mythical hodag, or just trying to decipher your uncle’s colorful expressions, DARE is the resource for you.

Hodag photo from flickr user (a href='http://www.flickr.com/photos/akahodag/976180714/sizes/o/'> )akahodag

Hodag photo from flickr user akahodag

Users can:

  • search for specific words or phrases
  • browse by state or region
  • scroll through the dictionary’s entries

Some word entries even have recordings, so users can hear people from across the country in their own regional dialect. Overwhelmed by choice? Go to the “How to use DARE” page to get search tips and information about what’s in a dictionary entry.

So…how many Wisconsin words do you recognize? Click here to see all the DARE entries specific to Wisconsin or the Upper Midwest.

When you’re done testing DARE, let us know what you think! You can submit feedback to the library over here.