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One of the most important and characteristic forms of human behavior in any culture is language, and the study of languages has always had its place in academia. Until recently, however, descriptive linguistics had not come into its own--not until each of the social sciences began encountering language problems within its domain.

The Linguistic Atlas of the Gulf States (LAGS) provides graduate and undergraduate researchers in linguistics, folklore, and the history of the Southern states with descriptive data gathered from field interviews conducted by linguistic researchers over the last decade. The project is comparable to major studies conducted for other regions of the United States and covers the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas.

With this unique microform collection, researchers will be able to use the data for cultural and sociolinguistic studies with all of the graphic evidence of Gulf States speech before the analyses are made, the dialects are described, and the maps are drawn.

Four major categories are included in this collection:


  • A Manual for Dialect Research in the Southern States (245 pages) describes the research methodology and the interviewing format used for the project.
  • Identification tables (300-500 pages) that provide data on the people interviewed and on community networks.
  • Idiolect Synopses (1,118 pages) summarize in phonetic transcription the unique findings of each interview and highlight the dialect variances related to specific word groups and concepts.
  • Protocols (126,000 pages) present phonetic transcriptions of each of the 1,118 field interviews arranged on coded sheets that identify the question group.

The LAGS Concordance--in 1987 UMI® released the Concordance to the Linguistic Atlas of the Gulf States project. This computer-generated microfiche is distributed jointly by UMI and the University of Georgia Press.

The Concordance converts phonetic strings into orthographic strings and serves as the central reference within the Atlas design. It provides researchers with an exhaustive record of all protocol texts permuted at word level, the substance of the general index, and the word lists for the legendry.

A series of working papers provides preliminary results of dialectical research using the interview data from the LAGS project.

The research for this collection was based at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and was supported primarily by funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Lee Pederson served as editor. This singular collection helps fill a gap in research materials for linguists.

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