It Looks Like A Woodstock 50th-Anniversary Festival Is Actually In The Works

first_imgThe iconic Woodstock Festival is due for a 50th-anniversary celebration in 2019, and it seems as though moves are being made by both the tentative festival grounds and the state of New York. As reported by The Poughkeepsie Journal, the not-for-profit Bethel Woods Center for the Arts—a 2,000-acre site that includes Woodstock’s original grounds in 1969—recently received $689,063 for a three-day festival from New York’s Regional Economic Development Council. This money comes in addition to $28,225, which will be used for on-site improvements, including a stage, sound towers, performers’ bridge, and scenic overlook on the famous festival grounds.Woodstock Site Added To National Register Of Historic PlacesThe state’s interest in helping ensure the success of such an event is bolstered by the economic growth and tourism it would bring to the area. However, as JamBase points out, it is still unclear whether Michael Lang—one of the leading organizers of the original Woodstock festival, Woodstock ’94, and the disastrous Woodstock ’99—will be involved. Given Woodstock ’99 primary reputation for the widespread accounts of violence and fire throughout the event, New York throwing money at improving infrastructure for a potential anniversary festival would be unsurprising and could be read as a means to ensure Woodstock ’19 doesn’t involve a similar fate.[H/T JamBase]last_img read more

How to speak American

first_imgDon’t let that slick salesman honeyfuggle you: A fancy bombazine will never hold up in this toad-strangler.Say what?Well, it’s certainly English, but few people these days refer to deceitful flattery as honeyfuggle. And unless you’re from Baltimore, you might not know that a bombazine is an umbrella, and only those from the Gulf region would call a sudden, heavy rainstorm a toad-strangler.Just as in England the mother tongue sometimes bears little resemblance to what is spoken in the United States, the provincial vocabularies and dialects of America’s small towns and big cities can sometimes sound like foreign languages to the uninitiated.Cataloging, decoding, and preserving the colorful idioms and terms used by regular folks before they’re lost to history, the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE) is an acclaimed scholarly text widely referenced by everyone from teachers and librarians to forensic linguists and oral historians.DARE, a project that took nearly 50 years to complete, includes 60,000 entries with not only the expected definitions and parts of speech, but alternate spellings and pronunciations, etymology, geographical origins, as well as synonyms from other areas of the country, quotations to illuminate word usage, and related bibliographies. Maps plot where a word is most often used, based upon the dictionary’s original field research.Soundbytes: Dictionary of American Regional EnglishDARE tape, 1965–70. Quotations from informants as recorded by DARE fieldworkers. Click “View track” above to see a written definition of each word.This week, Harvard University Press (HUP), which publishes DARE, debuts a digital version of the six-volume dictionary, delivering the quirky treasures of our plainspoken language to the laptops of researchers and word nerds everywhere.In addition to an array of advanced searches of the complete text entries, the online DARE offers 4,000 audio clips of words as spoken by those who used them, as well as detailed survey data, mapping functions, and broad demographic information compiled by dictionary researchers. Non-subscribers can sample 100 full entries, including maps and the relevant audio clips.In many ways, the dictionary challenges the conventional wisdom that the gumbo of American English has lost much of its local tang.“It’s a popular notion that American English has become ‘homogenized’ by the mobility of our population and the pervasiveness of national media, so I can understand why people like to believe it,” DARE’s editor in chief, Joan H. Hall, said in an email. “My view is that while language is always in the process of change, it doesn’t change in the same ways or at the same rate in all places. So yes, some local or regional terms may be displaced by terms that take hold nationwide, particularly through advertising, but thousands of others will continue to thrive in their localities, and new regional terms will appear as they fill particular niches.”Hall believes the dictionary helps to legitimize regional terms by putting them in front of a national audience.“DARE makes it clear that American English, while generally shared across the country, still has delightfully different flavors in different places, the result of differences in original settlement histories, later immigration patterns, economic and social differences, urban and rural character, etc. Their inclusion in a work like DARE can instill pride in the people who use them, knowing that they are reflections of our cultural history rather than indicators of backwardness or being out of step,” she said.Native tonguesAssembling an authoritative dictionary of everyday vernacular was no easy task, and the idea dates back more than a century. In the late 1880s, the American Dialect Society sought to create a comprehensive compilation of dialects spoken across the United States, just as linguist Joseph Wright was developing the now-definitive English Dialect Dictionary in England.But gathering information in a country vastly larger than England proved formidable, and the project languished for more than four decades until an English professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison got tired of waiting. Professor Frederic G. Cassidy started his own trial effort to catalog native dialects and published his findings in the society’s journal in 1953. Jolted by his initiative, the society formally pushed ahead with the nascent Dictionary of American Regional English, naming Cassidy — who later was known to exhort his staffers with “On to Z!” — as its editor in chief in 1962.Between 1965 and 1970, about 80 Wisconsin graduate students rumbled across the country in specially outfitted campers called “word wagons” to conduct face-to-face interviews with lifelong natives in roughly 1,000 communities about the everyday words they used for things such as food and household items and for concepts like money, religion, and marriage.In all, surveyors talked to 2,777 people who answered a 1,600-item questionnaire that took a week to complete, generating 2.3 million responses. Many of those surveyed also agreed to have their voices recorded as they spoke informally with the interviewers and read aloud a passage from the story “Arthur the Rat,” providing a rich trove of audio materials that capture regional, local, and personal syntax, pronunciations, lexicons, and inflections and allow for broad, contrasting analyses.HUP published the dictionary’s first volume, spanning entries A through C, in 1985. The final volume came out last year. A sixth, companion volume that includes supplementary maps that identify the words typifying a particular state or region and lists of the various responses that interviewees gave to survey questions was released last January.Researchers at UW-Madison announced last week that they will start a new round of surveys in those same Wisconsin communities to see how language has changed since the original fieldwork was done there nearly 50 years ago. That effort, to be done online, will be completed in 2015.Major new chapterMore than two years in the planning, the digital DARE marks “a major new chapter” in the dictionary’s history and has been eagerly anticipated by readers and librarians, HUP Director William P. Sisler said in a statement. The press plans to present the finished project to the American Library Association at its midwinter meeting next month.“We intellectually knew that they had a lot of great data and it would be really interesting to do this, but it’s really come out better than we could have hoped,” said Emily Arkin, HUP’s senior editor for digital publication development.The appeal of argot is far broader than one might expect for a specialty dictionary.“There’s certainly a more scholarly audience of people who are lexicographers, dictionary specialists, or linguists. But we also find that it’s really popular for the performing arts — the creative arts in general — and writing,” especially for playwrights, said Arkin.Because of the emphasis on mapping word origins and capturing obscure terminology, Arkin said DARE has been employed for a host of inquiries, such as helping detectives decipher ransom notes or giving families a vivid picture of how their forebears lived and spoke earlier in the 20th century.Even staffers long familiar with the project are frequently delighted by the rich distinctions of American speech.“We never get bored of looking at it,” said Arkin. “It’s so full of really interesting and fun words. We’re always discovering new things in it. ”last_img read more

Dornsife and LA Times release 2018 poll results

first_imgThe latest results from the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times public opinion poll, released on Friday, predict that Republicans will lose the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018.From Dec. 15 to Jan. 15, nearly 4,000 registered voters selected by USC’s Understanding America Study internet panel took online surveys. The poll, designed to predict voter attitudes, is the first in a nationwide series leading up to the Nov. 6 midterm elections. The results paint a bleak picture for Republicans. According to the poll, Trump’s approval rating is 32 percent — slightly lower than in most polls, which place him in the high 30s, but still problematic for the GOP.According to Director of the USC Unruh Institute of Politics Bob Shrum, Trump’s low favorability suggests Democrats could overtake Republicans in the midterm election. “If the elections were held now, Democrats would very likely capture the House,” Shrum said in a USC News release. “And if President Donald Trump’s favorability ratings don’t improve, history shows that’s what we can expect to happen in November.”The historical precedent for midterm elections after a president’s first year in office support Shrum’s prediction. Senior editor at Gallup News Jeffrey Jones believes that a low favorability rating like Trump’s would correlate with a 36-seat swing. “Since 1946, when presidents are above 50 percent approval, their party loses an average of 14 seats in the U.S. House in the midterm elections, compared with an average loss of 36 seats when presidents are below that mark,” Jones said in a Gallup News article. Given Trump’s approval rating, Republicans are predicted to lose around 36 seats. Democrats only need 24 to flip the House.Additionally, 51 percent of responders say that they would vote for a Democratic congressional candidate, as opposed to 40 percent for a Republican. More than 30 Republican congressmen have announced they won’t be running for reelection in November, making Democrats the heavily favored party.This could be an indication that voters are “ready to potentially punish the president,” Republican strategist Mike Murphy said to the Los Angeles Times.The poll also addressed 2020 presidential candidate favorites, whether women are still disadvantaged and the prevalence of racial discrimination. Results demonstrated that of the 10 proposed Democratic candidates, former vice president Joe Biden was the favorite. They also indicated that voters are ready for something different from previous candidates, such as Hillary Clinton.“Democrats have closed the Clinton chapter,” Shrum said. “People want to move on. I also think that when you look at the numbers, there’s an opening for someone new, not because they receive big numbers, but because no one is dominant in the poll.”Additionally, 60 percent of respondents agreed that obstacles remain for women’s rights. Similarly, the majority of people recognized racial discrimination, but by a smaller margin. According to the poll, 54 percent said “people not seeing discrimination where it really does exist” is more problematic than people seeing it “where it really does not exist,” when asked to choose between the two in the survey.According to Shrum, that number is unsatisfactory. He believes the issue of racial discrimination is obvious and that the problem lies in America accepting its own faults. “There’s always been this reluctance of the country to recognize a problem,” Shrum told USC News. “[This poll] tells you that a majority of the country, by an eight point margin, understands that there is still discrimination and it does hold people back.”last_img read more