Education: Blind Tigers and Manniporchia

A new dictionary collects the raw nuggets of American speech

In the world of Frederic Cassidy, ABC is anything but simple. Cassidy, 77, demonstrated that last week when Belknap/Harvard University Press published the first volume (A-C) of his unique Dictionary of American Regional English, its 1,056 pages bulging with bits of vernacular from A, as in a-coming, to czezski, the word around old Chicago for a Czech or Bohemian (also butchsky). In its scope and thoroughness, Cassidy's dictionary is unmatched as a kind of refuge for colloquialisms threatened with extinction, largely by the homogenizing influence of television.

From scattered western literature, for example, Cassidy has gleaned the definition of an Arizona...

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