To start a fire: The material effect on vocabulary

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This article offers a preliminary comparison of available data from three regional surveys of English: the Linguistic Atlas Project, the Survey of English Dialects, and the Linguistic Atlas of Scotland, taking as its focus the survey item 'kindling'. Intended as a pilot study, the following discussion highlights the benefts and challenges of combining data from these surveys. This study suggests that a comparison of atlas-style survey data would be productive and that these surveys, in addition to valuable information about variation in language, contain a great deal of cultural information. Finally, this article suggests that the 'kindling' data provide evidence of a "material effect"; in other words, the data suggest that physical surroundings have an influence on the vocabulary of different regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-339
Number of pages19
JournalAmerican Speech
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 by the American Dialect Society.


  • Language and material culture
  • Language variation
  • Linguistic atlas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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