Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
from sea to shining sea

From Sea to Shining Sea

American Varieties
Social scientists estimate the number of varieties of American English range from a basic three - New England, Southern and Western/General America - to 24 or more. Some researchers suggest the number is actually much higher.

Standard American?
Exactly what is this and where is it spoken? Hint: Some experts say Standard American is completely imaginary.

Official American
Half the countries of the world have an official language. The United States isn't one of them.

The Power of Prose
"Voice" writers have helped break down social stereotypes and empower generations of readers since the time of Melville and Twain.

texas ranchers

Suggested Reading/Additional Resources

  • American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) Founded in 1977, the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) is a professional organization of scholars who are interested in and actively contribute to the multi-disciplinary field of applied linguistics.
  • Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) CAL is a private, non-profit organization that uses the findings of linguistics and related sciences to identify and address language-related problems.
  • Modern Language Association (MLA) Founded in 1883 by teachers and scholars, the Modern Language Association promotes the study and teaching of language and literature.
  • National Humanities Alliance (NHA) The National Humanities Alliance (NHA) is an advocacy organization that monitors and supports national policy, programs and legislation that impact work in the humanities.
  • Society for Pidgin and Creole Linguistics (SPCL) This society studies pidgin and creole languages world-wide.
  • Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Founded in 1966, Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL),  works to ensure excellence in English language teaching to speakers of other languages.
  • Bauer, L., & Trudgill, P. (Eds.). Language Myths, New York: Penguin, 1998.
  • Christian, D. Reflections of Language Heritage: Choice and Chance in Vernacular English Dialects, 2000.
  • Preston, D. R. (Ed.).  American Dialect Research, Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 1993.
  • Wiley, T. G. Literacy and Language Diversity in the United States, Washington, DC and McHenry, IL: Center for Applied Linguistics and Delta Systems, 1996.
  • Wolfram, W. Incorporating Dialect Study into the Language Arts Class. ERIC Digest, Washington, DC: ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics, 1990.
  • Wolfram, W., & Schilling-Estes, N.  American English: Dialects and Variation, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1998.
  • Wolfram, W., Adger, C. T., & Christian, D. Dialects in Schools and Communities, Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 1999.

Sponsored by:

National Endowment for the Humanities Hewlett Foundation Ford Foundation   Arthur Vining Davis Foundations Carnegie Corporation

National Endowment
for the Humanities

William and Flora Hewlett
Foundation

Ford
Foundation

Rosalind P.
Walter

Arthur Vining
Davis Foundations

Carnegie
Corporation of New York