Using This Site

As stated in the project description, we aim to create a venue where people can find information concerning morpho-syntactic differences among varieties of English spoken in North America. Our goal is to inform and inspire: to provide information about interesting syntactic differences among varieties of English, and to inspire scholars to study them.

This website is the first step toward our goal and consists of two components:

  1. A (partial) description of the areas of grammar that exhibit morpho-syntatic differences. This can be found under the link  "Phenomena." By clicking on Phenomena, a list of links will appear, each of which corresponds to a page that describes a syntactic phenomenon that characterizes one or more varieties of English spoken in North America.  Each page contains a brief description of the phenomenon, some sentences illustrating it, a list of bibliographical references, and a map that represents the geographical distribution of the examples discussed in the literature.  
  2. A database that contains sentences exemplifying the morpho-syntactic differences exhibited in North American English.  Below is some information to assist in browsing the database and applying filters to the example sentences.

Tutorial Video


While the maps embedded on this site can be used to browse the data in the database, more advanced searches are possible via Google Fusion Tables, where the database is stored.  The data can be filtered according to the properties explained below in the glossary using the Google Fusion Tables interface.  To do this, visit the fusion table for the project.   Select filtering under View > Filter, type in a filter (e.g. "Phenomenon = Positive Anymore" to view only examples of positive anymore), and click "Apply." More columns can be viewed by clicking the arrows in at the right of the header row, and more pages of data can be found by clicking "Next" on the upper right of the page.  The data can also be visualized as a map by selecting Visualize > Map. 


This database is comprised of example sentences taken from various papers, each with a series of categorizations.  Below is a list of the categories, their possible values, and their meanings.  If a source does not provide a given piece of information, the field is left blank in the database.

Phenomenon: the label given to the construction under investigation

Example: the example sentence from the original source

Date of Attestation: the most specific date the source provides for a given example

Nature of Attestation: This category differentiates between sentences that were naturally uttered in some form of discourse and sentences that were judged as grammatical by speakers in an area.

Comments: additional relevant information about an example that does not fall under any of our categories

Source: the origin of the example sentence, generally a citation for an article found in the references.

Region: the broad area where a sentence was found.  For now, this is usually a state in the USA.

Specific Locale: the most specific information a paper provided about the location of the attested sentence.  This can range anywhere from a part of a state (e.g. "southeastern Pennsylvania") to a county to a specific town.

Ethnicity: the speaker's ethnic group (e.g. Caucasian, African American), if specified by the source of the sentence

Gender: whether the speaker was male or female,  if specified by the source of the sentence

Variety: the "variety" or "dialect" that a given example falls under (e.g. "West Texas English," "Appalachian English"). We use the label provided by the source, even if the label is unique to a given paper.

Acceptability: the "grammaticality" of a sentence. Many papers provide interesting examples of unacceptable (or "ungrammatical") sentences, as well as questionable sentences. In addition to their acceptability categorizations, unacceptable sentences are preceded by an asterisk (*), and sentences whose acceptablility is unclear are preceded by a question mark (?).