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[361] in dialect and excellence in the short story have been almost synonymous in American literature since the Civil War. They indicate also that dialect has been both an expression and a cause of the interstate knowledge and interstate sympathy that have linked the far separated sections of the United States into closer bonds of union and fellowship.

The resemblances, however, existing among the dialects of the different sections of the United States are so great, and the differences so slight, that one hesitates to call these speech peculiarities dialects at all. The reign of the newspaper, diffused educational facilities, increasing means of travel and transportation, together with the American passion for a standardized average of correctness, have checked the tendency to dialect that the colonists brought with them. The effort now making in England, through the Society for Pure English, to restore the old words and racy idioms that survive in the Cornish, Sussex, and Northumbrian dialects and thus to enrich and revitalize standard English, could hardly find imitation in this country, because there are no American dialects that offer corresponding rewards. The differences between the New England dialect, the Southern dialect, and the Western dialect, for example, are differences in pronunciation, in intonation, in stress, and slurring, not primarily in the loss or preservation of old words or old idioms. The speech of the mountain districts, especially that of the Southern Appalachian region, retains, it is true, a few words and locutions of old and honourable origin; but these are by no means numerous enough to be used for regenerative purposes on a large scale. Hit (it), holp (helped), ax (ask), afeard (afraid), fray (combat), fraction (as in Troilus and Cressida II, III, 107), antic (clown), humans (human beings), mought (might), Old Christmas (6 January), hone (yearn), tilth (agriculture), back a letter (address an envelope), and a few others may be heard in the mountains of Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky. But to affirm that in this dialect or in the dialect of any other part of the United States is to be found our best reservoir of fresh and vigorous English or our surest safeguard against slovenly pronunciation would be manifestly absurd.

While much remains to be done in accurately classifying American speech peculiarities, it needs no proof that the

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