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Lexicographer Among Famous Caribbean Americans

CaribWorldNews, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. June 12, 2009: A Caribbean American was among the editors who worked on the Dictionary of American Regional English.

Jamaican-born lexicographer and linguist, Frederic Gomes Cassidy immigrated to the U.S. with his family in 1919. He went on to attend Oberlin College and the University of Michigan where he obtained a PhD.

In 1939, he began a long teaching career at the University of Wisconsin and went on to serve as a fieldworker for the Linguistic Atlas of the U.S. survey.

In 1962 he was appointed editor of the American Dialect Society’s dictionary project, which has resulted in the monumental and ongoing Dictionary of American Regional English (Vol. 1, A–C, 1985; Vol. 2, D–H, 1991).

He also published two books on the language of his native Jamaica, Jamaica Talk: Three Hundred Years of the English in Jamaica (1961) and the Dictionary of Jamaican English (1967), while beginning work on the Dictionary of American Regional English.

The first volume of the dictionary appeared in 1985. At the time of Cassidy’s death in 2000, three volumes had been published, and work on a fourth was in progress.

This Caribbean American Heritage Month Feature Has Been Brought To You By Carib ID, The Movement To Get Caribbean National Accurately Counted And Their Own Category On The U.S. Census Form.