In an article on the shortfall of DARE's budget, Time calls the Dictionary of American Regional English at the University of Wisconsin "one of that school’s greatest contributions to American history." By now, most DSNA members have probably already heard that this summer the DSNA budget will have fallen to 20% of the previous annual budgets.
Perhaps the "logic" of shrinking the DARE budget is a legacy of the era of print publishing, when (supposedly) the completion of print volumes sometimes meant the dissolution of the editorial offices. But in the digital era it is vital to keep dictionaries current on a real-time basis--it's not as though DARE has nothing more to contribute. While DARE represents a "monumental work of scholarship"--as the Allan Metcalfe's recent Lingua Franca blog in the Chronicle of Higher Education describes it--DARE should not be allowed to fade into the status of a monument to past labors. There remains a great deal of good work to be done on a continuing basis.
So, what is to be done? Here are a few suggestions:
- Make a donation to DARE at their website here: http://dare.wisc.edu/contact/donate
- Make a crowdsourcing donation to DARE here: http://www.gofundme.com/qjfsgs
- Write a letter to Governor Scott Walker, 115 East, State Capitol, Madison, WI 53702, perhaps explaining why depriving DARE of funding could reflects badly on the state.
- Telephone the governor's office--the number is 608-266-1212.
- Use the Contact Us web page to send the governor a message; here's the link: http://walker.wi.gov/contact-us
- Write to University of Wisconsin Chancellor Rebecca M. Blank. Her address is 161 Bascom Hall, 500 Lincoln Drive, Madison, WI 53706, and her email address is email@example.com
- Take a look at Katy Steinmetz's excellent Time article, "Preserving American Language Is Worth Paying For."
- Allan Metcalfe's Lingua Franca blog, "Requiem for a Dictionary? or Life Support?"
- Mark Johnson's Milwaulkee Journal-Sentinel report, "End near for Dictionary of American Regional English?"
- Wisconsin Public Radio's March 30 report, "Dictionary Of Regional American English Could Soon Shut Down Its Work" and March 31 report, "There's Still Plenty To Learn About Regional English, Says Dictionary Editor."
- Ben Zimmer's April 1 Language Log blog entry, "Another SOS for DARE.
- Dave Wilkins's April 8 Wordorigins blog, "Dare needs your support."