Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Allan A. Metcalf  

Pen Name: Allan Metcalf


Audience: Adult;

Born: 1940 in Clayton, Missouri

-- Website --
-- Allan A. Metcalf on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Allan Metcalf grew up in Chicago's Hyde Park.

Biographical and Professional Information

Allan Metcalf is Professor of English at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois. He earned a B.A. from Cornell University and M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Since 1981, Metcalf has been executive secretary of the American Dialect Society, a national scholarly association for the study of American English, past and present.

Published Works

  • Poetic Diction in the Old English Meters of Boethius, Mouton, 1973
  • Language in Education: Theory and Practice Chicano English, Center for Applied Linguistics, 1979
  • Writing to the Point, Six Basic Steps, Harcourt Brace Jovanovick, 1987
  • An Index by Region, Usage and Etymology to the Dictionary of American Regional English, Volumes I and II, University of Alabama Press, 1993 - written with Luanne Von Schneidemesser
  • Research to the Point, Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1995
  • Essentials of Writing to the Point, Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1995
  • America in So Many Words, Words That Have Shaped America, Houghton Mifflin, 1997 - written with David K. Barnhart
  • The World in So Many Words, Houghton Mifflin, 1999
  • How We Talk, American Regional English Today, Houghton Mifflin, 2000
  • Predicting New Words, The Secrets of Their Success, Houghton Mifflin, 2002
  • Presidential Voices, Houghton Mifflin, 2004
  • OK: The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word, Oxford University Press, 2010

Selected Titles At Your Library

Chicano English /
ISBN: 0872811077. OCLC Number:

Center for Applied Linguistics,. Arlington, Va. :. ©1979.

Writing to the point /
ISBN: 0974407194. OCLC Number:

Birch Grove Publishing,. Roseville, MN :. ©2008.

An Index by region, usage, and etymology to the Dictionary of American regional English, volumes I and II.
ISBN: 0817306943. OCLC Number:

Published for the Society by the University of Alabama Press,. Tuscaloosa :. ©1993.

Research to the point /
ISBN: 0155014811. OCLC Number:

Harcourt Brace College Publishers,. Fort Worth :. ©1995.

Essentials of writing to the point /
ISBN: 0155017098. OCLC Number:

Harcourt Brace College Publishers,. Fort Worth, TX :. ©1995.

America in so many words :
ISBN: 0618002707. OCLC Number:

Houghton Mifflin,. Boston :. ©1997.

In chronological order, Barnhart and Metcalf give the history and usage of words and phrases that Americans have added to the English language, from canoe and skunk in the 1500s to soccer mom, Ebonics, and millennium bug in the 1990s.

The world in so many words :
ISBN: 0395959209. OCLC Number:

Houghton Mifflin,. Boston :. ©1999.

An international tour of words that have shaped the English language explores the etymology of words such as paradise, siesta, geyser, justice, tattoo, and zombie.

How we talk :
ISBN: 0618043624. OCLC Number:

Houghton Mifflin,. Boston :. ©2000.

"Not everyone knows it, but everyone speaks some form of regional dialect, and everyone has some kind of accent. But what are the accents of American English? Where do its regional dialects begin and end? What sorts of quirks and variations can be expected in particular localities? Language researcher Allan Metcalf answers these and many other questions in this entertaining and informative look at our language today. Moving region by region, and state by state, Metcalf identifies key features that give American regional speech its distinctive character and expressiveness. Join Metcalf on his tour of America's linguistic landscape, and be ready to be surprised at how much you didn't know about your native tongue."--Jacket.

Predicting new words :
ISBN: 061813008X. OCLC Number:

Houghton Mifflin,. Boston :. ©2002.

Examines the phenomenon of new word creation, offering criteria for predicting the success of new words and including the American Dialect Society's listing of words of the year from 1991 to 2001.

Presidential voices :
ISBN: 0618443746. OCLC Number:

Houghton Mifflin,. Boston :. ©2004.

OK :
ISBN: 0195377931. OCLC Number:

Oxford University Press,. Oxford ;. 2011.

It is said to be the most frequently spoken (or typed) word on the planet, more common than an infant's first word ma or the ever-present beverage Coke. It was even the first word spoken on the moon. It is "OK"--The most ubiquitous and invisible of American expressions, one used countless times every day. Yet few of us know the secret history of OK--how it was coined, what it stood for, and the amazing extent of its influence. Allan Metcalf, a renowned popular writer on language, here traces the evolution of America's most popular word, writing with brevity and wit, and ranging acro.



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