Cowboy Dialect in Print

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Cowboy Dialect in Print

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It is very dificult to know how people spoke in an earlier time. We have few recordings of speakers of another era. I find it interesting to look at how fiction writers choose to represent those who lived earlier. I have found it particularly interesting to see how the speech of cowboys is represented in print. I am interested particularly in the works of four writers and have studied their representation of cowboy speech: Elmer Kelton, O. Henry, Will James, and Andy Adams. I plan to place here examples of cowboy speech which I have selected and categorized from these writers along with some commentary I have provided about that speech.

Two Editors' Comments on Representing Cowboy Speech in Print

Some General Characteristics of Printed Cowboy Talk

Not Hobbling Their Lips: Andy Adams' Use of Cowboy Dialect

 

Home of Dick Heaberlin Writes

Orange House Books

A Cavalcade of Oilfield Novels

Fountain Wells: Oilfield Novels of Ontario, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia

Gushers: Oilfield Novels of Texas

Poetry Collections

Trotting With the Fox

My Writing Guides

English Syntax:
A Guide to the Grammar of Successful Writers

Writing Style 1

Connecting for Coherence:
A Guide to Building Sentences With Syntax And Logic

Writing Style 2

Purposeful Punctuation:
A Syntactic Guide to English Punctuation

Writing Style 3

Word Wisdom:
A Guide to Selecting Words
for Writers and Editors—Writing Style 4

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Dick Heaberlin's Website
at Texas State University

Center for the Study of the Southwest at Texas State University

Southwest Regional Humanities Center at Texas State University
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