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A Survey of Verb Forms in the Eastern United States, like the recent Word Geography of the Eastern United States by Hans Kurath, is an outgrowth of the Linguistic Atlas of the United States and Canada—an undertaking that can truly be called the first large-scale attempt to determine the facts of American linguistic usage by means of direct investigation. Atlas field records covering the entire Eastern United States and representing persons of varying degrees of sophistication have been made available to the writer, and have enabled him to trace not only the geographical spread but also the social distribution of the linguistic features that are treated.
This study, which confines itself to verb inflection, does more than differentiate "standard" from "vulgar" usages. It also demonstrates how the early culture centers and the principal migration areas are reflected in the dissemination of grammatical forms. Thus it makes clear that our "Vulgate" grammar, often thought to be uniform throughout the country, is in reality highly varied and regional in its character.