Soda, Pop, or Coke? Who Says What in America
I just found a site that could waste a whole lot of my time (thanks a lot, Sharon!). It shows how people across the United States use and pronounce words differently from one another. Living on the East Coast, I have always referred to soft drinks as soda. My friends from the Midwest, however, call it pop. Parts of the deep south refer to all soft drinks as coke. Apparently no one really calls them soft drinks.
But most of us know at least something of this. But wait, there’s more!
Joshua Katz, a Ph.D. student in linguistics at North Caroline State University recently published a fascinating set of maps illustrating the findings of a dialect survey by Professor Bert Vaux and Scott Golder.
I discovered the site through an article in Business Insider, but there’s lots more on the original site. You can even search for particular cities to see local survey results (59.1% of my hometown says soda, 23.1 says coke, 9.9 says soft drink, and only 7.9 call it pop.)
Here are some tidbits I’ve learned:
- Almost everybody pronounces aunt identically with ant. Only around Massachusetts is aunt most often pronounced ahnt. In parts of Minnesota, North and South Dakota it’s about 50-50.
- People call a long sandwich with cold cuts a sub. Unless you live in Philadelphia. Only there is it a hoagie. Folks down in Louisiana call it a po-boy some, but even there, sub is still most common.
- In Philadelphia, New York City, and New Jersey, they pronounce syrup see-rup. Everyone else says sir-rup.
- The South and East Coast (except for South Jersey and Delaware) pronounce caramel with three syllables. The rest of the country prefers two.
- There are four different popular ways to pronounce pecan. PEE-can in New England and eastern Virginia, North and South Carolina. PEE-kahn in northern Michigan and Minnesota. Pick-AHN along much of the Mississippi, Oklahoma, and northeast Texas. Everybody else prefers pee-KAHN.
- Ya’ll is the preferred 2nd person plural pronoun from Virginia to Texas. Kentucky leans toward you all. On the northern border of these states, they use the technically correct you. The rest of the country, including south Florida, most often says you guys.
There’s much more. I invite you to check it out. Below is a little sampling.
Ya’ll please leave your comments below, hear?