Resistance is futile: Everyone in America must take the NYT’s dialect quiz

posted at 1:00 pm on December 24, 2013 by Allahpundit

I held out for a few days as this thing supernova’d on Twitter and Facebook but capitulation was a matter of time. How viral is it? On the NYT’s page of most popular stories, the dialect quiz is the most e-mailed, the most blogged, and the most tweeted. As I write this, the list of the 10 keywords most frequently searched on the site has “dialect” at number one, “how y’all” at number two (the quiz is titled “How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk”), “youse” at number four, “you” at number six, “quiz” at number seven, and “language” at number eight. When I loaded the quiz this morning, it came with a little virtual post-it note that read “We are currently experiencing many requests, so the quiz may be slow to generate your personal map.” It’s no sweat to find a message like that at Healthcare.gov, but at the NYT? Good lord. Bottom line: If you’re one of the precious few who hasn’t submitted yet, you will. You will.

The magic is simple. Hundreds of thousands of people were polled on a few dozen well-chosen questions — e.g., do you say “soda,” “pop,” or something else, do you pronounce “aunt” as “ant” or “awnt,” etc. The result is a granular map of American dialects capable of detecting with surprising accuracy where a person grew up based on the colloquialisms they use. Even better, every answer you give generates a dialect map for that question so you can see where the regional boundary lines fall. Some of those are predictable, like “y’all” being a southern thing or “pa-jahm-as” versus “pa-jam-as” being an east/west thing. Others, however, are patchwork and bizarre. Here’s what turned up when I chose “sunshower” as the word to describe the phenomenon of rain falling while the sun is out:

sunsh

It’s a northeast thing, and northeastern transplants apparently brought it to Florida. But … what’s going on in Minnesota? I didn’t even know that it rained there. After reading Ed and James Lileks for years, I thought the only weather options were sunny and two feet of snow.

The viral genius of the quiz is that it lets you auto-post your personal dialect map to Twitter or Facebook once you’re done, which makes it the perfect mix of narcissism and pop-sociological conversation tinder for social media. It looks to me (after taking it three times) like there are around 35 questions total, only 25 of which are randomly chosen and asked of the user in each session. That’s part of the fascination too — how little the widget needs to know before it can peg you. My hunch, in fact, is that it could have guessed that I’m from New York in half the number of questions, if not fewer. According to the maps, calling the shoes you wear in gym class “sneakers” is an exclusively northeastern practice. From there, it’s just a matter of refining where in the northeast: If you say “hero” to describe a submarine sandwich and pronounce “Mary,” “merry,” and “marry” slightly differently, odds are good that you’re from the Big Apple. Let me know in the comments, though, if your results were less accurate; I suspect it’s easy to peg a New Yorker based on a few select figures of speech but harder to guess for someone who grew up in a small town in the midwest, say. Lefty blogger Kevin Drum took the quiz and says it initially got the right state but the wrong part. He’s from southern California, not northern, although that misfire appears to be the product of one ambivalent answer he gave. When he answered that same question differently when retaking it, it guessed correctly with pinpoint accuracy.

Anyway, here you go. Enjoy.


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Lefty blogger Kevin Drum took the quiz and says it initially got the right state but the wrong part. He’s from southern California, not northern, although that misfire appears to be the product of one ambivalent answer he gave. When he answered that same question differently when retaking it, it guessed correctly with pinpoint accuracy.

I’m SoCal. Took it 3 times with slight changes and all 3 results were the same:

Fresno
St Louis
Salt Lake City

WTF.

peski on December 24, 2013 at 1:04 PM

It identified me as being from Mesa, AZ (where I live) or Scottsdale or Chandler (the two adjacent suburbs). Looking at the map, the other non-Arizona dark red region of the map was Michigan, where my parents are from.

ExJon on December 24, 2013 at 1:04 PM

I must come from a diverse background; I was born and grew up in northeastern Ohio but the map placed me as from Omaha, Minneapolis or San Fransisco.

meci on December 24, 2013 at 1:05 PM

I’ve lived in Los Angeles my entire life. This thing tells me I speak like somebody from Boise or Spokane.

Mark1971 on December 24, 2013 at 1:05 PM

If everyone has to do it then I’m not doing it.

vityas on December 24, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Got me in the correct state.

lowandslow on December 24, 2013 at 1:07 PM

I think the Blaze may have had something like this up earlier this year. At any rate, it only confirmed what I knew: I live in Minnesota. And yes, we do say “Sunshower” – at least, the folks who have a word for it do.

Othniel on December 24, 2013 at 1:08 PM

I did this last night. My highest match was in the north central FL area. Odd since I’ve only spent a grand total of six months there back in 1986.

I attribute it to being a Navy brat and then being in the Navy myself. I’m from nowhere.

Charlemagne on December 24, 2013 at 1:09 PM

I ain’t doin’ it! [spits; scratches red neck and other body parts].

2ndMAW68 on December 24, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Well, they got the three cities that were always listed as the service area for the TV stations where I grew up.
Although, I thought everyone used “carmle” for a hard candy and “cair-a-mel” for the liquid topping, though the map was all blue for that answer.

Count to 10 on December 24, 2013 at 1:13 PM

Resistance is futile

Maybe for a candy-a$$ CINO that lives in New York city it is. Never heard of it before you posted it. What does number in hits mean? 10 million? We are 200 million adults, after all. Sounds like an ObamaCare success story.

NotCoach on December 24, 2013 at 1:13 PM

I grew up in SoCal and lived there until I was 34, and had a Southern GF back in the day that I dated for more than two years (her family was Southern, anyway). I figured that my speech pattern wouldn’t fit into any particular parameter, but it pegged me as a Twin City resident.

Ed Morrissey on December 24, 2013 at 1:14 PM

They got this Lawn Guy-lander just right. But then it is New Yawk.

bobs1196 on December 24, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Southern, naturally. :D

My cities: Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Chattanooga. Apparently, my use of the term “Yard Sale” (both NC cities) and the way I pronounce “lawyer” did it for me.

ladyingray on December 24, 2013 at 1:15 PM

Impressive, to say the least.

Although, to be fair, the hoagie question was a dead giveaway…

JohnGalt23 on December 24, 2013 at 1:15 PM

Dark red Hawaii. Correct.

pat on December 24, 2013 at 1:15 PM

It says I’m from Alabama. I’ve never lived anywhere near there. I was born in Kentucky and live in the Carolinas. Interestingly enough it seems to base that on my use of the term “service road”.

HotAirian on December 24, 2013 at 1:15 PM

It says I talk like I’m from the South. I’ve been there once, and I had trouble understanding what anybody was saying. ?!?

ElectricPhase on December 24, 2013 at 1:17 PM

It says I’m from Alabama. I’ve never lived anywhere near there. I was born in Kentucky and live in the Carolinas. Interestingly enough it seems to base that on my use of the term “service road”.

Yeah, I think some of these answers are so specific to a particular area that the widget automatically places you there if, by whatever quirk, you’ve happened to pick them up. Like I said in the post, Drum’s results were a misfire based on a single answer. I was an easy guess, I think, purely because of “hero.” The map for that is basically New York City and nowhere else.

Someone who’s traveled around the country extensively and picked up turns of phrase from different areas would be impossible to place, I bet.

Allahpundit on December 24, 2013 at 1:18 PM

page locked up and when it recovered I was back to the beginning…yeah, another Obama success story

DanMan on December 24, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Nailed me to the exact city.

Old Country Boy on December 24, 2013 at 1:20 PM

Having been all over the us, my results were all over the place, but it made sense to me.

Tucson, Az (current live south of Tucson)
Jackson, MS (Lived in Memphis, TN for about 10 years)
Milwaukee, WI (lived just south of Milwaukee for a number of years)

Frontage Roads, Bubblers, Ya’ll, and Coke…

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on December 24, 2013 at 1:21 PM

What? It actually chose the city I live in…
Here I thought my Western PA roots would rule, but nope.

srdem65 on December 24, 2013 at 1:22 PM

Had me originally pegged for either Phoenix, AZ or D.C.

WTF?

Tried again, and it got me at Saattle, Tacoma, or Salt Lake City. I’m from Seattle, but apparently SLC uses “potato bug”, too.

Jeff Weimer on December 24, 2013 at 1:23 PM

I’m actually about halfway between Chattanooga and Greensboro, and very close to the state line, so I have both TN and NC influences.

ladyingray on December 24, 2013 at 1:24 PM

The opposites were the most interesting, the least-likes.

It pegged me as close as Arkansas, (Louisiana) but, apparently, I’m a complete alien to Minnesota. :)

It’s probably for the best that I don’t visit. I would probably die of thirst trying to get a coke.

Axe on December 24, 2013 at 1:24 PM

Took the quiz last night and it nailed my location: Baltimore. Which is odd, because we don’t have very distinctive speech patterns or phraseology here.

BKeyser on December 24, 2013 at 1:25 PM

Got me pretty well. Born in Bergen County NJ, spent my childhood between there and Orange County NY. Pegged me for Yonker/Patterson/NY. Neer heard of “service road” til I moved away, though I do use hero/sub/hoagie/grinder interchangeably.

And it’s soda, not pop.

rbj on December 24, 2013 at 1:27 PM

It “found” us.

RADIOONE on December 24, 2013 at 1:27 PM

I’m SoCal. Took it 3 times with slight changes and all 3 results were the same:

Fresno
St Louis
Salt Lake City

WTF.

peski on December 24, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Well, I’m 50 years in SoCal with Iowa roots and my results were Fresno, Modesto and Stockton. Go figure, except my family did live one year in the bay area, but never anywhere in the central valley.

hawkeye54 on December 24, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Actually, there is some historical logic to my selections. I am much older than the rest of you guys. My cities were Tulsa, Overland Park KS. and Stockton Ca. Well, back in the old days when Tulsa was just starting to oil boom, the preponderance of the newcomers were from the Kansas City and Pennsylvania areas. The dust bowl sent a lot to kalifornika. Because Oklahoma was sort of hicky, We spent a lot of time in school learning to speak properly without accents.

Old Country Boy on December 24, 2013 at 1:27 PM

This is pretty interesting. I took the quiz even though I am Canadian to test a hypothesis about how it would come out. I am from eastern Canada, specifically Nova Scotia, and I was curious to see if the accent would place me Mass and New England in general given the close ties between the people of these two regions. Sure enough…the map put me in Mass…Worcester, Boston area. Really, quite interesting.

Blaise on December 24, 2013 at 1:28 PM

For years I’ve secretly thought my wife was making up the “devil is beating his wife” thing up to yank my chain.

Spade on December 24, 2013 at 1:28 PM

I grew up in Sleepy Hollow, NY and the quiz nailed my dialect. The 3 cities it came up with were Yonkers, NY, NYC, and Philly. Sleepy Hollow is probably 10-15 miles from Yonkers/NYC.

The only question that didn’t have my usage in was the one for a submarine sandwich/hero/hoagie. In my hometown, for some reason known only to God (or Ichabod Crane), we called it a “wedge.” Never have heard it called that anywhere else.

Another New Yorkism I’ve never heard anywhere else is the term used to check whether someone is of legal age to buy booze. Outside of NY, I’ve always heard “carded.” In the NYC metro area, we used “proofed.”

I love this type of stuff. Lots of fun.

NavyMustang on December 24, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Does the quiz use the ISP of the respondent to locate the person?

I tried this twice late last night, but both times the evaluation locked up.

onlineanalyst on December 24, 2013 at 1:32 PM

his is pretty interesting. I took the quiz even though I am Canadian to test a hypothesis about how it would come out. I am from eastern Canada, specifically Nova Scotia, and I was curious to see if the accent would place me Mass and New England in general given the close ties between the people of these two regions. Sure enough…the map put me in Mass…Worcester, Boston area. Really, quite interesting.

Blaise on December 24, 2013 at 1:28 PM

You definitely have some very interesting accents in Canada. I still haven’t figured out Mark Steyn’s speech. Maybe you can shed some light on it?

My parents were friends with a woman from Newfoundland. From the first time that I met her I always thought that she was from Ireland. Made sense to me cause my parents were from the “old country” and I just figured she was from there too. It wasn’t until I had known her for three years that she told me she was from Newfoundland. Could have fooled me!

NavyMustang on December 24, 2013 at 1:33 PM

That was amazing. I live in San Diego now but it correctly guessed that I am from Spokane.

Aodhan on December 24, 2013 at 1:34 PM

I’ve lived and worked all over the world, but grew up in Scranton (the land of heyna) and been in west Tennessee for a number of years now. Still this stupid test proclaims my dialect is Rochester and Buffalo, NY or Rockford, IL. Who woulda guessed, heyna y’all?

simkeith on December 24, 2013 at 1:35 PM

Sunshower…what’s going on in Minnesota? I didn’t even know that it rained there. After reading Ed and James Lileks for years, I thought the only weather options were sunny and two feet of snow.

Our weather options are like our political options: Jesse Ventura Crazy or Al Franken Crazy.

Bruno Strozek on December 24, 2013 at 1:35 PM

Got me from correct city and state I came from. 2nd and 3rd choice cities weren’t far away.

Shy Guy on December 24, 2013 at 1:37 PM

I am from outside Albany, NY. Maine and Boston were red, red, red.

CrimsonFisted on December 24, 2013 at 1:40 PM

Our family moved around a lot but this thing pegged me as a Texan which is mostly true and most of my kin folk are from there. :)

scalleywag on December 24, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Born in Boston
Raised n Virginia Beach
Live most of my life in Dallas (present).
It has me pegged for a Kentuckian.

paulsur on December 24, 2013 at 1:44 PM

Dark red Hawaii. Correct.

pat on December 24, 2013 at 1:15 PM

Okay, but was it Waianae or Aina Haina Hawaii?

When I was a cop in Waianae, I met guys there that I’m pretty sure couldn’t speak standard English. Thank God I understand pidgin!

NavyMustang on December 24, 2013 at 1:44 PM

All I can say is wow, I’m a South Texas Redneck that should be living in the Midwest.

DDay on December 24, 2013 at 1:46 PM

I took it twice and got two completely different answers, but I can’t fault the quiz. My mom was from California, my father from Illinois, and I learned to talk in North Carolina, reinforced it in Trinidad, and lived in numerous locations, both in the US and out of it, in my formative years. US Navy brat.

It first said North Texas and the second time, California. This is interesting to me, since I have lived my last 43 years in Southern California (and hated it) and am shortly moving to North Texas, where I have always wanted to live, now that my husband has retired. Go figure.

hachiban on December 24, 2013 at 1:46 PM

Pinned the tail on this elephant.

tim c on December 24, 2013 at 1:47 PM

Accurate (NYC, Boston primarily) so I still can’t understand why a native San Franciscan once told me I sounded like I came from there. Could be I have a touch of Zelig.

Seth Halpern on December 24, 2013 at 1:47 PM

Put me from Louisiana. Nope. Born & raised in Texas, live in Colorado. Apparently the NYT thinks “Doodle Bug” is only used in the bayou.

Irritable Pundit on December 24, 2013 at 1:51 PM

I don’t see Kenya on the map, guess Prezzy cant play.

hillsoftx on December 24, 2013 at 1:51 PM

It put me in either Santa Rosa, Mesa, or Reno. Pretty close. Born in Salinas CA.

FontanaConservative on December 24, 2013 at 1:52 PM

Racist.

Ben Hur on December 24, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Irritable Pundit on December 24, 2013 at 1:51 PM

Same here, Shreveport. I like Shreveport but I’m not from Shreveport.

cozmo on December 24, 2013 at 1:56 PM

Oh, and the coldest part of the map for me was Louisiana. Guess my Cajun background ain’t showin’ up. :)

FontanaConservative on December 24, 2013 at 1:56 PM

Lived in Texas all 39 years of my life. Born and raised in Dallas and back there currently for last 10. Apparently I talk as if I’m from Augusta GA.

anuts on December 24, 2013 at 1:56 PM

Devil’s night was a dead give away for a Detroiter.

Flange on December 24, 2013 at 1:56 PM

This is pretty interesting. I took the quiz even though I am Canadian to test a hypothesis about how it would come out. I am from eastern Canada, specifically Nova Scotia, and I was curious to see if the accent would place me Mass and New England in general given the close ties between the people of these two regions. Sure enough…the map put me in Mass…Worcester, Boston area. Really, quite interesting.

Blaise on December 24, 2013 at 1:28 PM

My Massachusetts relatives who chose . . . poorly, had to leave MA after the Revolution, because the climate got decidedly too warm for them. So there is an old connection.

rbj on December 24, 2013 at 1:56 PM

I’m probably pretty easy to peg. Always lived in NE Ohio, and it correctly placed me as a Clevelander. We’ve got no special word for sandwiches (we say subs), we say pop for carbonated beverages, and we use a few southern-ism, but we don’t say y’all or youse or yinz, just “you guys.”

Good Solid B-Plus on December 24, 2013 at 1:57 PM

Using “rotary” pretty much pegs you as Boston/Worcester/Providence, combine it with “awnt” and “soda” and it pretty much has you on lock.

BKennedy on December 24, 2013 at 1:58 PM

Un-bleeping-real. The number one city is where I live now, number two is where my wife grew up.

Xasprtr on December 24, 2013 at 1:59 PM

I have taken it several times and there are two centers, one around Rockford-Aurora Illinois and one around Shreveport, LA and Jackson, MS.

I spent the first 9 years of my life in the Texas City, TX area and the next 9 years in the southwestern Chicago suburbs. And my father was from New Orleans.

Pretty good!

esr1951 on December 24, 2013 at 1:59 PM

Using “rotary” pretty much pegs you as Boston/Worcester/Providence, combine it with “awnt” and “soda” and it pretty much has you on lock.

BKennedy on December 24, 2013 at 1:58 PM

Yup. Same results here even though I’ve spent time all over the country.

Stoic Patriot on December 24, 2013 at 2:00 PM

Pssht. Had me pegged for south-central Texas. Austin to Brownsville.

Not even close.

I grew up in southern and central California. As far south as San Diego, as far north as Santa Cruz.

Major fail.

nukemhill on December 24, 2013 at 2:01 PM

We are currently experiencing many requests, so the quiz may be slow to generate your personal map.

We know who built this.

kcewa on December 24, 2013 at 2:02 PM

Resistance is futile: Everyone in America must take the NYT’s dialect quiz

Why?

It’s just one more little quiz – they’re all about the same – and it’s on a site that I never go to, won’t register for and don’t hassle with the bugmenot stuff to to do.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on December 24, 2013 at 2:02 PM

I was born and raised in Southern California. Spent many years living and working in various states and foreign countries in the Army and other jobs. The first time I took the test, the three cities it spit out were Fresno, Modesto, and, umm, Salt Lake City. Fresno and Modesto are the right state, but about three or four hundred miles away from where I actually grew up. Salt Lake City has me scratching my head, because I can probably count on the fingers of one hand the total number of days I have spent in Utah in my entire life.

Took the test again, and this time it gave me Stockton, Santa Rosa, and… Salt Lake City again. Weird.

Hayabusa on December 24, 2013 at 2:02 PM

Holy crap! Spot on. I’m from Rochester, NY, and it listed Rochester as one of three cities (Milwaukee and Grand Rapids were the others). Dang. I was hoping I was more different from the lefties in my city.

Pope Linus on December 24, 2013 at 2:04 PM

What are these twitter, facebook, and viral things of which you speak?

Mr. Arrogant on December 24, 2013 at 2:04 PM

Pssht. Had me pegged for south-central Texas. Austin to Brownsville.

Not even close.

I grew up in southern and central California. As far south as San Diego, as far north as Santa Cruz.

Major fail.

nukemhill on December 24, 2013 at 2:01 PM

And I’m currently living outside of Baltimore. But I worked hard to make sure I answered the test using the vocabulary/dialect I grew up with.

The only thing I’ll say in its defense is that my mother’s family spent a lot of time growing up in the South and Southeast. So I grew up, in particular around my grandmother, with that dialect in the background.

But that still doesn’t equate to Texas. I guess it was trying to average locales out, and that’s what it ended up with.

Not that scientific after all.

nukemhill on December 24, 2013 at 2:04 PM

What some of y’all call a “sun shower”, we say “the Devil’s whipping his wife”.

cartooner on December 24, 2013 at 2:05 PM

I reckon I know where I live and have lived.

davidk on December 24, 2013 at 2:08 PM

They sort of nailed me. They guessed Rochester and Buffalo, which is close but not quite, yet the darkest of the red is right in Syracuse. Maybe ‘Cuse is too much in the sticks for NYT to consider. We are a typical dying rust belt city, but we are surrounded by cows.

As with AP, “sneakers” made it pretty easy. My use of “hoagie” misled them toward Philly for the 3rd guess though.

Gingotts on December 24, 2013 at 2:09 PM

They have me for Shreveport, New Orleans and Jackson Miss.

Born in Fl., live in Ga.

Barred on December 24, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Born in New York, grew up in Vermont, high school and college in Arizona.

This placed me just one town west of where I’m currently living in the Valley of the Sun.

One question that I expected to see: Jeans or Dungarees? We called ‘em Dungarees when I was growing up in Vermont (late 60′s)

Hill60 on December 24, 2013 at 2:13 PM

I speak Correct American

DarkCurrent on December 24, 2013 at 2:14 PM

Like Blaise, I’m Canadian.

Specifically, I live in Toronto and the quiz put me in Buffalo, so that’s very accurate.

In the Hitchcock movie Marnie, Sean Connery knows the heroine is lying about where she is from because she pronounces “insurance” “INsurance.”

Anybody?

Also in Canada we do say “pop” for “soft drink” — but we also say “chesterfield” for “couch.” Does anyone in America do that?

http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/06/20/11-more-canadian-words-phrases-or-slang-most-americans-wouldnt-understand/

Kathy Shaidle on December 24, 2013 at 2:14 PM

Shows me as Fresno,CA and Santa Rosa,CA.

I grew up in Delano, CA and Santa Rosa, NM and Oregon.

So the Fresno part is OK…but Santa Rosa, CA is not Santa Rosa, NM.

kcewa on December 24, 2013 at 2:16 PM

I tried it again giving what I thought were the opposite answers. The 3 cities it had previously listed as my most likely (Detroit, Grand Rapids & Toledo) became the three most unlikely.

Flange on December 24, 2013 at 2:19 PM

OK, it says I’m from Jackson, Mississippi or Birmingham or Montgomery, Alabama. I was born in Houston and raised in East Texas. I did spend about 30 years in southern California.
When I recognized terms that are different in Texas from Cal, I used Texas terms.

cartooner on December 24, 2013 at 2:19 PM

but we also say “chesterfield” for “couch.” Does anyone in America do that?

Kathy Shaidle on December 24, 2013 at 2:14 PM

Calling a couch a cigarette? No. But, then again, no American would say “corpse-man” or “Oh’-ree-ahn”, either … and look at how that turned out.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on December 24, 2013 at 2:19 PM

It got my location right. I guess “access road” is a South Texas thing?

terryannonline on December 24, 2013 at 2:24 PM

Also in Canada we do say “pop” for “soft drink” — but we also say “chesterfield” for “couch.” Does anyone in America do that?

My grandmother used to call it a “Davenport” which a quick Wikipedia search tells me is a type of sofa from a Massachusetts company that came to be used as a synonym for couch in general by those in Northern NY state. Around here though any of those terms are considered more of an old person thing than a regional thing. Family Guy had a brief bit highlighting that.

Gingotts on December 24, 2013 at 2:25 PM

Also in Canada we do say “pop” for “soft drink” — but we also say “chesterfield” for “couch.” Does anyone in America do that?

Oh and “pop” is a Midwest thing and also fighting words. That stuff is called soda. Coke is a type of soda. Sprite and Dr. Pepper are not coke. They are not pop. They are soda. Soda that is put in your mixed drink is also soda, or club soda. I’ve seen plenty of extended internet complaining contests on this one.

Only one I’ve ever seen an in-person argument about is “coupon.” By the way that’s “coo-pon” not Q-pon. It has nothing to do with John De Lancie.

Gingotts on December 24, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Lived in Baltimore 20 years, Chicago 6 years, Manhattan 2 years, Washington DC 2 years, and Naples Florida for 2 years…

I talk like I’m from New Orleans?

Washington Fancy on December 24, 2013 at 2:31 PM

Devil’s night was a dead give away for a Detroiter.

Flange on December 24, 2013 at 1:56 PM

LOL I had that very same thought! :)

Anti-Control on December 24, 2013 at 2:32 PM

Someone who’s traveled around the country extensively and picked up turns of phrase from different areas would be impossible to place, I bet.

Allahpundit on December 24, 2013 at 1:18 PM

I grew up a Service Brat, and as a result lived in places like Massachusetts, New York City, Florida and Hawai’i. In the mid 1970s I took a Voice and Articulation course at college, and on the first day one of our first exercises was for each of the students (small class, about 10 people) to stand up and read a paragraph of their choice from any book. The rest of the class was then to try and guess where that person came from. I was the only one the class couldn’t place.

On the other hand, we had a lady in that class from Trinidad and Tobago. Wasn’t hard to place her! But by the end of the semester, her accent was almost totally gone.

Del Dolemonte on December 24, 2013 at 2:32 PM

I was born and raised in Omaha, NE. I spent 34 years in the military. It pegged me as being from Lexington, KY; Greensboro, NC; or Winston-Salem NC.

I was stationed in AZ, ND, TX, CA, GA, DC (NoVA), but never KY or NC. Of course, I spent time in other parts of the world, but never permanently stationed in those locations.

I’m guessing that all the different speech patterns in the military probably messed my dialect up to the point where I’m not a good fit for any one location or speech pattern.

Grinch on December 24, 2013 at 2:34 PM

What dialect clues are in this sentence?:
I will NEVER click a link to the N.Y. Times.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on December 24, 2013 at 2:36 PM

I was born and raised in the NW Chicago suburbs. For me it guessed Rockford (about an hour NW of Chicago), Aurora (about a half hour SW of Chicago), and . . . Grand Rapids, MI?!?!?!?!

Still… all in the Midwest, so it pegged me pretty well, in spite of having lived in Idaho for a year, Colorado for a couple, and now Utah for the past 14.

Magson on December 24, 2013 at 2:36 PM

seems no cities in maine listed even though it was the “reddest”

dmacleo on December 24, 2013 at 2:42 PM

I was curious how this would go being raised on the East Coast (DC mostly) to parents from the Midwest (St. Louis and Chicago) with a Navy career that took me to all four coasts- The Great Lakes is a coast!

Well it pretty much pegged me as an East Coaster and apparently nailed DC based on calling one’s junk to neighbors as a “yard sale.” But there is definitely regionalisms that I recognized that would be specific to Louisiana, Chicago or the West Coast (which is the only place I’ve heard people talk about freeways).

Happy Nomad on December 24, 2013 at 2:49 PM

seems no cities in maine listed even though it was the “reddest”

dmacleo on December 24, 2013 at 2:42 PM

You don’t see Maine and “reddest state” in the same sentence often. At least not here at HA.

Happy Nomad on December 24, 2013 at 2:51 PM

It had the 3 cities closest to me! Kinda freaked me out!

wolverinefan on December 24, 2013 at 2:51 PM

Newark, NJ – nope

Yonkers, NY – getting warmer

New York City – Bingo

RadClown on December 24, 2013 at 2:55 PM

Still… all in the Midwest, so it pegged me pretty well, in spite of having lived in Idaho for a year, Colorado for a couple, and now Utah for the past 14.

Magson on December 24, 2013 at 2:36 PM

I lived in Grand Rapids. It isn’t a stretch from what you’d hear in Chicago. Personally I was never able to call soda a “pop.”

Happy Nomad on December 24, 2013 at 2:55 PM

LOL I had that very same thought! :)

Anti-Control on December 24, 2013 at 2:32 PM

I didn’t realize that Pittsburgh called it that too.

Flange on December 24, 2013 at 2:55 PM

I wonder what the results would have been pre-TV or for that matter pre-Internet.

When I was in the Navy in the 70’s a friend and I came up with a method to tell where someone came from – in the U.S. It was based on how you flipped the bird (or gave the middle finger). I was from Northern California. I was surprised how differently this hand signal was exhibited throughout the U.S. It didn’t pinpoint cities but it was spot on for geographical locations (e.g., Northwest, Midwest, East Coast).

HHW on December 24, 2013 at 2:56 PM

It says I’m from Cleveland (I have been [pronounced like "bin" ;-) ] there exactly twice in my life), Glendale, or San Diego. It also states that my dialect is consistent with the Far West, Pacific Northwest, and the Maryland/DC area.

Here in southeast central Ohio, people often accuse me of not having a “normal”, or for that matter detectable, accent.

I suspect it comes from watching too much PBS in my adolescence. Notably Doctor Who; I seem to “speak RSE” (Received Standard English) much like the Brigadier.

I apparently even “sound” like that online. I have had Aussies suspect me of being a pome; pronounced “pom”, it means “Prisoner Of Mother England”, and was a term originally applied to penal transportees. Today, Down Under it means anybody who in any way looks, acts, or sounds British.

BTW, it’s “sub”, “soft drink”,”access road”, and “traffic circle”. And “Devil’s Night” is something they only have in Athens, OH, if you live south of I-70 and east of I-71.

Some people around here still refer to Halloween itself as “All Hallow’s Eve”, “Samhain”, or even “Sammann”- and no, they are neither New Agers or Amish.

cheers

eon

eon on December 24, 2013 at 2:57 PM

Spot on! It identified me darkest red in the region where I live in northern California. Also dark red was most of Utah. I need to have my wife do this. She is from Minnesota, but has lived in California for nearly 16 years now.

Decoski on December 24, 2013 at 2:59 PM

Says I’m from Louisville KY, Lexington KY, or Augusta Georgia.
Was born in Louisville.

oceansidecon on December 24, 2013 at 3:00 PM

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