Sunday, June 9, 2013

Dialectic Differences

I have moved around a fair amount in my lifetime.  One thing I have noticed is the differences in how people say and refer to things from region to region.

For example, you can always tell someone who was born and raised in the Cincinnati, Ohio area because when they don't understand you or missed what you said, they don't say "Pardon me", they just say "Please".

If you are in the New York City area you are standing "On line" while almost everywhere else I have lived you are "In line".

The Blaze reports on the work of Joshua Katz who has developed 122 heat map charts detailing the differences in how Americans say things depending on geography.  Katz is a PhD student in Statistics at North Carolina State University.

Katz explains the methodology of his charts.
“The composite map gives a picture of the overall distribution, coloring each cell according to whichever answer is estimated to be most likely at that location,” he adds.

“The more clearly one answer dominates, the darker the color. Individual maps show estimated probability of each particular answer at a given location, with larger probabilities shown in red and smaller probabilities shown in blue. At the moment, only the four most popular answers for each survey question are displayed.”

Here are a few of my favorites.

There is a pretty clear demarcation on this one between east and west.  However, what is going on in South Carolina with frontage roads and North Carolina with service roads?

They are sneakers in the Northeast and with those senior citizens wearing "Silver Sneakers" at the malls in South Florida, but they are tennis shoes most every place else.

I have used both terms and now I know why.  I lived in Michigan and Chicago which are both in kitty-corner territories but also in Ohio, Georgia which are catty-corner states.  I prefer catty-corner because it is a relative to one of my favorite words---cattywampus meaning something that is in disarry or askew.

Water fountains and catty-corners seems to go together.  What is it with Wisconsin and Rhode Island and bubblers?

No jammies in the Southeast.  It must be jommies.

I learned this when I lived in Atlanta in the 1970's.  It is all about coke.  "I'll have a Coke.  Bring me a Pepsi." That seems to hold true in most of the Southeast today but you can see the influence is not as strong as it once was with all the Northerners that have moved to Atlanta in the last 30 years.

This one shows the power of a good brand.  The Brew Thru is a beer store that you can drive through to pick up your six-back on the way to the beach along the Outer Banks of North Carolina  They have been so successful they have become the generic term for a drive-through liquor store in that area of the country.  Another interesting fact about Brew Thru is that they annually sell around 200,000 t-shirts at their 6 stores at around $20 apiece.   That is around $4 million of revenues before you consider the brew.  Not a bad business model.

They have always been lightning bugs to me but I understand some Western states do not have them at all.

"Ahhnt" in the Northeast.  "Annnt" most everywhere else except for Virginia and Upper Midwest that seem to use both.

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