Dialect Maps Reveal How Americans Really Talk

Dialect Maps Reveal How Americans Really Talk
Joshua Katz, NC State University

Ah, 'Merica. Land of the free, home of the brave, and the place where proper dialects go their separate ways. Let's face it, in a country this big, it was bound to happen.

Nevertheless, it jars us when someone from the East Coast asks for a "car-a-mel" or when we someone refers to a drinking fountain as a "bubbler."

Now a new series of U.S. linguistic maps are here to tell you just how divided this nation really is -- because, come on, "cran" instead of "crayon?" That's just ridiculous.

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Assembled by Joshua Katz, a North Carolina graduate student of statistics, the maps provide an innovative illustration of linguistics data collected by Dr. Bert Vaux of Cambridge University.

Dr. Vaux conducted his analysis of regional dialect in the U.S. through a comprehensive 120-question survey that asked subjects everything from their preference of "you" or "y'all" to whether they called carbonated beverages "soda," "pop," or "coke."  

Dialect Maps Reveal How Americans Really Talk
Joshua Katz, NC State University

Using an algorithm that weighted the responses to Dr. Vaux's surveys, Katz was able to create his series of colorful maps that more clearly depicted how regional dialects vary throughout the country.

Some of our personal favorites? The term for a drive-thru liquor store. Despite having plenty in the state of Arizona, we couldn't come up with a name for them.

And what do you call it when it's raining on a sunny day? Some of us just assumed "rain" others referred to as a "sunshower" but in the deep south, they say "the Devil is beating his wife" -- making us suddenly very hesitant to ever step foot in the state of Alabama.

Check out the interactive map and see what words you've been pronouncing wrong -- or right, depending on how you look at it.

Note: this post has been edited from its original version.

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