Is it soda or pop? Survey examines 'regionalisms' across the U.S.
Did you know that certain words you use could be an easy indicator of what part of the U.S. you're from?
A recent survey of 350,000 Americans conducted by Josh Katz and published in Reader's Digest found that "regionalisms," or words that have different regional names, are alive and well in 2017.
Some of the findings included most of the country referring to athletic shoes as "tennis shoes" and only the northeast referring to them as sneakers, as well as much of the east coast saying "caramel" has three syllables, opposed to two, like the rest of the country says.
So kick back, grab a soda (or pop depending on where you're from), and learn about some of the most prominent regionalisms in the United States. Click on the subheads to view infographics for each regionalism.
If you're from the East Coast or the South, there's a good chance you call it a "water fountain," although some parts of New England and Wisconsin call it a "bubbler." The rest of the country, for the most part, refers to water distribution devices as drinking fountains, aside from a stretch of the Midwest that is "water fountain" territory.
Hey you guys, did y'all ever think about how different regions address groups of people?
Turns out most of the U.S. uses "you guys" while the South from Texas to the East Coast uses "y'all." In parts of New York, new Jersey and Pennsylvania, "youse" is still commonly heard, and "yinz" is used by many people in the Pittsburgh area.
This is one that varies quite a bit depending on region.
For much of the East Coast and parts of the West it's a "yard sale" (and if you're in New England it might be a "yahd sale") but for most of the Midwest and parts of Florida and the West Coast it's called a garage sale. In parts of New England, however, you might here some people call it a "tag sale," and parts of Wisconsin call it a "rummage sale."
If you go outside on a clear, summer night, you might look around and see little bugs that can light up, but what do you call them?
If you live on the western half of the country, you probably call them "fireflies," but those on the eastern side refer to them as "lightning bugs." However, in the Northeast there is a divide between those who call them "fireflies" and those who prefer "lightning bugs." Even within New York City there are discrepencies as Manhattan prefers "fireflies," while Staten Island prefers "lightning bugs."
Is is CARE-a-MEL or CAR-MEL?
If you think there are three syllables in the word "caramel," then it appears that most of the country doesn't agree. It seems that aside from the East Coast down to the Louisiana Panhandle, most Americans think "caramel" has two syllables. It's worth noting that patches of Americans in California, Arizona and Texas all subscribe to the three syllables approach.
Here we have another example where the East Coast is at odds with the rest of the country by calling a vehicle used to haul freight a "tractor trailer." The rest of the country (and Florida) refer to freight-hauling vehicles as a "semi" or "semitruck," except for a stretch of states including Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and parts of Texas who refer to them as "eighteen-wheelers."
The majority of the U.S. refers to them as tennis shoes, but in the Northeast you'll hear most people call them sneakers. In Hawaii, they are simply called "shoes," and in Chicago and Cincinnati, you might hear them referred to as "gym shoes."
Getting rid of some trash?
If you're in the northern tip of New England and much of the southern half of the country, there's a good chance you dispose of it in a "trash can." In the rest of the U.S., however, most people refer to waste receptacles as "garbage cans." Hawaii, Alaska, Arizona and parts of the Louisiana Panhandle all have a decent mix of "trash can" and "garbage can" users.
Last but not least, who doesn't love an ice-cold bubbly drink? But what is it called?
Most of the East and West Coast's refer to them as "soda," although in the Carolina's they can be called "soft drinks." In the South, you may hear people refer to all carbonated drinks as "Coke," so don't be confused if you're vacationing from-out-of-town. Pockets of the South also refer to it as "Cocola," while the rest of the nation refers to the beverages as "pop."