American dialects mapped


This totally got crushed by all the love Boing showed it, anyone know of a mirror we could totally crush as well?

No one else says “soft drink”? Is that just a Cincinnati regional thing?

They forgot “tonic”, used fairly frequently in parts of New England.


Also, the “other” sections of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts on the sub/hoagie debate is likely because they call them grinders.

Massachusetts’ east/west divide is pretty interesting in my personal experience of being a Western MA transplant to Eastern MA — it’s such a strong divide for a little state.

I’ve been finding regional food differences pretty interesting in the past few years. For example, many pizza places in Western MA make rectangle pizzas (similar to what you’d see as a very large catered pizza)… and a “combination” pizza is a somewhat standard amalgamation of hamburger, onions, peppers, and pepperoni.

In Eastern MA (or in most other places) I’ve yet to find a rectangle pizza, and if you order a “combination” and they’ll asking you “a combination of what?”.

I am quite saddened that Hawaii and Alaska have been ejected from the union.


There are a couple of cases where “other” clearly indicates a regional variation, but it isn’t provided to us.

I don’t really understand “kitty/catty-corner” - is this something people actually ever say? I’ve never heard of such a thing and I am from a place that’s fairly dark red on that map.

I hear kitty-corner used quite often. I’ve used it myself. It actually makes sense too. Cats don’t pay attention to traffic rules, so if a cat wants to go from one corner of an intersection to the one across from them diagonally, they’ll go directly. A human generally won’t unless it’s a corner with very little traffic.

These maps would be even better if they included Canada.


I live in Western Washington, and I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a native use pop in place of soda.

Most of the time people just say “drink” since iced tea or juice or water is also available.

Is there a real convention in English w.r.t. naming paternal and maternal grandparents? I grew up calling my paternal grandparents Granny/Grandpa and my maternal ones Grandma/Grandpa. My children call my parents Grandma/Grandpa and my wife’s parents Oma/Opa (my mother-in-law is German). My father-in-law’s mother is Great-Grandma. Do people just ask their parents what they want their grandchildren to call them, or is it more structured than that? In Chinese it’s traditionally much more important what side of the family and what position you are in the birth order, so there are different names for almost everyone (e.g. the wives of your older and younger brothers would be addressed differently, regardless of their age in relation to you).

It’s not structured at all. I have no recollection of where I learned what to call my grandparents. I assume I’m repeating whatever my parents used.

Yes, it’s a thing. I actually came by to note that SE MI, catty-corner is more widely used than the map would indicate.

Also came by to confirm the pop/soda split within WI. Pop is used everywhere else in the state besides the SE corner, and frankly use does not bleed as far north and west as the map indicates. I can assure you that if you ask for a pop in Appleton, Madison or Wausau, you will not be looked at like you’re a space alien.

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I would like to see Canada as well… I grew up in northern WI, but wherever I go people tend to think that I am Canadian. My wife (Los Angeles Latina) has apparently picked up my accent/dialect over the years and occasionally gets asked if she is Canadian when she is talking to somebody on the phone.

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There is also the Milwaukee only “Bubbler” for a drinking/water fountain.

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I bet if they did include Canada, the map for Cruller would turn green at the border.

yeah, I kinda scratched my head over why paternal was singled out there, too. i think it has a lot to do with what the family’s “old country” was, or something American regional, and in my grandmother’s case it was what word the first born grandchild came up with, which was “Mimi.”

In the South, I’ve heard the improbable-sounding “mam-maw and pap-paw” or “mee-maw and pee-paw” enough to know that it’s an actual thing down here and not just something a particular grandkid came up with.

Dang! Not on there (unless I’m missing it)-

Cheese mac? Macaroni and cheese? Cheesy mac? Mac and cheese?

I turned this around and made a web page that tries to guess where you’re from, based on answers to questions about your dialect. Sometimes it’s surprisingly accurate! Give it a try:

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Does your accent have Canadian Raising? I mean when you say “out” or “about”, would someone from another area claim you are saying “oot” or “aboot”? No one actually says oot or aboot of course. People from other regions are just missing a diphthong. Like if a French person tries to learn English and has problems with H sounds. Or a Japanese speaker having difficulty with L and R. It’s not a sound they’ve heard before, so their brain interprets it as “oot”.

Bubbler is used in Mass.

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