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Author Topic: Regional Dialect Maps  (Read 1332 times)
Mofo Rising
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« on: June 06, 2013, 03:17:20 AM »

I think people often forget about how just big a place the United States really is. Here's an article making the rounds about pronunciation and regional phrases that people use.

22 Maps That Show How Americans Speak English Totally Differently From Each Other

Naturally, the South is featured quite a lot. But there are a lot of other regionalisms that pop-up as well.

For the record, I grew up calling soft drinks "pop." Then I moved to Arizona, where nobody refers to it as such. I was never aware that it's such a shibboleth. At the same time, my older brother use to make fun of me when I asked for a cigarette because I would always ask to "bum" one from him. Not common parlance in Alaska, or Hawaii, the state he moved to.

My favorite regionalism on these maps is how to refer to a sunny day. Apparently, in Alabama and Mississippi it is popular to refer to a sunny day as "the Devil beating his wife."

What regionalisms do you find amusing? The article focuses on America, but I've always found it amusing that the British refer to cigarettes as "fags." I imagine the learning curve in not using that term in America is pretty harsh.
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« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2013, 04:23:21 AM »

I had a linguistics prof who would amuse us with tales of isoglosses.  Fascinating stuff.

In the area where I grew up, the greeting "g'day" was in common use for both 'hello' and 'goodbye'.  The true import of the word was carried in the intonation: it could range anywhere from cheerful/friendly/polite/respectful to angry and dismissive.  At its best it was an indication of delight at encountering you (often emphasised by repetition, rising on the second: "g'day g'DAY!"), at its worst it was equivalent to telling someone to shut up and p**s off ("G[pause]DAY" said abruptly).  There were at least half-a-dozen shades of meaning; easy enough to understand, but effective delivery took some practice.   BounceGiggle
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« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2013, 06:06:33 AM »

My favorite regionalism on these maps is how to refer to a sunny day. Apparently, in Alabama and Mississippi it is popular to refer to a sunny day as "the Devil beating his wife."

In South Africa, we call that occurrence "Jakkals trou met Wolf se vrou" [the jackal is marrying the wolf's wife]. Never quite understood that one.

Quote
What regionalisms do you find amusing? The article focuses on America, but I've always found it amusing that the British refer to cigarettes as "fags." I imagine the learning curve in not using that term in America is pretty harsh.

I went to an English public school in Rhodesia and the young first years who did menial tasks for the seniors were known as 'fags'.  TeddyR
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« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2013, 06:07:40 AM »

At its best it was an indication of delight at encountering you (often emphasised by repetition, rising on the second: "g'day g'DAY!"), at its worst it was equivalent to telling someone to shut up and p**s off ("G[pause]DAY" said abruptly). 

 BuggedoutBounceGiggle TeddyR
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« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2013, 06:42:26 AM »

For some reason those weirdos in Wisconsin say "coulee" instead of "valley".  I never understood that.  Here in Minnesota we quite often refer to highways as "the interstate" because they're, you know, interstate highways.  The term "freeway" is rarely used at all here.  They only have those in California  Smile 

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« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2013, 07:26:46 AM »

I love regional dialects and "collect" them when I can. While I can't match Professor Henry Higgins' (My Fair Lady) ability to tell what street someone comes from by the way he talks, I can generally get it down to region or state. Regional idioms are fascinating to me as well. These maps only begin to scratch the surface, but they are an interesting presentation of how we differ in the way we say things.

Interesting(ish) side note: I took a linguistics class in grad school and loved it. I almost switched to linguistics as my focus but opted not to. I found out years after I was out of school that shortly after I was graduated, the professor who taught that class had been arrested for murdering his wife. Yikes.
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« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2013, 07:39:30 AM »

Interesting(ish) side note: I took a linguistics class in grad school and loved it. I almost switched to linguistics as my focus but opted not to. I found out years after I was out of school that shortly after I was graduated, the professor who taught that class had been arrested for murdering his wife. Yikes.

 Buggedout Buggedout

In South Africa, we always refer to a traffic light as a 'robot'. Yes, that, and the fact that our cars drive on the wrong side of the road and our steering wheels are on the right hand side of the car.  Buggedout
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« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2013, 01:48:54 PM »

I think people often forget about how just big a place the United States really is. Here's an article making the rounds about pronunciation and regional phrases that people use.

22 Maps That Show How Americans Speak English Totally Differently From Each Other

Naturally, the South is featured quite a lot. But there are a lot of other regionalisms that pop-up as well.

For the record, I grew up calling soft drinks "pop." Then I moved to Arizona, where nobody refers to it as such. I was never aware that it's such a shibboleth. At the same time, my older brother use to make fun of me when I asked for a cigarette because I would always ask to "bum" one from him. Not common parlance in Alaska, or Hawaii, the state he moved to.

My favorite regionalism on these maps is how to refer to a sunny day. Apparently, in Alabama and Mississippi it is popular to refer to a sunny day as "the Devil beating his wife."

What regionalisms do you find amusing? The article focuses on America, but I've always found it amusing that the British refer to cigarettes as "fags." I imagine the learning curve in not using that term in America is pretty harsh.


I thought the devil beating his wife was when it was both sunny and raining.
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« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2013, 03:21:21 PM »

My favorite regionalism on these maps is how to refer to a sunny day. Apparently, in Alabama and Mississippi it is popular to refer to a sunny day as "the Devil beating his wife."

My dad used to say that, and I had no clue what the was talking about.  Until he said that is what that weather occurance is called.  I've never called it that.

British refer to cigarettes as "fags." I imagine the learning curve in not using that term in America is pretty harsh.
LOL I used to work with a British guy and we'd go out and smoke some times then on day he said "Can I bum a fag?"  I had no clue what he was talking about.  I'm used to people asking to "bum a smoke" but never had I heard "bum a fag".  I still think about it and laugh to myself today, just like I am right now.
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« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2013, 05:51:04 PM »

In the area where I grew up, the greeting "g'day" was in common use for both 'hello' and 'goodbye'.  The true import of the word was carried in the intonation: it could range anywhere from cheerful/friendly/polite/respectful to angry and dismissive.  At its best it was an indication of delight at encountering you (often emphasised by repetition, rising on the second: "g'day g'DAY!"), at its worst it was equivalent to telling someone to shut up and p**s off ("G[pause]DAY" said abruptly).  There were at least half-a-dozen shades of meaning; easy enough to understand, but effective delivery took some practice.   BounceGiggle

"To think that I should have lived to be good-morninged by Belladonna Took's son, as if I was selling buttons at the door!"

I thought the devil beating his wife was when it was both sunny and raining.

Ah, you are correct, sir. I misread that initially.
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« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2013, 04:19:06 PM »


In New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the history of the Lenni Lenape Indians (mis-named Delaware because they lived along the river in both states) says they used to refer to the North as "Our grandfather" and the South as "our grandmother where it is warm."

To this day, sometimes I hear people refer to sunny days as 'grandmother getting her way again', and cold days as "grandfather being angry again." Odd too considering that it was originally an American Indian phrase and unique to only them.

In certain parts of German-speaking Pennyslvania, people say "Nabend" which is, if I recall, a shortening of Guten Abend which means "good evening." It is much in the same way people will say "morning"  instead of good morning or "G'day" in Australia instead of "good day."  My grandmother would say 'Nabend' all the time.

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« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2013, 06:38:09 PM »

In parts of the upper midwest people tended to say youse - as in youse guys and so on instead of just you. 

Also in the midwest people used to refer to the sofa as Davenport.  My grandma used to use the term Davenport instead of couch or sofa up until the early 90s - she got away from doing that in the last decade of her life and I don't remember her using the term Davenport after her 80th birthday.  It's been years since I've heard people use the term Davenport to refer to a sofa.  Now people usually call them the sofa or couch.   
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« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2013, 08:59:59 PM »

I pronounce been as Ben, dunno why. Crayon as Cra yon. I use lawyer as Loi yer.  I really don't care about coleslaw, so PASS. I say You guys, guys, y'all, you all, youse. I say Mayo, not the longer version, just mayo. I say PJ's, not really big on saying pajamas all the way. I say pecan as Puh KAHN! 98% of the time I'll say soda, but every now and then I'll say Sodie. Most of the world pronounces Crawfish as, well, crawfish. I really have no idea when people started saying Crayfish. I, for some reason, call syrup as sap. Traffic circle, roundabouts, I use them interchangeably. I, unless I'm at Subway, always use Po Boys instead of Sub. Anytime I see a debate of either tennis shoes or sneakers, I just say does it really matter, it's just shoes. I call highways as interstates, makes sense to me. The Devil beating his wife, I just call sunny rain, since it is sunny, yet raining at the same time. Drive thru liquor store is called a daiquiri shop. Mary, marry, merry; i stress out the vowel and, on Mary and marry, say Mary shorter while saying Marry longer.
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« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2013, 03:36:21 PM »

In SD, we often refer to our vehicles as "outfits".  Not really sure why...

And speaking of vehicles, THIS


is not a damn truck.  It's a pickup.  THIS


is a truck.



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« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2013, 09:13:32 PM »

Although in later life I came to appreciate the lyrical beauty of the Celtic lilt a bit more, when I was little I had to spend summers among relatives whose accents I thought were just terrible to hear on a daily basis, and then I came to realize that I was the oddity there, and people thought I sounded bizarre, so when I was eight I one day told them, "I don't have an accent. I'm an American..." Oh, how they laughed at that all summer. I was often told Americans sound like they talk "through their noses."

What's funny is I sort of live on a Mason-Dixon Line dialectic fault line, so that by driving sometimes just an hour any direction I hear totally different ways of speaking, which is trippy. I hear Kentucky drawls, Appalachian twangs, flat-voweled Midwesterners from upstate, and the stereotypical "plain American" accent around here. I hear "soft drink" "pop" and the ultra-weird "cola-pop". The funny thing is, there's this pocket of speech over in east-central Indiana that sounds absolutely like the people are from Appalachia, and I have never quite figured out where they got that. You hear it all around here.
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