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Mischievous or Mischievious?
June 5, 2013 10:16 AM   Subscribe

Interactive map of pronunciation and use of various words and phrases differs by region in the US. Based on Bert Vaux's online survey of English dialects, the program allows you to see results for individual cities, as well as nationwide (though inexplicably it does not include Alaska or Hawaii).
posted by Cash4Lead (133 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite

 
Good one to start with: Look up the question "What do you call a drive-thru liquor store?"
posted by Cash4Lead at 10:21 AM on June 5, 2013


I can't understand how people can live in a world where Mary, merry, and marry are all pronounced the same way.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:22 AM on June 5, 2013 [11 favorites]


I'm still wondering how I can believe that Mary and marry sound exactly the same, but that both are distinct from merry.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:26 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


After talking into thin air the past few minutes, I -- I don't know how to pronounce my name any more.
posted by maudlin at 10:29 AM on June 5, 2013 [19 favorites]


Yay Bert! (He was one of my favorite professors when I was a linguistics undergrad.)
posted by ocherdraco at 10:32 AM on June 5, 2013


(though inexplicably it does not include Alaska or Hawaii).

It is a well-known fact that Alaska and Hawaii are entirely peopled by mutes.
posted by jedicus at 10:35 AM on June 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Foliage: go.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:35 AM on June 5, 2013


Well geez, we dun crash'd that there server thang.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 10:36 AM on June 5, 2013


Foliage: go

What? It's pronounced exactly as it is spelled. (But don't get me started on people who drop the I from "verbiage." Are my words like garbage to you?)
posted by stopgap at 10:37 AM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Good one to start with: Look up the question "What do you call a drive-thru liquor store?"

Well, I'm in Los Angeles and I call those "a mythical beast, like a griffin or a unicorn".

Is that really something that exists in other parts of the country?
posted by sideshow at 10:38 AM on June 5, 2013 [11 favorites]


Well geez, we dun crash'd that there server thang.

So I'm not the only one who is limited to seeing the soda vs. pop vs. coke map?
posted by Area Man at 10:39 AM on June 5, 2013


Okay, question #49's fill in the blank "I ________ her lifeless body from the pool." is pretty creepy.

sideshow: "Good one to start with: Look up the question "What do you call a drive-thru liquor store?"

Well, I'm in Los Angeles and I call those "a mythical beast, like a griffin or a unicorn".
"

They used to exist in Illinois and I would still see signs for them growing up. My answer was then and will always be "a bad idea."

95 - (What is "the City") is very interesting.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:41 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm sure the site is cool when it works, but it's definitely having some issues.

I'm from Massachusetts (r-ful, though) and went to grad school for linguistics in Ohio, and finding out that my vowels were often different from everyone else's after years of thinking I had a pretty "generic" American English accent was interesting. Having the Mary-marry-merry distinction and the cot-caught distinction were the big ones. (I had some friends from Northern Cities-affected areas who had the latter, but with the vowels shifted appropriately.) The MMM merger is one I used to never notice but now hear all the time with words like "terrible" (tearable)...
posted by Kosh at 10:42 AM on June 5, 2013


Is that really something that exists in other parts of the country?

Not just drive-thru liquor stores, which exist in many parts of the country, but in Louisiana there are even drive-thru daiquiri stores.
posted by jedicus at 10:43 AM on June 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


My favorite thing about the soda/pop/coke/soft drink map is how St. Louis and Milwaukee stand out like angry red suns.
posted by Copronymus at 10:44 AM on June 5, 2013


I'm still wondering how I can believe that Mary and marry sound exactly the same, but that both are distinct from merry.

What? It's Mary and merry that sound the same. Marry sounds different.</northern NJ>
posted by fings at 10:45 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Argh! I can't get it to open at all. Too bad, as I'd really like to take a look!
posted by blurker at 10:46 AM on June 5, 2013


I'm always amazed when people from other than New England pronounce Frappe as "milkshake".
I've also been stymied why people in Worcester pronounce tonic as "soda".
posted by Gungho at 10:46 AM on June 5, 2013


I love "mischievious". I live in a place where that's not how it's done. I first heard it the other way in Tom Waits' "The Ocean Doesn't Want Me Today" and it stuck. I know it's technically wrong, but you know, Tom Waits, man.
posted by Hoopo at 10:46 AM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


We don't have drive through liquor stores but we do have drive through beer stores.
posted by octothorpe at 10:46 AM on June 5, 2013


I can see it fine from Canada and can switch options. There's some irony for you, given that we're excluded from the map.

Who the hell says "soft drink" in the States? That's a Quebec thing.

I can't clearly see any yellow on the American map, and this table doesn't explicitly include it as an option.
posted by maudlin at 10:46 AM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


The question "What words do you use to address two or more people"? with no options for "yinz" or "you-ins"?
posted by octothorpe at 10:50 AM on June 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Related: Edwin Morgan's wonderful Chaffinch Map of Scotland.
posted by oulipian at 10:51 AM on June 5, 2013


Who the hell says "soft drink" in the States?

Louisville, Kentucky (and the surrounding Kentuckiana area). The fallback there would be Coke.
posted by stopgap at 10:52 AM on June 5, 2013


Thanks, stopgap. (Is it pronounced "Loo-ey-ville" or "Loo-iss-ville"? And what about St. Louis?)
posted by maudlin at 10:53 AM on June 5, 2013


Loo-uh-vull. (But Loo-ee-vill is acceptable.)
posted by stopgap at 10:54 AM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hmm. So much for my "stealth French" hypothesis.
posted by maudlin at 10:56 AM on June 5, 2013


I simply cannot understand people that use "Coke" to refer to all soda. Then again, my wife tells my I sound hilariously uncultured when I use "spaghetti" to refer to all forms of pasta.
posted by Jpfed at 10:56 AM on June 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


I can't understand how people can live in a world where Mary, merry, and marry are all pronounced the same way.

I'm sitting here saying those words to myself and trying to understand how they could sound different.
posted by Area Man at 10:56 AM on June 5, 2013 [16 favorites]


This is great for pointing out when it's my Yankee in-laws who are the weird ones, and not me, just because I'm from the South.

Sadly, not enough people say UMbrella and that's the one I usually catch hell for.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:57 AM on June 5, 2013




Oh hey, the site finally loaded for me. Loading the individual results tab, it looks like "Coke" slightly outranks "soft drink" in Kentuckiana. "Soft drink" is also used near western and coastal (but not central) North Carolina, and near New Orleans.
posted by stopgap at 10:58 AM on June 5, 2013


He was one of my favorite professors when I was a linguistics undergrad.

I took exactly one class with him, and to this day, 75% of the "interesting facts" I share with my wife (and probably often repeat) I learned there.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:00 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Soft drink" is also used near western and coastal (but not central) North Carolina, and near New Orleans.

Central North Carolina is full of people from outside the state. I grew up among native North Carolinians in the Piedmont and heard "soft drink" a fair bit, along with "cold drink."
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:02 AM on June 5, 2013


Then again, my wife tells my I sound hilariously uncultured when I use "spaghetti" to refer to all forms of pasta.

Ugh. That's like referring to all cars as Jeeps.
posted by The World Famous at 11:02 AM on June 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


On the Bowie knife question (BOH-ee or BOO-ee): I can't speak for Texas, but outside DC is a small town called Bowie, Maryland, and it's pronounced BOO-ee.
posted by Cash4Lead at 11:03 AM on June 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


Most of you guys don't have a word for this? Really?
posted by maudlin at 11:04 AM on June 5, 2013


I've lectured several times at a German university about varieties of English, including American dialectal variations, and when I show the county-by-county map of soda vs. pop, all those Swabians lose their MINDS at how crazy this sounds to them. I never remember to ask them what they would call it, though.

It doesn't help that I say there's an isogloss for it in my childhood home, running down the main hallway.
posted by knile at 11:04 AM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Do people who say "mischievious" also say "callious" or "nitrious oxide"?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:04 AM on June 5, 2013


On the Bowie knife question (BOH-ee or BOO-ee): I can't speak for Texas, but outside DC is a small town called Bowie, Maryland, and it's pronounced BOO-ee.

I was surprised by the responses to that one. Most of the country really pronounces it wrong? It's named after a guy, and his name is pronounced BOO-ee. Simple.
posted by stopgap at 11:07 AM on June 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


Two problems:

1. No map showing Duck, Duck, Grey Duck vs. Duck, Duck, Goose; and,

2. There is not a helicopter pronounciation map. (My wife and sister both laugh when I saw the word and I'd like to find a part of the country where I would fit in.)
posted by Area Man at 11:09 AM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]




1. No map showing Duck, Duck, Grey Duck vs. Duck, Duck, Goose;

Here you are. Red means "grey duck."
posted by stopgap at 11:13 AM on June 5, 2013 [12 favorites]


Most of you guys don't have a word for this? Really?

I've lived in a few of the places on that map that have no word for rain when the sun is shining. I only remember that happening very rarely in one of those places. It doesn't strike me as unexpected that people would not have a special word for something that either does not exist or is extraordinarily rare to them.

OK, what is going on with Michigan and Philadelphia/New Jersey?

They're going out on the night before Halloween and trashing the neighborhood for fun, so they have a name for that.
posted by The World Famous at 11:14 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe I'm just not finding it, but I want a question asking, "What do you call cookies you bought at the grocery store (as opposed to homemade)?"
1) Store-bought cookies
2) Boughten cookies

One of these answers is obviously ridiculous. I'm looking at you, Wisconsin.
posted by gueneverey at 11:14 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?

I call it rain. What else would you call it?
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 11:16 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


The links appear to be metafiltered right now. Maybe it's from all those people trying to find out how to pronounce GIF.
posted by mcstayinskool at 11:17 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hogies are only in Pennsylvania?
posted by octothorpe at 11:18 AM on June 5, 2013


> Most of you guys don't have a word for this? Really?

The Russian term is грибной дождь [gribnoi dozhd'] 'mushroom rain,' which I love. Me, I call it this.
posted by languagehat at 11:21 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was surprised by the responses to that one. Most of the country really pronounces it wrong? It's named after a guy, and his name is pronounced BOO-ee. Simple.

Yeah, I definitely call it a boo-ee knife. Grew up in a house where David Boo-ee is that singer guy, and whenever you say, "AUUUGHH MOM IT'S DAVID BO-EE WHYYYYY DO YOU SAY THAT," she says, "yes, but it's Jim BOO-ee and no one ever knows that so there."
posted by phunniemee at 11:21 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


This older version of the same survey is not nearly so pretty, but unlike the one in the post, it doesn't suffer from the artificial limitation of requiring only four-or-less answers. (Which results in some questions suffering from impoverished sets of answers.)
posted by ubersturm at 11:21 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


the artificial limitation of requiring only four-or-less answers

Ah, I was wondering where "grinder" had gone.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:22 AM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I definitely call it a boo-ee knife. Grew up in a house where David Boo-ee is that singer guy, and whenever you say, "AUUUGHH MOM IT'S DAVID BO-EE WHYYYYY DO YOU SAY THAT," she says, "yes, but it's Jim BOO-ee and no one ever knows that so there."

Bizarrely, I know who the knife is named for, but I would say Jim Boo-ee ('cause that's how Marty Robbins says it in "Ballad of the Alamo") but Bo-ee Knife.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:24 AM on June 5, 2013


Mischievous has no 'i' after the 'v'. People who pronounce it as if it did are being daft.
posted by Decani at 11:24 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Admiral Haddock: I can't understand how people can live in a world where Mary, merry, and marry are all pronounced the same way.

I know how you feel. Let's ask Murray how he says it.

Now: izzit jist or izzit jest or izzit just?
posted by mule98J at 11:26 AM on June 5, 2013


I simply cannot understand people that use "Coke" to refer to all soda

Waitress: What do you want to drink?
Me: Yeah, can I get a Coke?
Waitress: What kind?
Me: Sprite.
Waitress: I'll be right back with your drink.

How is that at all confusing? heh.
posted by madajb at 11:28 AM on June 5, 2013


I get ribbed on for the lawyer one a lot. The way I say it totally makes sense though because it ends up sounding like "liar".
posted by Bistle at 11:34 AM on June 5, 2013


Good one to start with: Look up the question "What do you call a drive-thru liquor store?"

Is "what the fuck? Drive-thru liquor stores are a thing?" a choice?
posted by madcaptenor at 11:38 AM on June 5, 2013


I shake an angry fist at an uncaring linguistic god when I ask sincerely: How many times do I need to explain that a "water fountain" is something that you see in the middle of a park or an outdoor art gallery, a "drinking fountain" is... something that does not exist, and both of these terms are just a really weird way of saying bubbler?

Corporation-related linguistic divide: It was very strange traveling cross-country for the first time and slowly realizing why gas station attendants would get so incredibly confused whenever I asked if they had a TYME machine.
posted by divined by radio at 11:40 AM on June 5, 2013 [12 favorites]


I'm sitting here saying those words to myself and trying to understand how they could sound different.

I should really learn IPA for this (or make a video, heh) but, here's an attempt:

Merry: MEH-ree (Like "berry)

Mary: mair-REE (Like "hairy")

Marry: MAH-ree (Like "larry")

(Of course, if you pronounce all the examples the same, I can't help you)
posted by madajb at 11:44 AM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I shake an angry fist at an uncaring linguistic god when I ask sincerely: How many times do I need to explain that a "water fountain" is something that you see in the middle of a park or an outdoor art gallery, a "drinking fountain" is... something that does not exist, and both of these terms are just a really weird way of saying bubbler?

The crazy thing about that one is that it exists in two random places: Wisconsin and Rhode Island. I've got no idea how that happened.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:45 AM on June 5, 2013


Of course, if you pronounce all the examples the same, I can't help you

Obviously, they are meant to be pronounced the same way. But some folks insist on mair-y/mah-ry/meh-ry for Mary/marry/merry. It sounds absolutely ridiculous!
posted by stopgap at 11:55 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Devil's Night is a thing in Detroit, we used to burn down hundreds of abandoned homes but now we have run out/there is a group of volunteers that watch arson targets that week. So it's down to a couple dozen or so per year.
posted by wikipedia brown boy detective at 11:55 AM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


maudlin: "Hmm. So much for my "stealth French" hypothesis."

See also Des Moines (Duh Moyn) and Des Plaines (dez plainez).

This is just what happens when you have a large community of semi-literate German-Irish-Scandinavian immigrants trying to agree how to say city names that are Anglophone pronunciations of French phonetic spellings of Algonquian words.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:00 PM on June 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


Yeah, "berry," "hairy," and "Larry" all rhyme to me.

I've seen YouTube videos in which people demonstrate the difference between "Mary," "merry," and "marry." They're like deleted scenes from My Fair Lady.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:00 PM on June 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


The mischevious people are terrible, horrible people. It's a shame that my aunt is among those people.

Yeah, "berry," "hairy," and "Larry" all rhyme to me.


No. Larry does not rhyme with the other two.

Also, Aaron and Erin sound different.
posted by jeather at 12:03 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


To remember the non-rhyming pronunciation of marry, I imagine trying to sound like a sheep: maa-aa-aa-aarry. That's how those people sound to me, at least.
posted by stopgap at 12:04 PM on June 5, 2013


Also, Aaron and Erin sound different.

Now say "Aaron and Mary got married by Larry in Paris." I'll try not to laugh.
posted by stopgap at 12:05 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, "berry," "hairy," and "Larry" all rhyme to me.

To me too. So do Erin and Aaron. I can sometimes hear a difference between Don and Dawn, but I feel pretentious if I try to speak that way.
posted by Area Man at 12:09 PM on June 5, 2013


Now say "Aaron and Mary got married by Larry in Paris." I'll try not to laugh.

You can't even hear me say it (correctly, unlike whatever mutant pronunciations you use).
posted by jeather at 12:09 PM on June 5, 2013


I can't understand how people can live in a world where Mary, merry, and marry are all pronounced the same way.

How ... with song.
posted by phoque at 12:10 PM on June 5, 2013


The regional terms for sunshower are unexpectedly METAL AS FUCK:

b. the wolf is giving birth (0.04%)
c. the devil is beating his wife (6.43%)
d. monkey's wedding (0.16%)
e. fox's wedding (0.15%)
f. pineapple rain (0.03%)
g. liquid sun (0.74%)
posted by theodolite at 12:11 PM on June 5, 2013 [10 favorites]


Huh. This was personally interesting in that it indicated what pronunciations/terms I probably picked up from my parents (Midwesterners) as compared to where I grew up (Northern Virginia).
posted by jocelmeow at 12:18 PM on June 5, 2013


So do Erin and Aaron

When I was a little kid, I thought my cousin Erin and my parents' friend Aaron were the same person. I also figured Aaron was probably my parents' best friend, because they were always going out to run aarons.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:22 PM on June 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I must be weird, because for me Mary and marry are both may-ree, but merry is meh-ree.
posted by Jpfed at 12:24 PM on June 5, 2013


Not complete without the cornhole/corntoss regional distinction.
posted by schleppo at 12:27 PM on June 5, 2013


Obviously, they are meant to be pronounced the same way. But some folks insist on mair-y/mah-ry/meh-ry for Mary/marry/merry. It sounds absolutely ridiculous!

From reading this thread, when the Zombie Apocalypse comes, they'll make an excellent shibboleth.
posted by madajb at 12:36 PM on June 5, 2013


It's impossible for me to distinguish Mary/merry/marry in my accent. It's like asking me to rhyme "sauce" and "course."
posted by gubo at 12:36 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


See also Des Moines (Duh Moyn) and Des Plaines (dez plainez).

This is just what happens when you have a large community of semi-literate German-Irish-Scandinavian immigrants trying to agree how to say city names that are Anglophone pronunciations of French phonetic spellings of Algonquian words.


"Des Moines" and "Des Plaines" are just straight-up French: "of the monks" and "of the plains", respectively.
posted by madcaptenor at 12:39 PM on June 5, 2013


always going out to run aarons

As an Aaron this was deeply confusing to me until I eventually saw it in print. Also "erroneous," which I was certain was just my gladiator name.
posted by theodolite at 12:39 PM on June 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


I can sometimes hear a difference between Don and Dawn

It helps if you pronounce them as they do on Mad Men: "White Don" and "Black Dawn"
posted by Knappster at 12:56 PM on June 5, 2013


This is crap. I refuse to believe that everyone I have ever lived around pronounces "been" as if it rhymes with "sin," instead of being homophonous with "Ben."
posted by psoas at 12:56 PM on June 5, 2013


It's named after a guy

So's Carnegie Hall and yet just about everyone pronounces that incorrectly, so.

Having been born in New Jersey and now living in Massachusetts, I like having a weird mishmash of regionalisms (that are all also completely different from my Oregon-born girlfriend). I kept hoagie (vice sub, or grinder around here), traded traffic circle for rotary, but kept shore instead of calling it the beach.
posted by backseatpilot at 1:01 PM on June 5, 2013


This is crap. I refuse to believe that everyone I have ever lived around pronounces "been" as if it rhymes with "sin," instead of being homophonous with "Ben."

Oh for a draft of vintage! That hath bin
cooled a long age in the deep-delved earth,
tasting of Flora and the country grin,
dance, and Provencal song, and sunburnt mirth!
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:01 PM on June 5, 2013


This is crap. I refuse to believe that everyone I have ever lived around pronounces "been" as if it rhymes with "sin," instead of being homophonous with "Ben."

That would make sense if you were using the pronunciation where E and I sound the same in circumstances like that, which I thought was a Southern thing. I know I pronounce Ben and bin the same, so it would rhyme with sin. I also pronounce pen and pin and tent and tint the same.

I didn't think it was that widespread though; I know it drives plenty of people crazy.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:07 PM on June 5, 2013


It is a well-known fact that Alaska and Hawaii are entirely peopled by mutes 'mutes.

FTFY. Though what they're doing in Hawaii is beyond me.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:19 PM on June 5, 2013


"What do you call a drive-thru liquor store?"

Texan.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:20 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I also pronounce pen and pin and tent and tint the same.

I grew up on the low end of the socioeconomic ladder in Ft Lauderdale and this also held true for us...except we took it a step beyond. "Pin"/"Pen" was pronounced something like "pee-in".

In fact, it was common to hear this sort of exchange:

A: Kin ah borra a pee-in?
B: What kin'? Writin' or sewin'?
A: Writin'.

It took a long while for me drop that very regional pronunciation, but "pin" and "pen" still sound exactly the same coming out of my mouth.
posted by lord_wolf at 1:25 PM on June 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


As I understand it, "carmel" is what you get when you cook sugar. "Caramel" is similar but made with milk.

Right?

Also, I call shenannigans. These maps are just a wee too perfectly shaded and speak more towards confirmation bias than anything else.
posted by zardoz at 1:44 PM on June 5, 2013


Having been born in New Jersey and now living in Massachusetts, I like having a weird mishmash of regionalisms (that are all also completely different from my Oregon-born girlfriend). I kept hoagie (vice sub, or grinder around here), traded traffic circle for rotary, but kept shore instead of calling it the beach.

"Beach" is what it's called in general. "Shore" refers specifically to New Jersey.

(Born in Philadelphia, raised in southern New Jersey, lived in Massachusetts for a while, now in California.)
posted by madcaptenor at 1:48 PM on June 5, 2013


Carmel is a small resort town in California. Clint Eastwood was briefly in charge of it for reasons no one can explain.
posted by theodolite at 1:49 PM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here in central NC, my wife says "the devil's beating his wife" for a sun shower. Also if she's determined to do something she says "tomorrow I'm going to [go to the gym/whatever] if it harelips the governor", which is confusing but awesome. I am also from NC but I had never heard either of these.

Also I guess the cornhole game is "cornhole" but I'm more mystified by this sequence:

1) Live 40 years in various places with friends from all over; have never heard of cornhole or seen anyone play it.
2) A few years ago, see several people playing it in unrelated places and hear it mentioned a few times.
3) This year, notice that everyone has a set, constantly plays outside sports events, and have my financial adviser tell me he's a competitive cornhole player.

It's like this game just popped into the collective consciousness from nowhere. We even have a set now.
posted by freecellwizard at 1:54 PM on June 5, 2013


I never heard of "cornhole" as a game until 7 or 8 years ago... the first time I saw a bar advertise a "cornhole party" I thought it was something completely different. I still have a Beavis-and -Butthead reaction when I see it. Heh... heh... he said "cornhole".
posted by Daily Alice at 2:03 PM on June 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


It's like this game just popped into the collective consciousness from nowhere.

I've observed the same thing. So weird.
posted by The World Famous at 2:14 PM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Huh, I didn't know "mischievious" was a regional dialect form, as opposed to merely an individual error.

Aaand the site is not responding so I'm not even sure what regions it's found in.
posted by edheil at 2:25 PM on June 5, 2013


Man i had years of grade school speech therapy so i can distinsh the hairpin prpnuncation turns in marry/mary/merry/larry/hairy like a damned ninja. I should get a mic and try out that moses supposes his toes are roses thing.
posted by The Whelk at 2:38 PM on June 5, 2013


I've got no idea how that happened.

It's pretty simple -- Harlan Huckleby. (Oh, and Kohler.)
posted by dhartung at 2:40 PM on June 5, 2013


Cornhole Continues to Spread, read more on goatse.cx.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:41 PM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


OK, what is going on with Michigan and Philadelphia/New Jersey?

Philly and their "water ice". Like I was going to give you a glass of water with frozen meat floating in it to cool it down as is the custom in all places outside Philadelphia, but since you were specific I'll use regular old frozen water, or "ice" as we like to call it.
posted by Hoopo at 2:43 PM on June 5, 2013


Philly and their "water ice". Like I was going to give you a glass of water with frozen meat floating in it to cool it down as is the custom in all places outside Philadelphia, but since you were specific I'll use regular old frozen water, or "ice" as we like to call it.

When I was growing up around Philly I learned that one of the main components of comets was "water ice". I was very confused.
posted by madcaptenor at 3:16 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Beach" is what it's called in general. "Shore" refers specifically to New Jersey.

Where I am currently, people go to "the coast", there being a distinct lack of anything you might consider a "beach" along most of the waterline.
posted by madajb at 3:39 PM on June 5, 2013


It was very strange traveling cross-country for the first time and slowly realizing why gas station attendants would get so incredibly confused whenever I asked if they had a TYME machine.

TYME machine and bubbler are shibboleths to weed out newcomers to Wisconsin (especially FIBs). I can also pinpoint your age depending on what you call this building.
posted by desjardins at 4:20 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some of these are like finding out that 50% of the population wipes their butt the wrong way.
posted by desjardins at 4:31 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I, uh, I live in Bowie, MD. Friends back home (Louisiana) frequently mispronounce it.
posted by wintermind at 4:37 PM on June 5, 2013


The weirdest regional word variety I ever encountered was in Central Indiana. (I'm from the Chicago area).

A vacuum cleaner was a sweeper. A bag was a sack. But weirdest of all? A green pepper was called a mango. I have no idea what they called actual mangoes.
posted by bibliogrrl at 4:40 PM on June 5, 2013


But weirdest of all? A green pepper was called a mango. I have no idea what they called actual mangoes.

According to the Word Detective, they call actual mangoes "mangoes".
posted by madcaptenor at 5:12 PM on June 5, 2013


These maps are just a wee too perfectly shaded

They're imputed frequencies generated by smoothing from the raw data, is why they look so nice.
posted by escabeche at 5:23 PM on June 5, 2013


That would make sense if you were using the pronunciation where E and I sound the same in circumstances like that, which I thought was a Southern thing. I know I pronounce Ben and bin the same

Right, but most people who pronounce "been" and "bin" the same, like me, don't pronounce "Ben" the same way. "Ben" is the odd one out of the three. For my own part, I had no idea there were people who pronounced "been" and "Ben" the same but used another pronunciation for "bin."
posted by escabeche at 5:25 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can't get the page to load, so maybe these are already addressed there, but:

Coming from Texas, I knew a few people who pronounced "been", "bin", and "Ben" identically - a really soft, short form of "bee-in".

theodolite: "e. fox's wedding (0.15%)"

I really wish I could see the map for this question, because "fox's wedding" almost certainly comes from Japanese folklore.
posted by Bugbread at 5:50 PM on June 5, 2013


Heard in South Georgia: A soda is a "cold drink", and you don't go home--you "go to the house." Occasionally "I swanee" for "I declare."
posted by Banish Misfortune at 6:18 PM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


"I swanee"? I've barely even travelled in the South, but I'd heard of "I swan" from reading. Do you think that's an alternate pronunciation, or maybe the modern version?
posted by benito.strauss at 7:12 PM on June 5, 2013


GRAR! *kicks server*
posted by deborah at 7:34 PM on June 5, 2013


>> I can't understand how people can live in a world where Mary, merry, and marry are all pronounced the same way.

> I'm sitting here saying those words to myself and trying to understand how they could sound different.


There exist places in the Northeast where people wish each other a Murray (or perhaps myrrh-y?) Christmas.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:40 PM on June 5, 2013


Right, but most people who pronounce "been" and "bin" the same, like me, don't pronounce "Ben" the same way. "Ben" is the odd one out of the three. For my own part, I had no idea there were people who pronounced "been" and "Ben" the same but used another pronunciation for "bin."

Exacto. Well, on the first part. I grew up in CA and now live in DC so I've heard people from all over; for the most part, we non-Southerners pronounce "Ben" and "bin" differently, but contrary to the map's claim, I've always assumed the general pronunciation of "been" to be like the former.
posted by psoas at 7:53 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've always found it weird watching Arrested Development and hearing Ron Howard -- who has lived virtually his whole life in California -- constantly doing the pin=pen thing. I guess Andy Griffith must have really drilled that stuff into him.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:01 PM on June 5, 2013


The musical of Hairspray agrees with me that "been" rhymes with "win" and "within." Which makes sense, since I'm from Maryland.
posted by escabeche at 9:41 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mirrored version here, since the original site has been slammed. (Thanks to Joshua Katz himself for the link!)
posted by Cash4Lead at 6:20 AM on June 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


TIL "mischievous" doesn't have an extra I at the end. I grew up in Ohio and honest to god, until this moment, with all the spelling bees I've been in and papers I've written and reading I've done, I genuinely thought it did. I am not "daft." I apparently just strongly internalized the regional pronunciation I learned and haven't had a lot of reason to write or type that word in my life to realize differently. Jeez, world view turned upside down today.

Also, merry/marry/Mary are indeed all pronounced the same, as are Aaron and Erin, despite every argument my Massachusetts-born ex and I had about that fact. (In all honesty, I can hear the difference when he says the two names -- I am just physically incapable of reproducing that difference myself)
posted by olinerd at 6:51 AM on June 6, 2013


It doesn't strike me as unexpected that people would not have a special word for something that either does not exist or is extraordinarily rare to them.

There's no word for it here in northeast Ohio, but it damn sure rains every way imaginable, sometimes all in the same week.

Also, we have drive-thrus, but they only sell beer and (sometimes) wine. Booze is still covered by the old blue laws.
posted by slogger at 8:08 AM on June 6, 2013


I simply cannot understand people that use "Coke" to refer to all soda. Then again, my wife tells my I sound hilariously uncultured when I use "spaghetti" to refer to all forms of pasta.
posted by Jpfed at 1:56 PM on June 5 [2 favorites +] [!]

IIRC in Gemany most soda (pop, tonic) is called limonade.
posted by Gungho at 9:11 AM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm still wondering how I can believe that Mary and marry sound exactly the same, but that both are distinct from merry.

It might be a Long Island thing. Mare-ee, mare-ee and mer-ee.

I grew up in Chicago, but coincidentally was exposed to a number of people with East coast accents. Not until I was in an undergrad sociology class with an instructor who pointed out the specific differences between the three words that I ever even noticed the difference.

Slightly exaggerated:

Mary = May-ree (almost mee-ree)
Marry = Mare-ree
Merry = Meh-ree (almost mer-ree/Murray)

And if you really want to make people lose their minds, try explaining the oddities of the "oo" words.

roof- I've heard it pronounced like ruff, foot, food
room- I've heard rum in addition to boom, especially in the front-room ("fruntrum") context.
broom- I might have heard brum, but I think that's rare
root- like food or foot, but never rut
posted by gjc at 6:13 AM on June 8, 2013


This is crap. I refuse to believe that everyone I have ever lived around pronounces "been" as if it rhymes with "sin," instead of being homophonous with "Ben."

I think Toronto-style Canadian actually is the most "correct": been almost exactly like bean.

But I have definitely heard bin. I'm not sure if it is actually dialect or laziness. I would imagine a lot of people are saying it "ben" but it comes out "bin" just out of expediency.
posted by gjc at 6:17 AM on June 8, 2013


I live in Massachusetts. I pronounce "been" so that it rhymes with "bin," "tin," and so on.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:29 AM on June 8, 2013


To me too. So do Erin and Aaron. I can sometimes hear a difference between Don and Dawn, but I feel pretentious if I try to speak that way.

I am sending different signals to my mouth when I say Erin or Aaron, but I bet it sounds exactly the same.

And the Don Dawn thing I think needs to be further explored. There are the people who say gawd for God, and they would likely say Dawn for Don. (They are incorrect.) But on the other hand, there are people who would say Don and God like "ah", and would also drop the "w" in Dawn. Sort of a Minnesota thing.
posted by gjc at 6:32 AM on June 8, 2013


I think Toronto-style Canadian actually is the most "correct": been almost exactly like bean.

There is the occasional "bean" in Toronto, especially among the older generations, and often for emphasis (e.g., "I haven't beeen there") but I'm pretty sure it's otherwise mostly "bin."

And, well, the Ontarian habit of substituting æ for ɑː (as in pasta) is terrible enough on its own to throw the whole premise right out the window.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:30 AM on June 8, 2013


Reading this thread: "Holy crap, 'again' did rhyme with 'rain,' and 'been' with 'green,' and if I were an old Torontonian, they would still rhyme."
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:32 AM on June 8, 2013


I think Toronto-style Canadian actually is the most "correct": been almost exactly like bean.

Don't ask me. I'm still flapping my mouth helplessly and crying.
posted by maudlin at 9:44 AM on June 8, 2013


I am so thrilled that someone has done this. The fact that the previous dialect surveys always seem to use point maps instead of heat maps has been a source of endless frustration to me, because it's really hard to see what the data is really telling you. I am going to be poring over this for a long while.

Also: am I seriously the only person who calls the stuff in the corner of your eyes "sleeping sand"? I actually just went and took the Cambridge survey and it wasn't even an option.
posted by capricorn at 2:03 PM on June 8, 2013


As for addressing people in groups--where is the Philadelphia-area "yous?" (As in 'yous guys.) Is it just a small enough linguistic anomaly that it's not worth addressing?
posted by ActionPopulated at 6:32 AM on June 9, 2013


"Youse guys" is definitely a thing in Wisconsin/Upper Michigan.
posted by desjardins at 7:42 AM on June 9, 2013




There's a lot of...curious translations on that map. "Santa Cruz" means "holy cross," for one, and if you're going to give Mexico and California such florid (sorry, "blooming") names, why refer to Calexico as "Mexico & California"?
posted by psoas at 7:56 PM on June 19, 2013


A survey for the rest of us anglophones.
posted by jeather at 4:47 AM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


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