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My first language is Norwegian
June 3, 2014 10:51 AM   Subscribe

There are lots of dialects of English. Which one do you speak?
posted by jeather (183 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Canadian!

i am not Canadian
posted by HumanComplex at 10:58 AM on June 3


I am also not Canadian but I believe in the justice.
posted by unsupervised at 10:59 AM on June 3 [12 favorites]


1. Canadian
2. American (Standard)
3. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics

I am Canadian
posted by 256 at 11:00 AM on June 3


More to the point, I have known a lot of speakers of both American Standard English and AAVE and, while I can identify where the AAVE speakers might differ on these questions, I can't see where the American Standard speakers would answer differently than a Canadian Standard speaker.
posted by 256 at 11:01 AM on June 3


If you mouse over the question mark where it says the dialects, it tells you why it guessed Canadian vs SAE and Canadian vs other Commonwealth dialects.
posted by jeather at 11:03 AM on June 3


1. Canadian
2. American (Standard)
3. Singapore


Huh. (I am from the Northeast US.)
posted by maryr at 11:03 AM on June 3


1. Canadian
2. American (Standard)
3. Singaporean

And I am from California. ;o)
posted by msjen at 11:03 AM on June 3


1. English (England)
2. Australian
3. Welsh (UK)

Mexican, who started learning English in the US at 5. ????
posted by Partario at 11:04 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


Our top three guesses for your English dialect:
1. American (Standard)
2. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics
3. Canadian

Huh, I grew up around people speaking AAVE (or Black Vernacular or whatever) and I could identify the phrases that were in AAVE grammar but I didn't pick them. Or at least I thought I didn't. I guess I absorbed more of it into my grammar than I thought.

Our top three guesses for your native (first) language:
1. English
2. Dutch
3. Norwegian

Huh, Engish is my second language, but my first is neither of those. Wrong on both counts, quiz!
posted by griphus at 11:05 AM on June 3


256 - it might be some of the word choices. I thought the choice of correct sentences "I finished my homework" and "I finished with my homework" were interesting. Both seem correct to me, although phrasing the latter as "I'm finished with my homework" sounds slightly more natural.
posted by maryr at 11:06 AM on June 3


Huh.

Guesses for my dialect:

1. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics
2. South African
3. New Zealand

Guesses for my native language:

1. English
2. Dutch
3. Norwegian



(American of Hispanic and Caucausian descent)
posted by Kitteh at 11:06 AM on June 3


It thought Norwegian was my first language, too.

I don't know what to think about that.
posted by Curious Artificer at 11:08 AM on June 3


Dialect:

1. American (Standard)
2. Singaporean
3. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics

Native Language:

1. Norwegian
2. English
3. Swedish

I'm from Long Island, though I *did* live in Singapore for 6 months, la.
posted by grumpybear69 at 11:08 AM on June 3


1. English
2. Scottish
3. Welsh

Which given I'm a native English speaker from the north or midlands of England, is spot on.
posted by Thing at 11:09 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


I am not sure this is prepared for the amount of traffic we're bringing it. (She says grumpily, after having to restart. )
posted by corb at 11:09 AM on June 3


I didn't want to say I had lived in the District of Columnbia, so I chose Washington, DC instead.
posted by MtDewd at 11:10 AM on June 3 [2 favorites]


Dialect:
1. American (Standard)
2. Australian
3. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics

Native Language:
1. English
2. Norwegian
3. Dutch

I'm from Texas and have lived here all my life. I don't speak any language other than English.
posted by LizBoBiz at 11:11 AM on June 3


from michigan:

1. American (Standard)
2. Singaporean
3. Canadian
posted by rebent at 11:11 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


It really, really likes to guess Norwegian.
posted by jeather at 11:12 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


1. Canadian
2. American (Standard)
3. Singaporean

How peculiar. I'm native to Maryland, but I'm comfortable with UK English. Maybe that averages out to Canada somehow?
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:12 AM on June 3


Dialect:

1. American (Standard)
2. Singaporean
3. Welsh (UK)

Native Language:

1. English
2. Romanian
3. Swedish

Umm, my native language is Korean ...
posted by needled at 11:12 AM on June 3


1. Canadian
2. American (Standard)
3. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics


Very impressive, Mr. Computer!
posted by Kevin Street at 11:12 AM on June 3


For guesses on my native language:
1. English
2. Swedish
3. Norwegian

English Dialect:
1. American (Standard)
2. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics
3. Canadian - See more at:
posted by corb at 11:12 AM on June 3


Dialect:

1. American (Standard)
2. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics
3. Singaporean

Native Language:

1. English
2. German
3. Dutch

I don't speak German or Dutch (a little French) and am from the Northeast US with time spent in the Midwest. They could just put a rotary question in there and get all the Massachusetts people out of the way.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 11:13 AM on June 3 [2 favorites]


Our top three guesses for your English dialect:
1. American (Standard)
2. Canadian
3. Singaporean
Our top three guesses for your native (first) language:
1. English
2. Norwegian
3. Dutch

(I'm American). Some of them seemed obviously UK English or AAVE, and I didn't pick them even though I knew they were "grammatical" for other people, but some just looked plain wrong/weird to me, so I wonder what those were.
posted by sweetkid at 11:15 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


Our top three guesses for your English dialect:
1. American (Standard)
2. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics
3. Welsh (UK)

My dialect (idiolect?) is mostly American plus Yorkshire, so that's kind of an interesting result. Why Wales? I couldn't tell you anything specific to Welsh English, to be honest.

Our top three guesses for your native (first) language:
1. Norwegian
2. English
3. Swedish

Who wants to bet they had a couple Norwegians take it early on?
posted by hoyland at 11:16 AM on June 3 [4 favorites]


1. American (Standard)
2. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics
3. Canadian


You're probably orders of magnitude from 1 to 3 but given the region you're natively from, northeastern USA myself, the algorithm probably supplies the top three regardless of variation because that's the way they've written the program.

Also Norwegian and Dutch because they use proper English and not the other European variants where English is easily transliterated over translated.
posted by jsavimbi at 11:17 AM on June 3 [3 favorites]


Something that fascinates me is how the machine can tell a Canadian dialect from an American one, when we've all grown up absorbing American books and pop culture. Somehow some difference remains, though who knows where it comes from.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:17 AM on June 3 [2 favorites]


I wonder if some of the errors are from overly-generous assumptions of what answers might be correct? Like, I said okay, "I believe in the justice" isn't something I would ever say (unless I was in a movie and telling another character "I believe in the justice! He speaketh truth!") but it's reasonably grammatical in some narrow sense so I marked it as a possible answer. I think I did that a couple of times.
posted by Curious Artificer at 11:19 AM on June 3 [2 favorites]


It certainly couldn't tell my Canadian dialect. I got Australian, New Zealand, South Africa, and most likely first languages were Romanian and Chinese. Erp.
posted by arcticwoman at 11:22 AM on June 3


yeah, I was pretty ruthless about picking things I would actually say, and didn't pick things I know to be correct in other dialects.
posted by sweetkid at 11:22 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


1) US Black Vernacular / Ebonics
2) English (UK)
3) Australian

Native guesses were:

1) English
2) Dutch
3) Hungarian (!?)
posted by MartinWisse at 11:23 AM on June 3


I was unclear on whether I should be marking according to active or passive grammar. I.e., is this something I would say, or something that wouldn't strike me as weird if I heard it?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:24 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


Dutch is my native language, and I speak English with a US Black Vernacular dialect. Interesting.
posted by scody at 11:24 AM on June 3


I marked "I believe in the justice" as correct because I agree with a lot that Kagan, for example, has to say.
posted by maryr at 11:24 AM on June 3 [6 favorites]




1. Canadian
2. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics
3. American (Standard)

Wut. Im from NJ.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:26 AM on June 3


I'm not sure what the goal of "the sun is in ____ sky" is -- I accept "a" and "the", but I read a lot of sff. (And I can't tell who is doing the scaring in the chicken picture.)

"1. Canadians, Irish, and Scottish accept I'm finished my homework instead of with my homework.

2. Americans, Canadians, and South Africans accept I sent my mother a letter instead of to my mother.

3. Some Australians and New Zealanders will say, 'She's raining outside' instead of 'It's raining outside.'"
posted by jeather at 11:26 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


yeah, I was pretty ruthless about picking things I would actually say, and didn't pick things I know to be correct in other dialects.

Yeah, I did the same thing.

Also, what's the verdict on "Who whom kissed?" Is that grammatically correct based on standard American grammar, correct in a certain dialect or just incorrect?
posted by griphus at 11:27 AM on June 3


Our top three guesses for your English dialect:
1. Canadian
2. American (Standard)
3. Australian

Our top three guesses for your native (first) language:
1. English
2. Norwegian
3. Dutch


Well, this confounded machine has sussed me out: I am indeed a Canadian who grew up speaking English. I wonder what in my grammar leads it to hazard a guess that I might be a Dutch-born Australian.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:29 AM on June 3


Curious Artificer: It thought Norwegian was my first language, too. I don't know what to think about that.

I guess de virkelig liker norsk!
posted by wenestvedt at 11:29 AM on June 3 [6 favorites]


Oh yeah - growing up in Door County, WI with the huge Belgian ancestry population (largest Belgian population outside of Belgium, IIRC)...

"T'row da cow over da fence some hay" was perfectly legit.
posted by symbioid at 11:34 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


Our top three guesses for your English dialect:

1. American (Standard)
2. Canadian
3. South African

Our top three guesses for your native (first) language:

1. English
2. Norwegian
3. Swedish

Yep. Born & raised in California by native American English speakers.
posted by janey47 at 11:36 AM on June 3


Spookily accurate for me.

1. English (UK)
2. English (Republic of Ireland)
3. English (Ursine)
posted by fallingbadgers at 11:36 AM on June 3 [2 favorites]


wtf? We won the game... we did? WTF?
posted by symbioid at 11:37 AM on June 3


1. Canadian
2. American (Standard)
3. Singaporean

I grew up in Philadelphia, eh.
posted by Rob Rockets at 11:38 AM on June 3 [3 favorites]


Our top three guesses for your native (first) language:

1. Norwegian
2. English
3. Swedish


I totally grew up in the deep south and have a fairly thick southern accent and dialect, but somehow this quiz knew I was born in Minnesota!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:39 AM on June 3


Our top three guesses for your English dialect:
1. American (Standard)
2. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics
3. Canadian

Our top three guesses for your native (first) language:
1. English
2. Norwegian
3. Swedish

This seems to fairly standard for born-and-raised, later than 3rd generation U.S.A. folk. Though I must insist that I'm 1/32 Swedish, not 1/32 Norwegian!
posted by benito.strauss at 11:39 AM on June 3


Also, what's the verdict on "Who whom kissed?" Is that grammatically correct based on standard American grammar, correct in a certain dialect or just incorrect?

I think it may be there to tease out non-native speakers who know that "who kissed whom" is okay, and generalize from their mother tongue that "who whom kissed" might be okay too.
posted by Thing at 11:40 AM on June 3


Also - are we supposed to go with what we KNOW is correct or what we grew up with and kind of accept as a sort of lazy vulgar/commoner speak? I'm going with the second just to get a real handle on what they're actually after.
posted by symbioid at 11:42 AM on June 3


Also - are we supposed to go with what we KNOW is correct or what we grew up with and kind of accept as a sort of lazy vulgar/commoner speak?

Correct according to who?
posted by 256 at 11:45 AM on June 3


Lazy speak, symbioid. You just give it the first answer that comes into your mind.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:46 AM on June 3


Dialect:
1. American (Standard)
2. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics
3. Singaporean

Language:
1. English
2. Norwegian
3. Swedish

For the record, I'm a New York City native with a newfound interest in Singaporean English.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 11:46 AM on June 3 [2 favorites]


Also - are we supposed to go with what we KNOW is correct or what we grew up with and kind of accept as a sort of lazy vulgar/commoner speak?

Correct according to who
m?

There are instructions in the beginning for that.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:47 AM on June 3 [2 favorites]


Our top three guesses for your English dialect:
1. American (Standard)
2. Canadian
3. Singaporean

Our top three guesses for your native (first) language:
1. English
2. Norwegian
3. Dutch
posted by symbioid at 11:49 AM on June 3


Our top three guesses for your English dialect:
1. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics
2. New Zealand
3. American (Standard)

Our top three guesses for your native (first) language:
1. Norwegian
2. English
3. Dutch

Soooo...I'm a Black Norwegian?
Ok. I'll roll with that for awhile and see where it gets me.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:49 AM on June 3 [2 favorites]


Our top three guesses for your English dialect:
1. South African
2. Singaporean
3. New Zealand

I've never been to any of these countries, but have spent months in the US (Southwest, Northwest) and a few weeks in the UK (England, Wales) and Kenya.

Our top three guesses for your native (first) language:
1. English
2. German
3. Romanian

German is my first language, I don't speak anything besides German, English and a tiny bit of French.

Usually quizzes like this one tend to think I'm from the Southwest, which seems logical because I spent more time there than in any English-speaking area of the world. These results have me baffled...
posted by amf at 11:52 AM on June 3


Meh. This survey seemed to be really narrow and poorly considered. All it seemed to try to decide was whether I was black or white.

This dialect survey is much more interesting.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:53 AM on June 3 [3 favorites]


I did this quiz a while ago and it thinks I'm some sort of UK colonial (Aussie or South African). I'm a native Texan with a strong UK influence (lived in the UK for a formative period, studied British medieval history) and I have no idea what it was thinking.
posted by immlass at 11:54 AM on June 3


Lazy vulgar/commoner speak is the correctest speech.

(There is actually going to be a 'prescriptivist' factor at play with those multiple choice questions--people who are familiar with the constructions but don't understand what grammatical means probably won't mark them correct.)
posted by ernielundquist at 11:55 AM on June 3


1. Canadian
2. American (Standard)
3. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics

Our top three guesses for your native (first) language:
1. English
2. Swedish
3. Dutch

At first I was impressed that the quiz had nailed it, but it seems there are lot of false-positive Canadian MeFites.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 11:55 AM on June 3


A President Obama lives in the White House.
posted by eugenen at 11:56 AM on June 3


we've all grown up absorbing American books and pop culture.

Books plural, culture ditto. Lot of variation in American culture, from Valley girls to Eddie Murphy to Dolly Parton to the Sopranos. (Which is presumably why white dude I got Ebonics for the silver.)
posted by IndigoJones at 11:56 AM on June 3


This is really trying not to be a dialect-by-vocab survey, which is fun but there are a lot of them already. This is trying to be a dialect-by-syntax survey.
posted by jeather at 11:57 AM on June 3


A President Obama lives in the White House.

It's all in the punctuation: A President, Obama, lives in the White House.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:58 AM on June 3 [1 favorite]


I also think the focus on calling the sentences "grammatical" was a mistake. I interpreted this to mean "choose the constructions you would actually use in writing or speech".
posted by [expletive deleted] at 11:58 AM on June 3 [4 favorites]


In one of the questions I wanted to say "Sorry to bother you over the weekend but it wasn't an option," it was only at, on, and under.
posted by sweetkid at 11:58 AM on June 3 [6 favorites]


Canadian, Canadian. "I'm finished my homework" is something an actual child here would say.
posted by maledictory at 11:59 AM on June 3


1. North Irish (UK)
2. Irish (Republic of)
3. Scottish (UK)

As a Dubliner who has been in Scotland since 2001 I think this was a good result.
posted by hfnuala at 11:59 AM on June 3


In one of the questions I wanted to say "Sorry to bother you over the weekend but it wasn't an option," it was only at, on, and under.

Yeah, the one about "The man ____" one had the same issue -- I wanted to say "who". But my assumption is that everyone will accept 'over' or 'who' in those constructions, so they're not good at teasing apart differences.
posted by jeather at 12:00 PM on June 3 [5 favorites]


I'm a Newfoundlander, and I was pleased to see the shout-out to Newfoundland English in the opening blurb. However, the following list feels like a computer trying to deal with Newfoundland English without actually knowing what it is, or that it's a possible result:

1. Scottish (UK)
2. North Irish (UK)
3. South African
posted by erlking at 12:01 PM on June 3 [2 favorites]


Canadian, first language English. Yup.
posted by fimbulvetr at 12:02 PM on June 3


I also think the focus on calling the sentences "grammatical" was a mistake. I interpreted this to mean "choose the constructions you would actually use in writing or speech".

I'm perfectly happy to accept that "shan't" is grammatical, but I would never use it. On the other hand, the AAVE phrasing doesn't come naturally to me.
posted by maledictory at 12:06 PM on June 3


Our top three guesses for your English dialect:
1. American (Standard)
2. Singaporean
3. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics

Our top three guesses for your native (first) language:
1. English
2. Norwegian
3. Swedish


Is Singaporean English closer to American English? I figured they'd be more British sounding.
posted by ChuckRamone at 12:07 PM on June 3


Might be a matter of sample sizes. I got US Standard/Black Vernacular/Singaporean.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:09 PM on June 3



1. South African
2. New Zealand
3. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics

which is interesting because I'm a Canadian who has lived in Canada all my life and raised by people of Nordic heritage, but have also lived in Canada their lives.

Maybe Alberta is weird with language?
posted by right_then at 12:12 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


I think I might have screwed up my own results.

Like, I kept on seeing questions that were obviously UK English, and I overthought it all and kept on going "But what would I SAY" rather than "What is accurate and that you can live with?"

Which would be why, even after 14 years of living in this country, the quiz plonks me right down in American Standard with the possibility of Canadian or African American Vernacular.

I should take it again, but I might start being too amused by those cartoons at the beginning and skew my results again.

(Look at that chicken! Startle that lion!)
posted by Katemonkey at 12:21 PM on June 3 [3 favorites]


It amuses me that I got Norwegian and Swedish as second and third guesses for native language. Throughout the quiz, whenever I saw a sentence with odd subject-verb agreement, I'd read it in Skwisgaar's or Toki's voice.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:24 PM on June 3


It blew up at about 60% progress and I didn't feel like starting over.
posted by Foosnark at 12:35 PM on June 3


I wonder, were those early questions regarding who does what to whom (the elephant bit the lion, etc.) there just an are-you-human check? Did anyone actually have any doubt about those? Because I can't see such a binary choice really varying in meaning at all no matter what English you speak...
posted by Arandia at 12:40 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


Those passive voice questions really irritated the English major part of me.
posted by sweetkid at 12:42 PM on June 3 [5 favorites]


The quiz correctly guessed that I am Canadian :-)
posted by Quiplash at 12:44 PM on June 3


Dialect:

1. American (Standard)
2. Canadian
3. Australian

Native Language:

1. English
2. Norwegian
3. Chinese
posted by zakur at 12:45 PM on June 3


What are the Canadianisms in there?
posted by sweetkid at 12:45 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


I wonder, were those early questions regarding who does what to whom (the elephant bit the lion, etc.) there just an are-you-human check?

Probably a native speaker check. They're tortured but comprehensible if you're a native speaker, but hard or impossible to parse if you aren't native or near native. (Not all of them, of course.) I'd also guess that people with the same first non-English language will make the same patterns of errors there.
posted by jeather at 12:45 PM on June 3 [2 favorites]


I am working on a quiz that will tell you which corner of the internet you're from:

This is where I chill. This is where I relax. This is where I _____.

A) chill and relax
B) chill, or relax.
C) chillax
D) take my repose


Haters ___________.

A) gonna hate
B) be hatin'
C) be hatin' on ya
D) fuck 'em

etc.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 12:50 PM on June 3 [12 favorites]


It also thinks I'm Canadian. I went to Toronto once! Do other Americans really not say "I'm finished my homework?" That's what I would say.
posted by interplanetjanet at 12:51 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


Impressive. Correctly guessed that I am .za.
posted by PenDevil at 12:53 PM on June 3


That was fun. Thanks, jeather!

Our top three guesses for your English dialect:
1. English (England)
2. Welsh (UK)
3. Scottish (UK)

Our top three guesses for your native (first) language:
1. English
2. Hungarian
3. Chinese

I am indeed a native speaker of English (England), so that's not bad at all; but I'd love to know what in my answers made their algorithm come up with Hungarian and Chinese as possibilities...
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 12:54 PM on June 3


My results:
1. American (Standard)
2. Singaporean
3. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics

Native speaker:
1. English
2. Norwegian
3. Swedish

Some guesses:
I think Americans are likely to get 'US Black Vernacular / Ebonics' as a result, even if you don't feel very familiar with it, because it descends from American English and therefore shares many similarities.
I've heard that Norwegian, Swedish, and Dutch bear more structural similarity to American English than other European languages, which might result in them appearing in the results of native English speakers.
I think a lot of scientific and technical reading or writing experience, or connection to the internet culture, will bias someone toward American English as it seems the most common dialect used.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:56 PM on June 3


Whatever your native language, can we agree that pouring wine into a cup is bad form unless there are no wine glasses available?

Note: goblets and the skulls of your defeated enemies are also ok, if you are going to quaff the wine rather than merely drink or sip it.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:56 PM on June 3 [2 favorites]


Our top three guesses for your English dialect:
1. New Zealand
2. Australian
3. Welsh (UK)


Ha! It's been three years since I was there but clearly still got it.

(Yeah I'm a Kiwi. I live in Germany, Ireland before that, and my whole accent/dialect thing has got rather confused over the past six months)
posted by shelleycat at 12:58 PM on June 3


I want to know why they think I am Canadian but I do not wish to retake the test. Curses!
posted by Justinian at 1:01 PM on June 3


There were some I was confused by. For example, one of the "choose all correct answers" ones was "They ________ be traveling, but I'm not sure." The obvious answer to me is "may", meaning "I am not sure whether they are traveling or not". And none of other answers give the same meaning. BUT I can conceive of other meanings for which they'd be fine; for example "would" would be fine in response to "What would they be doing if they had free time and money? And what would you be doing if you had free time and money?".

So it seems like I should be marking "would" as grammatical, but at the same time the sentence seems so very contrived when compared to "may" that I'm not sure whether they're really asking for all grammatical sentences or else if they're asking for all grammatical sentences that have the same basic meaning as the non-contrived grammatical sentence.
posted by Flunkie at 1:01 PM on June 3


1. Singaporean
2. American (Standard)
3. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics

I'm Canadian.
posted by sgrass at 1:04 PM on June 3


It also thinks I'm Canadian. I went to Toronto once! Do other Americans really not say "I'm finished my homework?" That's what I would say.

There are probably all kinds of geographic and biographic subtleties to dialect that the algorithm is currently insensitive to, but if lots of different people take the test it will presumably get better. I wonder if it can handle hundreds of thousands or even a million results. What kind of sample size would you need to get decent accuracy?
posted by Kevin Street at 1:07 PM on June 3


Interesting that they determine Canadianism by "finished [with] my homework". I regularly ran into:

- Tabled(submitted) vs. Tabled(removed)
- Eavestroughs vs. Gutters
- First Nations vs Indians/Natives
- Tap vs. Faucet

And don't get me started about parkades...
posted by flyingfox at 1:08 PM on June 3


Do other Americans really not say "I'm finished my homework?" That's what I would say.


One datapoint; I would not have guessed that a native English speaking American would say that! Hearing it, I would assume that English was a second language because I would expect a native speaker of American English to say "I've finished my homework".
posted by Justinian at 1:09 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


Our top three guesses for your English dialect:
1. American (Standard)
2. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics
3. Singaporean


I grew up in the midwestern US, I'm pretty much a WASP. I can kind of get #2, but where'd they pull #3 out of?
posted by marxchivist at 1:10 PM on June 3


(Or I'm finished WITH my homework since the quiz is looking for a word in that space).
posted by Justinian at 1:11 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


"3. Some Australians and New Zealanders will say, 'She's raining outside' instead of 'It's raining outside.' "

True... but only as slang. I think most would still choose the latter as more grammatically correct.

Sorry. Stone the crows, cobber, she's a flamin' dog's breakfast!
posted by Chipeaux at 1:11 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


I also am American, and I also absolutely would not say "I'm finished my homework". It sounds very unnatural to my ear, to the point where (if I did not know differently) I would assume that someone who said it is not a native speaker of English.

I would say "I've finished my homework", or "I'm finished with my homework", but absolutely not "I'm finished my homework".
posted by Flunkie at 1:12 PM on June 3 [2 favorites]


I would expect UK/Irish/Aussie English native speakers to say "I'm finished my homework" like "gone down the pub" or something but then I saw this that says it's a Canadianism.
posted by sweetkid at 1:12 PM on June 3


Is there some trick to getting this thing to work?
posted by Area Man at 1:13 PM on June 3


Yes, I think it's why it thinks I'm Canadian, but I would certainly say I'm finished my homework, I'm finished my dessert, I'm finished my dissertation. Maybe it's a Philly thing.
posted by interplanetjanet at 1:15 PM on June 3


Not that mine aware, but there may some trick in getting this thing would work.
posted by Flunkie at 1:15 PM on June 3 [2 favorites]


What are the Canadianisms in there?

Maybe MeFites are more likely to make the 'prescriptivist' choice, and that most closely matches the language in the test that Canadians would use while speaking?

Put another way, maybe the average American would recognize/use more of the 'vernacular' answers?

I think it would need actual Canadianisms to correct for this (other than "I'm finished by homework"), but then the test would be getting into differences in spelling and vocabulary, not grammar.

How about: does this sound valid to you, even if the accident did not involve one of your buddies, or anyone you know personally: "I witnessed a car accident today. Buddy drove straight into a lamp post"
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 1:16 PM on June 3


At that point you might as well simply ask if your milk comes in plastic bags.
posted by Justinian at 1:18 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]



How about: does this sound valid to you, even if the accident did not involve one of your buddies, or anyone you know personally: "I witnessed a car accident today. Buddy drove straight into a lamp post"


Nope? Although maybe? I can see people in upstate NY saying that and that's close to Canada.
posted by sweetkid at 1:18 PM on June 3


I wonder if MIT is sharing the results with the NSA.

Study participation is anonymous and confidential. We do not ask or store your identity.

Who thinks the NSA is studying this data whether MIT feels like sharing or no?

(I also got the bizarre Norwegian -- Swedish guess.)
posted by bukvich at 1:20 PM on June 3


On the topic of "I'm finished my homework", I remember learning French and the teacher having to tell us not to say "Je suis fini" (literally, I am finished), but instead to say "J'ai fini" (I have finished). Maybe this wouldn't have been as necessary for children raised to say "I've finished".
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 1:20 PM on June 3


1. Canadian
2. American (Standard)
3. Singapore

I, too, am from the Northeast US.
posted by jaruwaan at 1:22 PM on June 3


Nope? Although maybe?

I was half joking, but it sounds like it could be a good enough question to filter out how is an actual Canadian, without getting into spelling or vocabulary.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 1:22 PM on June 3


"I am finished" sounds perfectly reasonable. It's only when you add an object to the sentence that it gets wonky.
posted by Justinian at 1:23 PM on June 3


Maybe Norwegians and Swedes who are internet practiced use better English than Americans on average? I hope that isn't true but I would be interested in the MIT folks opinion on that.
posted by bukvich at 1:24 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


Ooooh, you said "better". That's gonna be a problem.
posted by Justinian at 1:25 PM on June 3


Many of my Finnish friends' did this and based on their responses I have to say that it is very good at catching Finnish English, even with proficient speakers who use English in everyday communication. Maybe something to do with prepositions, Finnish uses different logic altogether with those.

It says somewhere in there that Singapore is hard to distinguish from standard American, so I guess it does not mean the heavy Singapore-Chinese variant.
posted by ikalliom at 1:27 PM on June 3


People who speak a first language other than English are likely to answer the questions in a more formal manner, with less slang. Europeans who have spent their childhoods watching American shows like the Simpsons will probably answer more informally than (hypothetically, I've no idea if this is true) Singaporeans who first encountered English as a subject in middle school or university.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:28 PM on June 3


Do other Americans really not say "I'm finished my homework?"

My wife, from Rhode Island, says things in that fashion. *shrug* My teeth grind but I -- Midwestern born -- am learning to live with it.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:31 PM on June 3


"Data not recorded, please try again later" FFS.
posted by Joh at 1:35 PM on June 3


"Data not recorded, please try again later" FFS.

I can take this, you get
1. Scottish (UK)
2. English (English)
3. Welsh (UK)
posted by ikalliom at 1:37 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


Get your wife to take the quiz wenestvedt and then we can get them to update it!
posted by interplanetjanet at 1:38 PM on June 3


Dialects:
1. North Irish (UK)
2. Scottish (UK)
3. Irish (Republic of)

Native Speaker:
1. English
2. Swedish
3. Norwegian

I'm legitimately flummoxed--this is so far away from what I would've expected to get that I actually went back and did it a second time, being more precise about only selecting things I'd say, and got...exactly the same answer. Good to know, I guess?
posted by MeghanC at 1:44 PM on June 3


Dialects:
1. Scottish
2. English
3. Welsh

I am Scottish, though am a pedant and speak without an accent, so I'm slightly surprised there were enough cues to guess/analyse correctly.
posted by opsin at 1:54 PM on June 3


though am a pedant and speak without an accent

This is literally impossible. All speech is accented; just some accents are naturalized as 'correct' by ideology.
posted by erlking at 2:01 PM on June 3 [2 favorites]


I know the whole point is that "good" English is relative, and the algorithm is still in training, but I'm disconcerted at being taken for a non-native speaker. I am, however, extraordinarily pretentious and stilted in my speech, so there is that.

I sent this feedback prior to seeing its guess:
Certain questions assume a real-world knowledge of animals or American politics. It is not obvious that reasonably everyone knows the difference between a lion and a bear, or that the president of the USA is Obama--or for that matter, that he lives in the White House. Most English speakers--presumably many of whom will take this quiz--reside in other countries. Also, the drawings are either too small (such as the one in which the animals were hugging) or too individually styled to be universal. The images should be same-sized and color-free for reasons of clarity and consistency. I suggest replacing animals with a more basic category, like simple shapes: e.g. "the square is on top of the circle," "on top of the circle is the square." Finally, while I haven't yet read your followup questions about dialect, I wonder whether they assume only one region of origin and maturation. I was born in California, raised in Oregon from ages 6 to 25, returned to California until 27, and recently transported to Texas. So is my dialect an amalgam? Does "the internet" in any sense count as a region?

I hope I haven't wasted your time with my musing; thanks for the quiz, it was fun.
Our top three guesses for your English dialect:
1. Singaporean
2. American (Standard)
3. Australian

Our top three guesses for your native (first) language:
1. Norwegian
2. English
3. Swedish
posted by troll at 2:01 PM on June 3


I am also not Canadian but I believe in the justice.

I am Canadian, and I spent way too long thinking about whether believing in the justice was grammatically sensible enough to allow. I mean, there is justice, and then there is justice. Is the kind of justice practised here that which we can call true justice? Any idea of the grand concept of justice depends on an ever-changing landscape of shifting moral ideals that have been building new complexities and new ideas of justice for millennia. One man's justice is not another's. What about the justice in question here, do I believe in it? Do I believe in the justice? Could I believe, if I gave it some effort? Oh I don't know, let's just click 'next'.

Then I remembered that in American (at least) it's commonplace to refer to (for example) "a justice" of the supreme court.
posted by sfenders at 2:14 PM on June 3


Our top three guesses for your English dialect:

1. Scottish (UK)
2. Welsh (UK)
3. Australian

Our top three guesses for your native (first) language:

1. Norwegian
2. English
3. Swedish


what
posted by lonefrontranger at 2:23 PM on June 3


Our top three guesses for your English dialect:
1. American (Standard)
2. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics
3. South African

Our top three guesses for your native (first) language:
1. English
2. Norwegian
3. Dutch
Dane, living in Germany for five years now but using English as working language. I've been accused of being South African by a Brit before.
posted by brokkr at 2:24 PM on June 3


Top three guesses for my English dialect:

1. Canadian
2. South African
3. American (Standard)

Top three guesses for my native language:
1. English
2. Swedish
3. Dutch

(Canadian, trained as a technical writer)
Some of those sentences were grammatically correct, but not necessarily anything that anyone would say in normal speech.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 2:26 PM on June 3


A President Obama lives in the White House.
It's all in the punctuation: A President, Obama, lives in the White House.


Yeah, this. There were umpteen selections where, for want of a couple of commas here and there, they would have been perfectly fine.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:31 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


I got Singaporean, Australian and American Standard, in that order. I'm from India and have been living in the US for the past 7 years.
posted by peacheater at 2:34 PM on June 3


I don't think Singaporean English here refers to Singlish, but possibly a fairly formal, slightly-outdated-textbook way of expressing oneself in English. I did not check an answer for "The man _____ arrived yesterday needs a wakeup call at nine." because the only correct answer to that is "who", which wasn't on the list. I could not bring myself to click "that" AT ALL, due in no small part to memories of bad-tempered prescriptivist teachers and having to write out twenty lines of corrections for every mistake made, if we weren't hit with a ruler/caned.

My results were uncanny. They reflected where I grew up, my native languages, and where I spent most of my adult life.
posted by peripathetic at 2:35 PM on June 3


This is literally impossible. All speech is accented; just some accents are naturalized as 'correct' by ideology.

Fair point, I forget English is an international language in that regard. I guess I speak with an English accent, but no regional one, and not RP, so in British terms it strikes people as accentless.
posted by opsin at 2:46 PM on June 3


Then I remembered that in American (at least) it's commonplace to refer to (for example) "a justice" of the supreme court.

Not to get too far afield from grammar, but people say that in Canada you know. You could say:

- The Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada;
- Madam Justice Jane Smith of the Court of Appeal;
- "Yes, Justice, that is an interesting question however I have not received instructions on that point";
- "When Constable Smith telephoned the Justice of the Peach for a warrant, the Justice was skeptical as to the trustworthiness of the confidential source".

It's complicated because all judges will sometimes "officially" refer to themselves as judges, while their official titles (if not constitutional status) vary by province. Thus, the Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of BC is equivalent to the Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice, but you wouldn't address either as "Justice" in court (like you would at the Ontario Superior Court, or Supreme Court of Canada). The Ontario terminology sounds more formal, but it's actually BC that has kept up with the use of "My Lord/Lady" in some of their senior courts, where the judges are called Justices.

I'm not saying "judge" is wrong, just that justice is usually fine too, especially if you're talking about an actual, senior, judge, and especially in a formal or legal context.

TL/DR: A Canadian enacting the Canadian past-time of worrying whether most Canadians even know the Canadian way to do something. Which is actually English, but don't tell the Americans.
posted by maledictory at 2:57 PM on June 3


Dialect:

1. American (Standard)
2. Canadian
3. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics

Native Language:

1. English
2. Norwegian
3. Dutch

Correct on both counts.
posted by MikeMc at 3:01 PM on June 3


This is literally impossible. All speech is accented; just some accents are naturalized as 'correct' by ideology.
What is it that you think they're trying to do that's "literally impossible"? Because they're not trying to say anything about accents, and they're not trying to determine that certain speech behaviors are "correct" or "incorrect".
posted by Flunkie at 3:08 PM on June 3


My native language is apparently Norwegian, or maybe Swedish, and I've learned Singaporean English, but I'm really originally from Eastern KY and have never lived outside the U.S.
posted by dilettante at 3:10 PM on June 3


Dialect:
1. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics
2. Singaporean
3. American (Standard)

Native Language:
1. German
2. Finnish
3. Swedish

It accurately detected my native language and that I've learned English exclusively through watching The Wire!
posted by bigendian at 3:15 PM on June 3 [2 favorites]


@Flunkie My remark was directed to what opsin said directly above it (that's what "this" referred to). Opsin asserted that they "speak without an accent," something I hear people claim all the time. My point was that all speech is accented. No one speaks "without an accent." You might speak RP, or Standard American English, but these are still accents.

I'm having trouble figuring out who the "they" in your comment is. Your criticism doesn't seem to apply to what Opsin said; it's as if you think I was criticizing the quiz-makers?
posted by erlking at 3:16 PM on June 3


1. North Irish (UK)

I was surprised that was even an option, so go computer quiz thing! (Although it's Northern Irish, not North Irish, but I'll forgive the irony.)

We say "I'm finished my homework" which was one of the clues apparantly. And also we and the Scots say "I'm after telling you". I also stuck to what I would actually say, rather than what I knew to be grammatically correct in US English, so that probably helped narrow it down.
posted by billiebee at 3:28 PM on June 3


erlking, due to opsin's reply to you not visually differentiating between its quote of what you were saying and what it was saying in response to that quote, I misinterpreted the entire thing as being what opsin was saying, and thought the "this" in "this is literally impossible" was about something that the quiz makers were ostensibly attempting to do.

I agree with your point that "unaccented" is not really a thing.
posted by Flunkie at 3:32 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


What does "I'm after telling you" mean? I could imagine it meaning "I have told you, and now I am finished with that task of telling you", or I could imagine it meaning "I desire to tell you". Or of course I could imagine it meaning something else entirely, but I don't know what else specifically that might be.
posted by Flunkie at 3:34 PM on June 3


1. Australian
2. Welsh (UK)
3. New Zealand

1. English
2. Norwegian
3. Swedish

So. It nailed me. But now I'm wondering how Americans talk different??
posted by Quilford at 3:41 PM on June 3


My tongue is number since I had you throw me down the stairs my benzocaine for a tender canine, my love.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 3:48 PM on June 3 [4 favorites]


Flunkie it basically means "I've just told you". As in "Why are you asking if there's any gin? I'm after telling you I drank it all."
posted by billiebee at 3:52 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


I'm after telling you

I'm not telling you again. Usually right before fist thumping occurs. That may be grammatical but since it is a spoken message, it is a distortion of "I am telling you (for the last time)".
posted by bukvich at 4:12 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


Dialect:
Singaporean
Canadian
American standard

Native language:
Swedish
Norwegian
English

Uh-huh. I was born in New England to a German immigrant and a native-born Philadelphian; I've lived up and down both US coasts plus Hawaii (sorry, never very far inland), and I've never lived anywhere outside the US other than a stretch I spent on a military base in northern Greenland.
posted by easily confused at 4:16 PM on June 3


I wonder, were those early questions regarding who does what to whom (the elephant bit the lion, etc.) there just an are-you-human check?

The elephants and chickens were actually ambiguous to me because I came up with two scenarios:

"It was the elephant that the lion bit."

1. Having a conversation about a lion that may have bitten an animal. Wondering which of the present animals was bitten by the lion. Someone points to the elephant. ah! It was the elephant that the lion bit.

2. Telling a story about a pack of elephants and some eventful journey through time and across space. One of the elephants has a distinguishing characteristic -- scars from a previous lion bite. At some point there's a scene where one of the elephants does something heroic. Which elephant was it? It was the elephant that the lion bit.

Neither sounds beautiful to me but they do sound grammatical (insofar as they sounded like natural usages even though I wouldn't personally write them myself.. and I genuinely found them ambiguous).
posted by mitten of doom at 4:48 PM on June 3



I'm just fascinated that "I'm finished my homework" sounds weird to people. To me it's so normal. Cool
posted by Jalliah at 4:51 PM on June 3


Our top three guesses for your English dialect:
1. Canadian
2. South African
3. Scottish (UK)

Our top three guesses for your native (first) language:
1. English
2. Swedish
3. Dutch


Canadian is spot on but I'm not a Swede nor a Dutch person.

I wonder if reading too much Tolkien as a teen had any influence on this result?
posted by aroweofshale at 4:52 PM on June 3


"I'm finished my homework", "I've finished with my homework", "I've finished my homework" -- all sound perfectly valid to me.
posted by aroweofshale at 4:53 PM on June 3


The stuff at the beginning gave me flashbacks to English comprehension tests in school.

What. Why did I post three times in a row. Sorry!
posted by aroweofshale at 4:58 PM on June 3


Our top three guesses for your English dialect:
1. American (Standard)
2. Singaporean
3. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics

Our top three guesses for your native (first) language:
1. English
2. Norwegian
3. Swedish

I was raised around Estonians, thank you very much MIT.

I am often told by other Americans that I don't have an accent. Hearing someone say "You sound like the people on NPR!" is the best compliment ever. Got a face for radio, too. Then I get tired, the Southern comes out, and everyone is dreadfully confused. What'n hell you laughin' at me for?
posted by cmyk at 5:13 PM on June 3


Dialect

1. New Zealand
2. Singaporean
3. Australian

Language

1. English
2. Swedish
3. Romanian

I'm Australian so it's a little off
posted by Greener Backyards at 5:42 PM on June 3


1. Singaporean
2. Australian
3. Black Vernacular

No, no, and no.
posted by Zonker at 6:12 PM on June 3


dialect:

1. American (Standard)
2. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics
3. Canadian

native (first) language:

1. Norwegian
2. English
3. Swedish

I marked things I hear as correct even if I wouldn't say them myself, so the dialect part is pretty much dead on, and I'm from a heavily Scandinavian area. I think my biggest surprise is that living in LA for five years had so little impact.
posted by bile and syntax at 6:28 PM on June 3


Quilford, I think selecting "she'll be right" for one of the answers must be part of their "definitely Australian" decision. But I didn't pick up on any other specifically Aussie phrasings. (And it picked me as Australian, with NZ and Wales as my second and third options).
posted by fever-trees at 6:47 PM on June 3


As a Norwegian, it pegged my first language to be Dutch, Romanian or a third option I can't remember.

Apparently my dialect is American Standard (then AAVE and Canadian), which it emphatically isn't.

So: no.
posted by flippant at 7:01 PM on June 3


dialect:
1. Canadian
2. American (Standard)
3. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics

native (first) language:
1. English
2. Dutch
3. Norwegian

I am American - from the Mid-Atlantic growing up (though the first 6 years were spent in Germany, California and France), so not Canadian, no. My first language is indeed English, but I was exposed to German via my mother and grandmother, and I learned French as a child, but no Dutch or Norwegian.

They say on their site: Canadians, Irish, and Scottish accept I'm finished my homework instead of with my homework. However, "I'm finished my homework" is perfectly acceptable in my dialect of American English. So, I'm not impressed so far.
posted by gudrun at 7:02 PM on June 3


Ok, after seeing the high incidence of Singaporean English appearing in the results, this born and bred Singaporean was moved to try the quiz for myself.

Our top three guesses for your English dialect:
1. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics
2. Australian
3. New Zealand
Our top three guesses for your native (first) language:
1. English
2. Dutch
3. Chinese

... Well then.

Granted, my own level of English ability is slightly above average here, but I answered the quiz as I would speaking everyday (and not as I would speak, say, here on Metafilter). There were quite a few missing options that would have been a way better fit for Singaporean English. For example, we'd say "the man who arrived yesterday", but that wasn't an option.

It was suggested upthread that their idea of Singaporean English is a super stiff, formal British English. I'd say that if that was the case (ha - super formal British-educated Singaporean English teacher would slap my wrist and say "if that WERE the case"), then it wouldn't be a dialect anymore. Can you call it a dialect if no one's speaking it?

My understanding of the Singaporean English dialect, which is indeed Singlish, is that it's often based on a direct translation of Chinese/Malay, mixed in with some Britishisms and Americanisms. For example, "why you like that?" (why are you like that?) follows Chinese grammar almost word for word. Throw in a few more words for emphasis, and you get "Why he so like that one?" "Aiyah, nevermind lah, you know he always like that, just ignore lah."

And that's just the spoken language. The pecularities of the written form ("please dispose rubbish here", "free gift with every $50 spend") is another matter altogether but I'm on my phone and walkong while typing so probably not a good idea to go into that now.
posted by satoshi at 7:31 PM on June 3 [1 favorite]


while I haven't yet read your followup questions about dialect, I wonder whether they assume only one region of origin and maturation.

When you finish the quiz, it asks which countries you've lived in, and, as a follow-up, which places you've lived in for ten years or longer. (It has a list of states for the U.S., but didn't divide Canada into provinces.) There's also a comment box there, so you can be super specific if you feel it's important. So I don't know quite how they are accounting for all the places people live, but they sure are trying to.
posted by Margalo Epps at 7:42 PM on June 3


I picked Canada. It asks you which province in a new prompt afterwards, iirc.
posted by aroweofshale at 7:44 PM on June 3


Dialect
1. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics
2. American (Standard)
3. Canadian

Native Language
1. English
2. Dutch
3. Norwegian

Odd/interesting, I grew up (In Manitoba, around anglophone French people) without any exposure to Black Vernacular & don't regularly encounter it either in media or real life.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:11 PM on June 3


Our top three guesses for your English dialect:

1. New Zealand
2. Australian
3. South African

I was born in NZ and lived there until I was 20, I've been living in Australia since then. The only thing I could actually identify as something which might give away my dialect was "she'll be right", and that's something I never heard or said until I moved to Australia, so this is clearly a lot smarter than I am.
posted by lwb at 11:23 PM on June 3


It was suggested upthread that their idea of Singaporean English is a super stiff, formal British English. I'd say that if that was the case (ha - super formal British-educated Singaporean English teacher would slap my wrist and say "if that WERE the case"), then it wouldn't be a dialect anymore. Can you call it a dialect if no one's speaking it?

My understanding of the Singaporean English dialect, which is indeed Singlish, is that it's often based on a direct translation of Chinese/Malay, mixed in with some Britishisms and Americanisms.


Singlish is more of a creole language than a dialect, so I rather think the quiz authors are referring to Standard Singapore English.
posted by peripathetic at 11:33 PM on June 3


Australian! (I am not Aussie)
Scottish! (I am not a Scot)
South African! (I am not South African)

I'm Canadian. Granted, I have Kiwi friends, many of them, but still...
posted by jrochest at 12:13 AM on June 4


I think selecting "she'll be right" for one of the answers must be part of their "definitely Australian" decision

I think that's also a thing they say in the North of England. Well, "She'll be reet" anyway. I like seeing how patterns of speech match patterns of immigration.
posted by billiebee at 1:18 AM on June 4


2. Americans, Canadians, and South Africans accept I sent my mother a letter instead of to my mother.

Huh??

Australians also say 'I sent my mother a letter'. So do English people. In fact, I wasn't aware that anybody said 'I sent to my mother a letter'. (Unless they mean 'I sent a letter to my mother', but everyone says that, too.)
posted by Salamander at 1:36 AM on June 4


peripathetic: Point taken. Singlish is indeed a creole in its fullest form, but in that case I still wonder what this Standard Singapore English is, and what differentiates it from, say, Standard British English. And what makes it a dialect? The form of English spoken in more formal settings is the one taught in schools, which follows the British system mostly.

I'm gonna assume that SSE is what we (try to) speak at work. In which case, it's still rather poorly covered by this quiz.
posted by satoshi at 1:45 AM on June 4


Our top three guesses for your English dialect:

1. Australian
2. Singaporean
3. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics

Our top three guesses for your native (first) language:

1. English
2. Vietnamese
3. Chinese

Chinese Malaysian living in Singapore who speaks Mandarin badly
posted by ianK at 2:43 AM on June 4


Our top three guesses for your English dialect:

1. Irish (Republic of)
2. North Irish (UK)
3. Scottish (UK)

Our top three guesses for your native (first) language:

1. Norwegian
2. Dutch
3. Swedish


Fair enough - I'm from the West of Ireland with Northern Irish, English and Scottish relatives. The Scandinavian thing was perplexing at first but then I know plenty of Norwegians who sound Scottish or Northern Irish when they speak English.

I'm still surprised that the quiz doesn't guess at a Gaelic element though - English is my first language but I'm descended from native (Irish) Gaelic speakers. A lot of Irish dialect - e.g. "I'm after doing x." comes from Irish syntax imposed on English words.

But no, those pesky Vikings have to barge in and ruin everything, as usual...
posted by El Brendano at 3:30 AM on June 4


It's funny seeing all you native speakers getting some Scandi language as the presumed native language. English was the fourth language I learned, I've never lived in an English speaking country, and it thinks it's my native language.
posted by dhoe at 4:40 AM on June 4


Our top three guesses for your English dialect:

1. English (England)
2. Scottish (UK)
3. Welsh (UK)

Our top three guesses for your native (first) language:

1. English
2. Finnish
3. Greek

Native Londoner, so spot on.
posted by Acarpous at 6:00 AM on June 4


Dialect
1. American (Standard)
2. US Black Vernacular / Ebonics
3. Singaporean

Native Language
1. English
2. Swedish
3. Norwegian


It's amusing to me, as a Swede who learned English at a tender age from American friends in particular and English cultural products in general, that several self identified Americans have posted (almost) identical results to me.
Can it be that the abundance of crypto-Scandinavians stem from an overabundance of survey data from that group? That is, is it possible that lots of data with disparate features input by Scandinavians makes most everything look a bit Scandinavian to the system?

The pictures in the beginning look like typical stimuli from linguistic experiments. For example, "The elephant bit the lion" could test if your language allows for OVS word order (which Swedish and Norwegian most certainly does). I chose to answer in English-English though. Maybe that explains the ranking of the native language guesses.

I found it hard to choose between the pictures of three climbers walking up one single hill, and three climbers walking up three different hills. Does any American native in the thread have a strong intuition about what would be the "correct" choice?
posted by AxelT at 6:03 AM on June 4


I'm thinking US Black Vernacular is a grab all for anyone who learned or has acquired English in the US South. I would like to know, and the website doesn't easily reveal it, if there is a US Southern Vernacular option and I missed it and landed in the former or the former stands in for the latter.
posted by Atreides at 7:16 AM on June 4


I found it hard to choose between the pictures of three climbers walking up one single hill, and three climbers walking up three different hills. Does any American native in the thread have a strong intuition about what would be the "correct" choice?

They both felt like the could have been an accurate illustration, but I picked the choice of them being on separate hills (same for the multiple or separate elephants). I think because I would have worded it slightly differently for people climbing the same hill or riding the same elephant as each other, even though it wouldn't be incorrect to word it that way. For example, "Three hikers climbed Crown Hill" or "Three hikers climbed the hill".

I picked Canada. It asks you which province in a new prompt afterwards, iirc.

Huh, that's weird. Don't know how I missed it then. (I picked U.S. and Canada.)
posted by Margalo Epps at 9:14 AM on June 4


I found it hard to choose between the pictures of three climbers walking up one single hill, and three climbers walking up three different hills. Does any American native in the thread have a strong intuition about what would be the "correct" choice?

Yes, as an American, a to me implies each had a separate hill but the would imply the same one. But also the test gave me native Norwegian so ...
posted by dame at 9:20 AM on June 4


Quilford, I think selecting "she'll be right" for one of the answers must be part of their "definitely Australian" decision.

Nah mate, we say that in Noo Zild too.

Both my husband and I picked that as the most obviously kiwi phrase in there -and we disagreed on a several things but it still pegged us both as kiwis- so it's clearly not just an Aussie thing.
posted by shelleycat at 10:22 AM on June 4


it's all broken hey
posted by judson at 11:19 AM on June 4


Our top three guesses for your English dialect:
1. Welsh (UK)
2. English (England)
3. Australian

Our top three guesses for your native (first) language:
1. English
2. Norwegian
3. Swedish


I live in London and I've had Australian mates (I'm repeating myself), but I'm not a native speaker.
posted by ersatz at 7:05 PM on June 4


Nah mate, we say that in Noo Zild too.

I wonder if it might be a North/South Island thing (I feel like you used to live in Auckland?). I seriously never once heard "she'll be right" before I moved to Australia, but I do remember somewhat similar turns of speech among some Aucklanders I briefly lived with. Of course, it's definitely possible that it's just not a phrase my particular social circle in NZ used.
posted by lwb at 10:27 PM on June 4


I'm from the North Island and have lived all over it, including Auckland because everyone ends up in Auckland but I was pretty old by the time I ended up there. She'll be right definitely predates my moving there. It feels more like a rural-ish thing to me and I've been having Barry Crump flashbacks for the last few days, which may or may not be related. I don't know about the South Island because, while my parents have lived there for 20 years, I've never lived south of Palmerston North.
posted by shelleycat at 11:31 AM on June 5


A President Obama lives in the White House.

I'm fine with this even without commas just so long as the accent used is really affected.
posted by IndigoJones at 11:33 AM on June 5


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