You say "car-ml," I say "carra-mel."
October 6, 2016 4:59 AM   Subscribe

 
Of course it's a brew-thru! That's brilliant!
posted by The Man from Lardfork at 5:12 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


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

The devil is beating his wife.
[real]

Is that an understood phrase to anyone here? If someone said that to you, you'd know what they mean?

Also, aluminium is missing. Holy crap, just typing that in firefox triggers the spell checker. Damn Americans ruining English.

It's levi-OH-sah, not levioh-SAH /hermione
posted by adept256 at 5:14 AM on October 6, 2016 [11 favorites]


Amazing that most of the country pronounces Bowie knife wrong. I wonder if this has changed over time since the most well known Bowie is now David Bowie and not Jim (though David took his stage name from the knife!).
posted by stopgap at 5:18 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also, aluminium is missing. Holy crap, just typing that in firefox triggers the spell checker. Damn Americans ruining English.

It was originally called "aluminum"; the British spelling is a deviation from this, the result of an attempt to standardize elements in the periodic table so that "aluminum" would be more like "polonium" and "uranium" and stuff, hence "aluminium". This one is on you guys.

This is also how I was able to identify the nationality of our periodic table of the elements shower curtain.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 5:23 AM on October 6, 2016 [35 favorites]


I really love how most of Massachusetts is weakly "traffic circle," but there's a strong "rotary" right around Boston.

Also it raises my hackles something fierce when a native New Yorker says "sub." It's a hero, goddamn it. And I'm surprised there's not more yellow on that one in Massachusetts. I haven't lived there in about a decade, but while I did, it was mostly "grinder," at least on menus, and often in conversation.

And I have never heard anybody, from anywhere, say "tennis shoes" for "sneakers." I'm not even sure I would understand it. Like, Keds? That's what I think of if you say "tennis shoes." White Keds.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:23 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


No youse??

I used to make fun of that until I realized it was the plural of you (never used singularly) and was just dialect. Even useful.
posted by MtDewd at 5:24 AM on October 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


Previously, which includes a link to the NYTimes Dialect Quiz based on Katz's maps.
posted by radiomayonnaise at 5:24 AM on October 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


According to Lyle Zapato, at some point in the future, Americans will come around and pronounce it "aluminium." At which point the British will jump ahead to "alumininium."
posted by edheil at 5:25 AM on October 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


Huh, I pronounce the first syllable in "syrup" like the first syllable in "Sarah" but that's not even an option on the list. (And yes, I know I'm technically mispronouncing it, but in typical American fashion I'm going to hold onto my assertion that the rest of you [also sub-regional] are pronouncing it wrong.)
posted by dances with hamsters at 5:25 AM on October 6, 2016


This article needs a map on the jimmies/sprinkles divide. I am still bitter that the first time I visited Boston, I missed out on getting sprinkles on my ice cream, because the guy asked me if I wanted jimmies, and I thought, what the heck are those, no thank you.
posted by chainsofreedom at 5:25 AM on October 6, 2016 [12 favorites]


Also it raises my hackles something fierce when a native New Yorker says "sub."
I'm British, but I had never heard of a 'sub' until the shop Subway appeared and started to become popular. Now 'subs' are so heavily advertised that people ask for them (and get them) in shops that aren't Subway.

I wonder if the prevalence of the term sub is down to the heavy branding and advertising from that chain, and if it's pushing out regional words for the same thing?
posted by winterhill at 5:26 AM on October 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


You say "car-ml," I say "carra-mel."

As if I didn't hate you all enough as it is.
posted by briank at 5:26 AM on October 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


Lord Sandwich fucking hates Mr Subway. They act like they invented it!
posted by adept256 at 5:34 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm British, but I had never heard of a 'sub' until the shop Subway appeared and started to become popular. Now 'subs' are so heavily advertised that people ask for them (and get them) in shops that aren't Subway.

I wonder if the prevalence of the term sub is down to the heavy branding and advertising from that chain, and if it's pushing out regional words for the same thing?


I live between Boston and New York and they were always "grinders" around here until the '90s. Now sub and grinder are used interchangeably and I'm certain that it correlates to their massive franchise expansion during that period. (It was and still is a matter of distinction in Grinder Shops that a "sub" is a cheap imitation that you get at an inferior store.)
posted by dances with hamsters at 5:34 AM on October 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


Southerner from Mississippi/Alabama. The "devil is beating his wife" for rain when the sun is shining is absolutely understood in these parts. But I'm near 50. I think that people far younger than I probably aren't as aware of the phrase.
posted by thebrokedown at 5:34 AM on October 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


I wonder if the prevalence of the term sub is down to the heavy branding and advertising from that chain, and it's pushing out regional words for the same thing?

Yeah, this has been my suspicion, too, that it's down to the proliferation of national chains who all say "sub." Even among my peers, people who absolutely grew up saying "hero" sometimes say "sub" now.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:35 AM on October 6, 2016


I wish these didn't stop at the border with Canada. It would have been really interesting to see how quickly or not things change at the line. I'm in southern BC and we mostly pronounce things like people in Washington State, but there are definitely still some differences as soon as you cross the border.

Also, the "addressing a group of people" is missing a dot for Yinz around Pittsburgh's region.
posted by borsboom at 5:35 AM on October 6, 2016 [10 favorites]


I mentioned this in the Hurricane thread, but I suspect "Boo"-ie knife in DC is because of nearby Bowie, Maryland which is pronounced that way. I'm also not sure I've heard anyone say "tennis shoe" in 20 years. I can't believe that it's still that common.

Many of these take me back to when I was first dating my wife. "Sear-up"? What the fuck, my love?
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:37 AM on October 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


radiomayonnaise- Thnks, I was thinking it would be cool to have an app to try to determine location from the sum of answers. Mine was nailed on the Mary, merry, marry question.

Plus- how do you pronounce your name??
posted by MtDewd at 5:37 AM on October 6, 2016


"It was originally called "aluminum"; the British spelling is a deviation from this, the result of an attempt to standardize elements in the periodic table so that "aluminum" would be more like "polonium" and "uranium" and stuff, hence "aluminium". This one is on you guys."

Here we go again…

Davy first called it alumium, then aluminum, then settled on aluminium. Webster's lack of up-to-date research led him to stick you guys with the earlier spelling. Everybody else was calling it aluminium 16 years before Americans leaned to spell it incorrectly…
posted by Pinback at 5:38 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I say tennis shoes. Sneaker sneaks in, because other people say it, but I still say tennis shoes. Grew up in SoCal, 30s. (I also say grinder because I didn't really eat sandwiches like that till college in Rhode Island.)
posted by dame at 5:39 AM on October 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


Is that an understood phrase to anyone here? If someone said that to you, you'd know what they mean?

Adept256, I am familiar with that phrase. I don't know that I've ever heard it, but I've certainly read it in books. It's curious to me that the phrase seems to be limited to Alabama and Mississippi, per that map; I would have said it was maybe vaguely Southern, but very old-fashioned. FWIW -- I'm the middle-aged child of Southern parents, but I mostly grew up in the north.
posted by Janta at 5:39 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


They were called "submarine sandwiches" or "subs" for short way before Subway came around. The franchise played on this name, though I'd believe that it was helpful in pushing out other local terms.

Then again, what the fuck is a "grinder" anyway? I moved to Massachusetts in 1993 and this term never made any sense. What's been ground? Can anyone explain this one? At least "hero" makes sense as relating to "gyro" transliterated phonetically.
posted by explosion at 5:46 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


I live between Boston and New York and they were always "grinders" around here until the '90s.

SHENANIGANS! They're "grindahs".
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 5:47 AM on October 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


I...do not talk like Americans. I am not sure how this happened.

Also, really, "tennis shoes"? I grew up in Illinois and we did not refer to them as tennis shoes. Tennis shoes are athletic shoes for tennis, like climbing shoes are for climbing.

Sneakers are obviously for sneaking, but that's possible in most contexts.
posted by Frowner at 5:47 AM on October 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


Also, "gym shoes" were the shoes you wore to gym. Like, "I forgot my gym shoes, so I'll have a demerit today".
posted by Frowner at 5:48 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I made a nucular missal of aluminum in my labratory.
posted by Segundus at 5:48 AM on October 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


It's funny how irrationally charged certain words can be for certain people. I was scrolling through the list thinking, "interesting, mmhhmm, oh yes" and then I got to the "mayonnaise" map and nearly put my fist through the coffee table. "Man-aze"---ARGH! WHY!? Nothing infuriates me more than that pronunciation. Every time I hear it--and, full disclosure, I am Canadian and here it all the time up here, too--my blood pressure sky rockets. Why? Why am I wasting my life on the word mayonnaise? I have actual real world problems to worry about, like people who don't remove the temporary stitches from pleats and vents!

(But if nothing else, I've learned that my spiritual homeland is ... Montana?)
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 5:48 AM on October 6, 2016 [7 favorites]



Also, really, "tennis shoes"?


Yes, really. Most people in the West Coast grew up using this term. I grew up in San Diego (I'm in my 40's) and I still say "tennis shoes" as does anyone I grew up with.
Among younger kids there may be more of a move to sneakers, I don't know.
posted by vacapinta at 5:51 AM on October 6, 2016 [10 favorites]


Also, the "addressing a group of people" is missing a dot for Yinz around Pittsburgh's region.
Yins? That sounds Scottish to me, specifically Glasgow. It's fascinating reading this from Britain and being able to see where these different words have ended up.
posted by winterhill at 5:51 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


I tried that in my mind, because it's a little ambiguous phoenetically. 'man-aze'. I somehow arrived at Monets. Would you like some Monets on your sub? It's only a few million dollars extra.
posted by adept256 at 5:53 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Understandably, I guess, no one ever tracks the pronunciation of "jaguar" on these maps. I'll accept jag-u-ar as well as a sort of elided jag-war. But around me, people pronounce it jag-WIRE and it just raises my hackles (again, Deep South).
posted by thebrokedown at 5:56 AM on October 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


Growing up in the holy land of western New York State, I remember making friends with an exotic kid who drank soda and wore tennis shoes.
posted by pracowity at 5:57 AM on October 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


And also, here in the deep deep south (Australia) they're called trainers or sneakers. We also call them footgloves, stampypants and wimbleboots.[fake]
posted by adept256 at 5:57 AM on October 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


SHENANIGANS! They're "grindahs".

So for my freshman and probably sophomore years in college, we had a dial-a-menu number you could call. The guy who read it had the densest, gooiest Boston accent, and really seemed to take pleasure in dramatizing the menu.

"Foah lunch today we have ... meatball grindahs, mmm. And the soup is ... oooh, coaaahn chowdaaah, that'll keep ya wahm today."
posted by uncleozzy at 5:58 AM on October 6, 2016 [20 favorites]


I keep looking at that first map -- the one about what one calls a "miniature lobster found in lakes and streams" -- and trying to figure out why I've gone all my life calling them crawdads when I've never lived in any area where that is what they're called. My parents are from Tennessee, and one set of grandparents were from New York state; I grew up in (east) Texas and Minnesota.
posted by Janta at 6:01 AM on October 6, 2016


Growing up in Pittsburgh, PA I knew that the elastic loops used to hold things together were "gumbands," that plants with thorns were "pricker bushes," that burrs that stuck to your socks were "travelers" and that a person into others' business was a "neb nose." Also, group of people was addressed as "yunz." There were tons of regional phrases, and I've not heard any of them since moving away. Kinda miss 'em.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:02 AM on October 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


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

The devil is beating his wife.[real]

Is that an understood phrase to anyone here? If someone said that to you, you'd know what they mean?


*raises hand*
I not only understand it, it's the phrase I go to in order to describe it—though now that I'm in the PNW it's gained a definite WTF amusement factor to use it with people. Tennessee/Florida childhood here, not sure where I picked it up.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 6:05 AM on October 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm in my thirties, from Mississippi, and "the devil is beating his wife" is definitely what I heard. I don't remember any kids using it, though. It seemed old-fashioned. I liked it, because I always wondered who his wife was, and if I would ever get to hear that story.

Until this year, I thought crawfish and crayfish were two different species, and I didn't realize they lived in rivers up here in New England. Why aren't they traditionally eaten up north, I wonder?

And why does this map arbitrarily exclude "po' boy"?
posted by Countess Elena at 6:05 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


I grew up in East Tennessee. All soft drinks were coke, regardless of flavor. We wore tennis shoes for all sorts of athletic endeavors. We caught crawdads in the creek. When you go grocery shopping, you put the food, etc. in a buggy.
posted by bwvol at 6:05 AM on October 6, 2016


and then I got to the "mayonnaise" map and nearly put my fist through the coffee table. "Man-aze"

Man-aze, written phonetically like that, looks like a competitor to Grindr, which is apparently an app for selling sandwiches in some parts of the country.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:07 AM on October 6, 2016 [24 favorites]


Louisiana--same as bwvol except it's crawfish.
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:08 AM on October 6, 2016



The devil is beating his wife.[real]

Is that an understood phrase to anyone here? If someone said that to you, you'd know what they mean?


Yes. That is what my mom says, although she prefaces it with "You shouldn't call it this, but..." every time. She's not from anywhere more specific than the East Coast-- her family stayed the longest in the Niagara Falls area of NY.
posted by blnkfrnk at 6:08 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


(Po'boy being another entrant in the "long sandwich" stakes)
posted by Countess Elena at 6:08 AM on October 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


Ah, links like these are perennial favorites. People can talk about language differences forever, especially in places like MetaFilter, where people come from a variety of regions (previously, previously, previously, previously, previously).

Last weekend, I was in a used bookstore and came across an enormous tome called the Linguistic Atlas of New England. It was from the 1930s and jam-packed with detailed maps of subtle language differences, sometimes even from town to town. I recognized some of the content from previous links here, and it turns out it was an early version of the Linguistic Atlas Project. It was just $12 - should have bought it. It had the look of the kind of book a specialist would pay more for. I see I was right, dammit.

I haven't lived there in about a decade, but while I did, it was mostly "grinder,"

That seems to have really faded. Even on signs and menus, it's mostly sub. I bet it's true that Subway bears some blame.

Amazing that most of the country pronounces Bowie knife wrong.

On this, my TX dad taught me well.

I suspect "Boo"-ie knife in DC is because of nearby Bowie, Maryland
From the link:

UPDATE: Enthusiastic Marylanders have alerted us that there is indeed a town in Maryland called Bowie and pronounced "Boo-wie." That solves that. No word yet from Texans.

UPDATE 2: From a Texan: "It's pronounced Boo-wie because it's named after Jim Bowie (pronounced Boo-wie), who played a major role in the Texas revolution. That explains why we're the only ones who pronounce it correctly."
..maybe that was you?
posted by Miko at 6:09 AM on October 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


For the record: a "pee-can" is a port-o-let; not a nut!
posted by MrGuilt at 6:12 AM on October 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


What's a port-o-let? A porta-john? A porta-potty? A latrine? ;)
posted by Miko at 6:13 AM on October 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


the "addressing a group of people" is missing a dot for Yinz around Pittsburgh's region.

I've always used y'all, but in my native region (East Kentucky/East Tennessee) you hear "yunz" a lot, and it grates on my nerves.
posted by Miss Cellania at 6:18 AM on October 6, 2016


Miss Cellania, I guess that's short for "you 'uns". I forgot about 'uns as a plural for undifferentiated things or people, but I hear it sometimes when I spend time with Tennessee family.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:21 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I also sometimes use "the devil is beating his wife," but I'm pretty sure I picked that one up as a young adult in Georgia. The one I hear here in Texas a lot is "for a minute" to mean "a longish while," as in "Yes, I've known you a minute" used to mean "I know you by now" or "I've lived in Austin a minute" used to mean "I've lived in Austin thirty years." Of course, I hear it more now because it delights my Canadian-born partner, who now uses the phrase at every possible opportunity.

Understandably, I guess, no one ever tracks the pronunciation of "jaguar" on these maps. I'll accept jag-u-ar as well as a sort of elided jag-war. But around me, people pronounce it jag-WIRE and it just raises my hackles (again, Deep South).

Ha, jag-WIRE is the pronunciation I remember from my childhood as being the one my mother pushed as "classy" and insisted we use. (She's from upstate New York, and is very sensitive to anything that reminds her of the rural accent she scrubbed out of her dialect when she was a young adult and adolescent.) It's also the one that stuck for me as the 'right' one growing up in northern Virginia.
posted by sciatrix at 6:23 AM on October 6, 2016


Addressing a group is really difficult. Regular people around here say "you guys", but activist circles deprecate that for gender reasons and use "folks" instead. But "folks" often sounds affected to non-activists, so I default to "you-all" with a stress on the "you", since saying "y'all" would be both affected and culturally appropriative.

Mostly I try to talk to just one person at a time.
posted by Frowner at 6:23 AM on October 6, 2016 [14 favorites]


I've always used y'all, but in my native region (East Kentucky/East Tennessee) you hear "yunz" a lot, and it grates on my nerves.

Born in Louisiana, but, from ages 1-8, grew up in "you guys" land while my dad was in the Air Force. Upon our return to Louisiana, I went through a transitional phase when I was using "y'all guys."
posted by MrGuilt at 6:24 AM on October 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


Cars: jag-uyar.
Animal: ja-gwar.

I'm from the LA area, but on these linguistic maps I always come up mid-Atlantic because of my parents' background.
posted by blnkfrnk at 6:26 AM on October 6, 2016


Addressing a group is really difficult.

I tend to default to "Oi! All of yez!" because I've been resisting y'all out of irritation for the way my family picked it up (mom, you are from New York, there is no damn reason for you to be using 'y'all' and giggling about it every five minutes when you keep making fun of other people's accents out of classism) for a decade now.

I've just noticed that there is no completely accurate listing for the way I say "crayon"--it's not quite rhyming with 'man', because the vowel is longer and there's almost a slurred nearly a syllable. More like cray'n than cran. I've got a pretty nasal voice in general, though; maybe that's just a legacy of that aspect of my accent.

Also, what the hell, sneakers is the most common default everywhere I have lived. What do you mean, it's the more unusual word?
posted by sciatrix at 6:31 AM on October 6, 2016


I'm a Michigander currently raising kids in Virginia, and this list is basically a catalog of Things Mom is Pronouncing Wrong. Like, we literally just had an argument over caramel yesterday.
posted by selfmedicating at 6:31 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


California: car-MEL
Indiana: CARml

France: vair-SIGH
Indiana: ver-SAILS

oh...wait...you weren't talking about city names?
posted by Thorzdad at 6:32 AM on October 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


"bury" is probably another fun one. To me it rhymes with Mary, marry, tarry, hairy, dairy, fairy, Larry, etc. To a friend who grew up in California, it rhymes with furry, jury, hurry, curry, etc.

And now none of those words seem real.
posted by Foosnark at 6:34 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Hoagie is the hill I am willing to die on here. Sub, seriously? And a grinder is a toasted hoagie, they are two different things. You monsters!

Oh and according to the old computer game Maniac Mansion II: Day of the Tentacle (an indisputable source, surely), the hoagie was actually invented by Ben Franklin himself, in Philadelphia, no less. So yes, I am obviously right and you are clearly wrong.
posted by Literaryhero at 6:35 AM on October 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


winterhill: "
Also, the "addressing a group of people" is missing a dot for Yinz around Pittsburgh's region.
Yins? That sounds Scottish to me, specifically Glasgow. It's fascinating reading this from Britain and being able to see where these different words have ended up.
"

Early Pittsburgh was dominated by Scots and Scots-Irish who had a strong influence on the language around here. That's also why we have an 'h' at the end of our name. We also have the only university in the country where you can get a bagpipe degree.
posted by octothorpe at 6:39 AM on October 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


France: vair-SIGH
Indiana: ver-SAILS


Oof, just the other day I was watching some local Buffalo news station (because I lead a deep and compelling life) and the poor newscaster was reporting on some calamity (no doubt yet another industrial fire) that took place on Versailles Road. First she pronounced it "properly", and then immediately had to correct herself and said "Ver-sales." My heart broke a little bit at that moment.
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 6:40 AM on October 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


The Southern Appalachian dialect is full of these.

Tire or Tar ( I've got a flat tar.)
fire or far (Call the Far department)
pin or pen (Can I borrow your pin?)
bin or been (What have y'all bin up to?)
posted by bwvol at 6:40 AM on October 6, 2016


Put me, native Philadelphian (albeit living in New York) in the "Hoagie" camp as well.

Philly is its own dialect, no doubt. "Djeetyet? Youse guys wanna go pick up some hoagies from the Ack-a-me? Then let's get some wooder ice from that good jawn."
posted by SansPoint at 6:40 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


do yall pronounce it mustardayonnaise or mayostard?
posted by Zerowensboring at 6:42 AM on October 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


Hoagie is superior, naturally. Although (and maybe this is just me, I dunno), if someone were to express to me a desire for "a hoagie" with no further descriptors I would assume they were referring specifically to a proper Italian Hoagie.

The one exception to the hoagie rule is for a meatball sub. For some reason it's never a meatball hoagie.
posted by backseatpilot at 6:43 AM on October 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


Zerowensboring: Mustmayostardayonnaise
posted by SansPoint at 6:43 AM on October 6, 2016 [8 favorites]


Plural "you" in Western Pa is Yinz.
posted by mfoight at 6:44 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


And don't get me started on goddamned Cabinets or Frappes. Those two alone are enough to justify nuking the east coast into a giant glowing dust bowl.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:44 AM on October 6, 2016


Versailles is in Kentucky, though.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:46 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


'What a day. Feels like I've been torturing damned souls for eternity already, and there are so many pre-orders on the list. This election campaign -'

'Did you get the chillis on the way home? I can't believe you , how am I supposed to make it hotter? I'm trying Satan but -'

'oh look sunshine on a rainy day'

It may be one of those odd things that were never meant to make sense, and thanks to those who verified it's reality. I'm more curious about it's origin
posted by adept256 at 6:47 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Cars: jag-uyar.
Animal: ja-gwar.


The English pronounciation is more like: Zshagh-goo-war. Patrick Stewart explains.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:48 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Versailles is in Kentucky, though.
That's a common mistake, given that the original name for Indiana is Michitucky.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:49 AM on October 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


Versailles is in Kentucky, though.

There is a Versailles in Ripley County, IN. About an hour from Cincinnati.
posted by bwvol at 6:50 AM on October 6, 2016


I think it's supposed to be like a dogs-and-cats-living-together! or "In Rand McNally, where hamburgers eat people" description of something nonsensical happening. Like, the sun is shining! But there's rain! Nothing makes sense! The devil is beating his wife! Plus there's the whole "rain is angels crying" thing which would tie in.
posted by blnkfrnk at 6:52 AM on October 6, 2016


since saying "y'all" would be both affected and culturally appropriative.

As a southerner, I'd like to officially give you permission to say y'all; it's really just the best way to do things. (I don't mind people appropriating my culture; while your at it please ask your local McDonalds for a chicken biscuit so that those will be more widely available and I'll never have to settle for a mcmuffin again.)
posted by bracems at 6:53 AM on October 6, 2016 [18 favorites]


Subs, heros, gyros, hoagies, and grinders are all different things depending on which strip mall you go to around Northern VA and my arteries are mad at me for knowing this.

My uncle from Wisconsin called the shoes "tennies" which is a really cute phrasing for a giant linebacker of a dude.
posted by mattamatic at 6:55 AM on October 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


Cars: jag-uyar.
Animal: ja-gwar.


Um...I believe the car is properly pronounced "Subsidiary of the Tata Group of Mumbai"
posted by Thorzdad at 6:57 AM on October 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


I say "the devil is beating his wife" because that's what my dad said when I was a kid; and he and I both always annoyingly say it in a "did you know that when it rains when the sun shines, that means the devil is beating his wife?" kind of way. I have no idea how he ever heard it, though, since he's never lived more than 20 miles away from Oklahoma City in his life.
posted by yhbc at 6:59 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Although it sounds absolutely terrible to me I have to concede that the US spelling and pronunciation of Aluminum IS more consistent with the rest of the elements.
Added to that the US style pronunciation of hover really grates on me. It sounds so wrong, but then it rhymes with lover and cover so, it can't be that wrong. But then there is rover and clover which rhyme with each other but not with lover or cover and mover which rhymes with none of them, and then the UK version of hover which doesn't rhyme with lover or mover or rover.

Presumably there is also a map somewhere with how people pronounce "Dragon" and it's all one colour except for a single bright spot wherever Cortex is...
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:59 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Tennis shoes here in Texas too. Though we pronounce it "tenny shoes" more often. Also sneakers, sometimes, though that sounds disreputable--why are you sneaking??
posted by emjaybee at 7:01 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Do people outside the south really all say "loyer" for "lawyer?" I pretty much say everything the way they do in Ohio, thanks to my parents, but according to the map, this is an exception. When I first met Mr. Redstart and noticed he said "loyer" it seemed odd to me and now after living all over the country (but never in the south) I still have the feeling "lawyer" is more common than "loyer." Am I just not really listening to people?
posted by Redstart at 7:02 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Wait, how do you say hover in the UK?

Also, from way upthread, I think poboy wasn't an option on the question about long sandwiches because that's basically the only thing they have in common with subs/grinders/hoagies -- different bread, different fillings, different condiments.
posted by zeptoweasel at 7:04 AM on October 6, 2016


Does anyone else call tennis shoes "runners"? That's how I was raised in Ontario, Canada.

We make fun of our cousins that moved to Ohio, who now say "Cree-ap" (one syllable) instead of "Crap"
posted by Dressed to Kill at 7:04 AM on October 6, 2016


So what's up with people pronouncing the first syllable of "drama" like "hay" or "pray"? Anybody else heard this?
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 7:10 AM on October 6, 2016


Wait, how do you say hover in the UK?

So that it doesn't rhyme with Lover, Rover or Mover or now that I check any other word ending in over.
Oh..
wait it rhymes with bovver (an informal british word meaning hooliganism or violent disorder, especially as caused by gangs of skinheads.)
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:11 AM on October 6, 2016


Does anyone else call tennis shoes "runners"? That's how I was raised in Ontario, Canada.


It''s 'runners' on the West Coast of Canada as well. Sneakers and especially tennis shows just sound weird to me.
posted by Jalliah at 7:12 AM on October 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


no one's ever heard someone say that the devil was beating his grandmother? - that's how a woman i knew from ohio across from w virginia said it

another woman from that area called crayons colors

and don't get me started on polecat, which seems to have crept into my speech ...
posted by pyramid termite at 7:13 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yep, runners, but then I am also from Ontario. Sneakers and tennis shoes were also acceptable substitutes.

I've always called rain when the sun is shinning a "monkey's wedding" or a sunshower.
posted by fimbulvetr at 7:13 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


mattamatic: Subs, heros, gyros, hoagies, and grinders

One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn't belong!

"Gyros" is interesting, especially since my partner's family is Greek. I know it's "Yee-rohs", but I still want to say "Jy-Rohs" like in gyroscope. They're delicious, however you pronounce it, though.
posted by SansPoint at 7:15 AM on October 6, 2016


Does anyone else call tennis shoes "runners"? That's how I was raised in Ontario, Canada.

I've heard that, too, though I think it was a distinction between, say, your Asics Gel-3000's (runners) and your Fred Perry's (tennies)
posted by Thorzdad at 7:16 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


So many things that Americans just get wrong, though. Yogurt should rhyme with slog-ht, not slow-gurt, No S on Lego, yes S on maths. Herb has a H at the front for a reason. There's an L in the middle of solder for a reason too, to distinguish the act of melting lead-tin amalgams from that of anal sex.

And what's wrong with plimsolls?

Really, people. It's not difficult.
posted by Devonian at 7:22 AM on October 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


I met a guy from New Jersey who pronounced "asshole" in four syllables.
posted by Jode at 7:23 AM on October 6, 2016


Also, really, "tennis shoes"?

I'm also not sure I've heard anyone say "tennis shoe" in 20 years.

And I have never heard anybody, from anywhere, say "tennis shoes" for "sneakers."

Also, what the hell, sneakers is the most common default everywhere I have lived. What do you mean, it's the more unusual word?


Map says y'all are wrong!

I've used and heard crawdad and crawfish but never crayfish. I thought it was a different species.

Definitely heard "the devil is beating his wife" thing.
posted by LizBoBiz at 7:24 AM on October 6, 2016


Look, a nation which pronounces "cholmondeley" as "chumley" has no claim to any self-righteousness about Americans. The British complaining about American speech - some nerve, I tell you, some nerve.
posted by Frowner at 7:25 AM on October 6, 2016 [21 favorites]


I'd like to see a map for distribution of the different pronunciation of "ruin/ruined."

"Rue-end" is the most common, sure. But "runed"(as though it were the past tense of "rune") is pretty common. And there are pockets of southerners who say "rurned" or even "rurnt."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:25 AM on October 6, 2016


There's a great joke in an old Margery Allingham novel, where one of the characters has a dog named "Featherstonehough", which is pronounced, of course, "Foon".
posted by Frowner at 7:25 AM on October 6, 2016 [11 favorites]


Or at least I think it's a joke.
posted by Frowner at 7:25 AM on October 6, 2016 [10 favorites]


I love this.

I was just explaining to a new colleague, born in India, what a crawfish. (He'd asked, it's not a normal lecture topic of mine.) Then I realized I was explaining what a crayfish was and was consumed by self doubt. The other native speakers hedged when I asked them to back me up. But apparently that's because we're in a reasonable part of the country. Explained by research, visualized on a colorful map!

Also, a real hoagie is different than the sub. It just is. There's a deli near me (northern CA) that sells a "hoagie" and the second I had one I recognized it as a hoagie from my childhood. I'm sure it's not really as good but it's definitely not a synonym for sub.
posted by mark k at 7:26 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oof, just the other day I was watching some local Buffalo news station (because I lead a deep and compelling life) and the poor newscaster was reporting on some calamity (no doubt yet another industrial fire) that took place on Versailles Road. First she pronounced it "properly", and then immediately had to correct herself and said "Ver-sales." My heart broke a little bit at that moment.

Local news is great for stuff like this, especially weather people. You can tell which meteorologist is new to the area by how they pronounce various small towns when they're doing one of their all-night "Super Doppler-12,000 Severe Storm/Tornado Outbreak Coverage" shows. Nothing like a good chuckle while a small town is getting wiped off the map.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:30 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


"I met a guy from New Jersey who pronounced "asshole" in four syllables."

That could be the seed for a decent limerick, but he'd screw up the meter when he read it.
posted by mattamatic at 7:30 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh yeah, "colors" for crayons! We say that here in Tx.

Also I hear Mahn-ayze AND mayo-nayze, I think it just depends on how much of a hurry one is in.
posted by emjaybee at 7:31 AM on October 6, 2016


"I met a guy from New Jersey who pronounced "asshole" in four syllables."

A-yuss-hoe-awl? Probably a Hoosier visiting.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:32 AM on October 6, 2016


I'm pretty sure sub is the preferred term for those sandwiches in Canada and has been for a long time. I remember seeing Mr. Sub locations in Ontario in the 80s, and I believe that chain is all across the country, though not as common as they used to be.
posted by peppermind at 7:34 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Featherstonehough

Also the name of the Gorilla president "Olongo Featherstone-Haugh" in the libertarian alternative history novel The Probability Broach. I've never read it, but it sounds like the dumbest thing ever so I'm slightly obsessed.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:35 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Then I realized I was explaining what a crayfish was and was consumed by self doubt

That's okay. I think I was in my 20s before I realized that crayfish and crawfish or crawdads were the same thing. Growing up in BC it was crayfish but I would read or hear about crawfish in American tv or books.
posted by Jalliah at 7:35 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Cars: jag-uyar.
Animal: ja-gwar.


BEE (talking to car): The buzz I am. The jag you were.
posted by otherchaz at 7:37 AM on October 6, 2016


First she pronounced it "properly", and then immediately had to correct herself and said "Ver-sales." My heart broke a little bit at that moment.

Next we can pillory WEB Du Bois for pronouncing his own name wrongly. And all those idiots who say "Loss Anjiliss" instead of "Lose Anhelless" or "New Mecksicko" instead of "New MeSHEEca."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:40 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've never read it, but it sounds like the dumbest thing ever so I'm slightly obsessed.

It's spectacularly silly. It's the kind of book where characters have weepy explanations about all the great things it means when you carry a gun into their house. Also it turns out that gorillas and dolphins and whatnot were always sentient but they just wouldn't tell us because we weren't libertarian enough.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:42 AM on October 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


The Man from Lardfork, it's called a brew-thru only on NC's Outer Banks because of the Brew-Thru company based there.
posted by headnsouth at 7:42 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


In re "Featherstonehaugh", Stephen Fry on an interstitial for a Masterpiece Theatre episode:
Ian Fleming came from the kind of upper class world represented in the Jeeves and Wooster novels, and one of the many strange characteristics of that world, you may have noticed, is the peculiar pronunciation of names. The author of the stories is spelled Wodehouse, but we say “Woodhouse.” Bertie’s surname is spelled Wooster, but pronounced “Wuster.” Jeeves is a valet, but in England we say“val-et.” There are an extraordinary number of noble surnames amongst the titled classes in Britain that you have to be very careful about. The name Maywearing, for example, is pronounced “Mannering.” For Featherstonhaugh we say “Fanshaw.” And for Fotheringay, “Fun-gee.” My favorite is the name which is spelled Chalmunderly, but pronounced “Chumley.” It defies logic and sense of course, but then, so much about the aristocracy does. That’s part of their charm. Meanwhile, this is Stephen Fry, spelled with embarrassing simplicity, F-R-Y, bidding you farewell.”
posted by Etrigan at 7:43 AM on October 6, 2016 [11 favorites]


Does anyone else call tennis shoes "runners"? That's how I was raised in Ontario, Canada.

Ontario here--I have only ever called them "running shoes." What a dumb name! And yet.....
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 7:44 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Do any other runners refer to their old beat-up shoes as "rags?" The running stores around here seem to like that term.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:44 AM on October 6, 2016


As a non-native speaker living on the other side of the globe, apparently I pronounce most of these things the way that in the US are rare and specific to small regions? Man, that's weird. I mean, the way I'd pronounce "been" is not even on the map, even though there's a color for it in the legend. Same thing with syrup, and Mary/marry/merry (all completely different for me). And "sneakers" is not the most commonly used word?? Basically, now I know that I can't English.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 7:46 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ontario here--I have only ever called them "running shoes." What a dumb name! And yet.....

To me 'runners' is just short had for 'running shoes'. I'm just as likely to say I need a new pair of runners as I am a new pair of running shoes.
posted by Jalliah at 7:48 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


UPDATE: Enthusiastic Marylanders have alerted us that there is indeed a town in Maryland called Bowie and pronounced "Boo-wie." That solves that. No word yet from Texans.

UPDATE 2: From a Texan: "It's pronounced Boo-wie because it's named after Jim Bowie (pronounced Boo-wie), who played a major role in the Texas revolution. That explains why we're the only ones who pronounce it correctly."


They presented it like it was some mystery, when the most cursory research would have given them both of these factoids and made for a more informative/interesting article. Instead, ooh here's a heatmap, let's post it NOW with some bullshit copy NOW so google will index it NOW. Grrr.
posted by headnsouth at 7:49 AM on October 6, 2016


Is there a map for "orientate"? If not, could someone presentate one?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:49 AM on October 6, 2016 [8 favorites]


Growing up in the holy land of western New York State, I remember making friends with an exotic kid who drank soda and wore tennis shoes.

Finally, proof that my alma mater in western NY was the DIVIDING LINE between the soda and pop people!! Vindication! Oh, the fights we had.

Also: they forgot orange. Is it ah-ringe, or oh-ringe?
posted by Melismata at 7:49 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


We run in them! We don't sneak in them! And we certainly (dramatic look around) do not play tennis in them.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 7:50 AM on October 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


OMG D.O.T. "Orientate" is my own personal kryptonite.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 7:51 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


I want the map for the places that 1) understand SWOLE as an acceptable past tense form of swell. 2) Accept SNUCK as the past tense of sneak and 3) can use GLID as a past tense form of glide. (If you triangulate those, it might just be a shiny spot on my boyhood home.)
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:52 AM on October 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


To properly address a group, it's all y'all. Y'all is singular.
posted by Mizu at 7:53 AM on October 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


Is there a map for "orientate"? If not, could someone presentate one?

I haven't seen a map, but we can conversate about it.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:53 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Also: they forgot orange. Is it ah-ringe, or oh-ringe?

Furthermore, does ah-ringe line up with harr-ible, or no?
posted by uncleozzy at 7:54 AM on October 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


To properly address a group, it's all y'all. Y'all is singular.

So so very wrong. I don't even know where this idea came from. I think it's from Yankees who thought that when a Southerner says "How y'all doin'?" they meant you in particular, when we really mean "You and all your kinfolk, even if they are not present." Y'all is always plural. "All y'all" is for large groups.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:55 AM on October 6, 2016 [18 favorites]


I have to say that when someone refers to something as "harrible" it seems like a much worse thing than if it is merely "horrible".
posted by Frowner at 7:56 AM on October 6, 2016 [8 favorites]



To properly address a group, it's all y'all. Y'all is singular.




"All y'all" can be used to emphasize the size of a group or to differentiate between an entire group and also subset of that group (e.g. "all y'all stay put, except y'all can come") and I don't know who these people are who use y'all as a singular but it's terrible.

posted by bracems at 7:59 AM on October 6, 2016 [11 favorites]


Don't get me wrong, Pater, I agree with you that it is very wrong, but I was born in San Antonio and that is where I learned it like that as a small. (From god knows who.) Mostly I like to bring this up to be annoying, as I have annoyed you. Success!
posted by Mizu at 8:01 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


I pronounce the "L" in "salmon" and the "p" in "psychology" or "psy-" anything. I am a monster.
posted by I-baLL at 8:01 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have to say that when someone refers to something as "harrible" it seems like a much worse thing than if it is merely "horrible".

I'm imagining this meaning "so reprehensible that we are obliged to harry it away from us, possibly using packs of small foxhounds."

Nobody correct me!
posted by sciatrix at 8:02 AM on October 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


I pronounce the "L" in "salmon" and the "p" in "psychology" or "psy-" anything. I am a monster.

Don't forget the "K" in "knife" and "sword."

(In the case of "sword," it's the opposite of a silent letter--it's not there but pronounced anyway.)
posted by MrGuilt at 8:03 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


The British complaining about American speech - some nerve, I tell you, some nerve.

I know! Those English people from England who speak English really turl my gorps.
posted by adept256 at 8:06 AM on October 6, 2016


Hmm. SIngular y'all is better attested than I thought, but it always seems very wrong to this ol' boy from north Texas. It's definitely wrong to say that "y'all" is always (or even mostly) singular, although it does seem that some people do sometimes use y'all as singular, to the great detriment of the English language and society in general.

Surely we can all agree that my kids' school spirit shirts, which say "Travis Elementary Pride Ya'll" which the apostrophe in the wrong place are an embarrassment for a Texas school, even at the elementary level. Ya'll is "ya will."
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:09 AM on October 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


I know! Those English people from England who speak English really turl my gorps.

From what I've seen, you could make a similar map of linguistic diversity in England and you'd only have to cover a 20 square block area in London to do it.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:11 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Singular y'all is a Yankee abomination and should be avoided at all costs.
posted by bwvol at 8:15 AM on October 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


Yankee:

To a non-American: American
To a southerner: northerner
To a non-New Englander: New Englander
To a New Englander (pretentious): a magazine
To a New Englander (non-pretentious): an evil baseball team
posted by Melismata at 8:17 AM on October 6, 2016 [17 favorites]


If you like this, Strange Maps has stuff on the linguistic front like Best Friend Words and How France Bags It, but is awesome in general.
posted by farlukar at 8:20 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


I know! Those English people from England who speak English really turl my gorps.

Perhaps, given the events of the past week here, I should clarify that I do not, in fact, see any problem with a diversity of words and pronunciations, in the UK or elsewhere, and that my comment was meant as a lighthearted response to what I took to be a lighthearted complaint about American pronunciations. If it was a serious complaint, or if people took my response seriously, I apologize.
posted by Frowner at 8:20 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Given that Massachusetts seems to be the only place in the US that actually using circular traffic management layouts correctly (why do people put stoplights on them? That defeats that entire point!), I maintain that rotary is the correct word for usage in the US. And yes, I will fight you on this.

The rest of it, meh. Although tennis shoes to me are a type of sneaker. Like running shoes or cross trainers or high tops or indoor soccer shoes.
posted by Hactar at 8:22 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I feel like my accent is an undecipherable mishmash. I grew up in Minneapolis with parents from New York and spent a lot of time there. Spent part of my childhood in the west country of England. As an adult, have lived in Los Angeles, Omaha, and New Orleans. Throughout my childhood and early adulthood, people assumed I was from the east coast, although my tendency to say "howdy" and "I reckon" threw them, and I assume I picked those, and many other phrases, from the fact that I listen to a massive amount of country music and watch an awful lot of westerns.

So:

Crawfish. I say crawfish or mudbug, thank you New Orleans
Caramel: I say caramel, three syllables.
Been: Bin
Bowie knife I say like normal Americans and not crazy Texans, although I do pronounce Jim Bowie's name right
Crayon: Cray-ahhn, which the map tells me is not how Minnesotans say it, but, in my experience, is the way Minneapolitans say it
Lawyer: Loyer, the way God intended
Coleslaw: I am sure I am not the only Minnesotan who calls it slaw
And I say y'all, y'all.
Is peh-kahn not an option?
Soda, of course. Sometimes soda pop. A lot of Minneapolis say soda.
Sear-up
Sub? Po-boy.
Water or drinking fountain
Tennis shoes, sneakers, and slippers (the latter I know I picked up in England)
The freeway and highway are different things
Sunshower. Finally something typically Minnesotan.
I don't have a city. I have a Twin Cities, which I only recently discovered is not universally understood.

I know these lists are taken from the average of things, and so it doesn't mean much to be an outlier, but I feel like a lot of us are outliers. American is a land of tremendous mobility for a lot of Americans, especially the poor, and they carry bits of language with them, as well as leaving bits of language behind.

So not only are there a number of accents in Minnesota (the further west you go, the more like the one in Fargo it becomes, while the Iron Range accent is its own thing), there are also distinct accents among different groups. There are a lot of black people in Minneapolis who have accents that sound southern to white Minneapolitans, and are the product of an ongoing Northern migration, while there are also elements from Chicago and Detroit, which also provides a lot of black transplants. Up north, you hear a lot of Canadian sounds, like "root" for route, which also shows up now and then among Minneapolitans.

This isn't really a complaint, but I would be interested in seeing a more granular version of this. In part, this is informed by my Minnesota experience, where only one way of being Minnesotan is consistently treated as being authentic, and I know a lot of people who are not white Lutheran farmers sort of feel like they are relentlessly told they somehow aren't really Minneotan. So it would be nice to have a map that included their accents, at the very least, as also being Minnesota accents.
posted by maxsparber at 8:32 AM on October 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


In Cincinnati, we say "please?" for "please repeat that". It's taken from German and no one who moves here understands it.

I also grew up saying expressway for big Interstate roads, which isn't even on the map as "other".
posted by mkuhnell at 8:36 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Is there a map for "orientate"? If not, could someone presentate one?

I haven't seen a map, but we can conversate about it.


On the TV show Scandal, they've now started using "gladiate" as a verb. Because they call themselves gladiators so why not? Ugh.
posted by fuse theorem at 8:45 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


So what's up with people pronouncing the first syllable of "drama" like "hay" or "pray"? Anybody else heard this?

That's a Canadian thing (and thus probably heard in the upper Midwest too). We pronounce pasta and Mazda with that vowel sound too.
posted by hydrobatidae at 8:47 AM on October 6, 2016


That's a Canadian thing (and thus probably heard in the upper Midwest too). We pronounce pasta and Mazda with that vowel sound too.

Not all of Canada. West Coast it's 'drah ma'. I'm in Ontario now and I still occasionally get called out for my accent. I don't quite talk Vancouver anymore either according to people the last time I was there.
posted by Jalliah at 8:53 AM on October 6, 2016


I'm still horribly confused about this odd way of pronouncing lawyer. Has every movie and television show I've ever watched pronounced it the apparently Southern way, (which I identify with), or are my ears self correcting? Unless someone is putting on a recognizable accent, I never hear anyone pronounce lawyer like 'loyer.'

So....so....confused.
posted by Atreides at 9:00 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also: they forgot orange. Is it ah-ringe, or oh-ringe?

Arnj. As in "Would ya'll like some arnj juice? I don't have enough for all ya'll but if you want I can ask Wayne to put on his tenny shoes and go down to the store for more."
posted by emjaybee at 9:02 AM on October 6, 2016


If you could hear me right now you'd be hearing 'loyer'. My cats seem to like it.
posted by Jalliah at 9:03 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


To a New Englander (pretentious): a magazine
To a New Englander (non-pretentious): an evil baseball team


This joke is about people who eat pie for breakfast, damn it!

Singular y'all is a Yankee abomination and should be avoided at all costs.

It's easy to get confused, because of "all y'all" which can either be to refer to a number of groups "y'all're coming in the car, y'all're walking, all y'all be there by six" or to intensify meaning something like each and every single member of the group, "all y'all want seconds?" But no, no Southerner uses y'all as a singular.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:04 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Regarding "pecan": now that we use clumping litter for our cats, the urine/litter balls get scooped out of the litter box into a miniature step-on wastebasket we keep down in the cellar with the litter boxes. You can probably guess what we call that thing, and that I constantly annoy my wife by telling her "no sweetie, it's pronounced "pick-AHN".
posted by yhbc at 9:06 AM on October 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


Being from Texas, it would never occur to me to call tennis shoes anything other than "tennis shoes," even though I've never played tennis in my life. Bowie knife? Years of indoctrination in Texas history taught us about both the man and the knife, and it likewise never occurred to me that people would pronounce it any other way. Not that Bowie knives come up all that often in conversation -- same as raining while the sun shines. How does that happen often enough for a specific region to come up with a weirdly specific idiom for it?

"Y'all" is my own personal struggle. It is an absolutely useful word but I find myself trying to limit my usage of it in daily life, because in California, using it brands me. Might as well put a big old stamp on my forehead that says "Southern," and that's a whole can of worms that on most days I'd rather not open. But, there have been two times in the past week when I have specifically avoided using the word "y'all" in a situation where it would have worked best, and I ended up having to backtrack and explain myself.

One of those conversations, I was talking to a guy at work who, along with another person, needs to submit to me what is essentially a self-review of their individual performance. I was telling this guy some of the things that he and the other person (who was not present) needed to include in their reports. I said something like "So your report will need specific about X, Y, and Z." He got extremely offended and came back with "Why do *I* have to justify X, Y, and Z when the other person doesn't??" I said, sheepishly, "Uh, I only said 'your' because I was trying to avoid saying "y'all's."

And "y'all's" would have been the perfect word! It's specific, it's possessive, it would have been exactly what I meant. But as soon as it even came out of my mouth -- in the context of explaining that I had been avoiding saying it in the first place -- his reaction was to laugh and laugh and laugh. And now every time I see him in the hallway he says "So how's y'all's day going?"

Which basically makes him an asshole, and I guess that's the ultimate moral of the story. But the penultimate moral of the story is that "y'all" is a good word that is awkward to use because in lots of parts of the country people notice, and comment, when you trip up and do or say something that reminds them that you're from the south.

In summary: "Y'all" is a very useful word for addressing two or more people. Do not use it to refer to an individual. And don't be an asshole when you hear someone else use the word.

Oh -- and crawfish are what come out of the boiling pot. Crawdads are what come out of the creek.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:14 AM on October 6, 2016 [10 favorites]


It's weird that "been" doesn't have a contextual difference for people. I would say "I bin working the ref desk all morning" and "You bin listening to this loser?" and "I would've bin happier if the Mets'd won" but I would also say "Have you been to Alaska?" and "I have been to hell and back on the train today." So bin is time or condition, and been is place/travel.

I think I'm just weird, though. I have an Ant Maggie who is my ahnt. Generally people are pretty clearly one or the other with that one.
posted by blnkfrnk at 9:16 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


In conclusion: dear ESOL learners, on behalf of English speakers, I am deeply sorry.
posted by blnkfrnk at 9:18 AM on October 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


I grew up in the deep Ozarks and have lived in central Illinois all my adult life. I now generally alternate between KY-ote and ky-o-tee for "coyote," remember to mispronounce "coupon" as KOO-pon, and sometimes still call lightning bugs "fireflies" as the lord intended - but I honestly no longer know how to pronounce "interesting," or even which of the two choices is the one I grew up with. It's either IN-tress-ting or IN-ter-es-ting, and I'm darned if I know which.

Crawdads are definitely crawdads, though.
posted by Occula at 9:25 AM on October 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


Most of America realizes that New York really is "the City."

Your own map disproves this bullshit assertion, but thanks for playing anyway, BI!

I've just noticed that there is no completely accurate listing for the way I say "crayon"--it's not quite rhyming with 'man', because the vowel is longer and there's almost a slurred nearly a syllable.

Yeah, I did a double take at the map claiming most Americans pronounce it with two syllables - I feel like I've heard that very very rarely.

There's an L in the middle of solder for a reason too, to distinguish the act of melting lead-tin amalgams from that of anal sex.

The fuck are you talking about?
posted by psoas at 9:28 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


"Y'all" is my own personal struggle. It is an absolutely useful word but I find myself trying to limit my usage of it in daily life, because in California, using it brands me. Might as well put a big old stamp on my forehead that says "Southern,"

I don't have much of a Southern accent. I use y'all, but it's DC, lots of people do, so mostly I feel at home. Occasionally, though, I have to reference a TV or an umbrella and suddenly this intonation comes out (TEE-vee or UM-brella) that make me sound like a caricature of a redneck.* If I know it's coming with a couple second lead time, I can suppress it, but if I don't, it's always there.

*like you might see on the TEE-vee
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:33 AM on October 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


Am I the only Mefite who says bubbler?
posted by SyraCarol at 9:36 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's either IN-tress-ting or IN-ter-es-ting, and I'm darned if I know which.

You forgot "INNER-esting."

UM-brella

Oh yes, UMbrella. Also, CEE-ment instead of ce-MENT.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:39 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Am I the only Mefite who says bubbler?

I do, but I'm from the east coast of Australia.
posted by zamboni at 9:40 AM on October 6, 2016


Am I the only Mefite who says bubbler?

No I say it too! I'm from Rhode Island if it's relevant. I think it's basically Rhode Islanders and people from Wisconsin.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:42 AM on October 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh, a couple more! "Orange" for me is "ornj", "coupon" is "koo-pon", and umbrella in "UM-brella".

To me "the City" just refers to whatever big city I am near.
posted by mkuhnell at 9:44 AM on October 6, 2016


Oh -- and crawfish are what come out of the boiling pot. Crawdads are what come out of the creek.

mudbugs
posted by poffin boffin at 9:45 AM on October 6, 2016


The City is wherever The Tick is protecting, anyone who says otherwise is rong.
posted by Apoch at 9:46 AM on October 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


DirtyOldTown: "I'd like to see a map for distribution of the different pronunciation of "ruin/ruined."

"Rue-end" is the most common, sure. But "runed"(as though it were the past tense of "rune") is pretty common. And there are pockets of southerners who say "rurned" or even "rurnt."
"

I grew up in California. It wasn't until I moved east for college that it dawned on me that the word ruin has 2 syllables. I always said "roon" and "rooned". And I still say "wadder" instead of "water".
posted by chavenet at 9:46 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


where does the "roont" pronunciation come from, though.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:48 AM on October 6, 2016


boontling?
posted by chavenet at 9:50 AM on October 6, 2016


obviously "the city" is san francisco, it's even on our sports jerseys here

also here is some classic california english. i can't even imagine trying to learn english as a second language
posted by burgerrr at 9:51 AM on October 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


What's a port-o-let? A porta-john? A porta-potty? A latrine?

If you ask my girlfriend, it's a "porter", no how often I tell her otherwise, which is a lot, because we go to a lot of camp out festival kinds of things. I think it's a regional variation centered on wherever she is with a radius of one person.
posted by flaterik at 9:52 AM on October 6, 2016


Buggy vs shopping cart
"going to" vs "fixin' to"/"fixinta"/"fittin ta"
"smatterchew?" vs "what's the matter with you?"
"momandem" vs "mom and them" (eg. "say hi to your momandem.")
posted by jbelshaw at 9:58 AM on October 6, 2016


because in California, using it brands me. Might as well put a big old stamp on my forehead that says "Southern,

I unapologetically say it here in LA, because it's super useful linguistically, but I grew up in North Dakota with southern parents, so people only pick up on my lingering accent when I say "roof" or "about" and no one's ever asked if I was from the south.
posted by flaterik at 9:59 AM on October 6, 2016


"going to" vs "fixin' to"/"fixinta"/"fittin ta"

The arrivals signs at RDU at least used to have "fixin2land" as a status.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:02 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


In re "orange": Here in NYC, the tell for being a native or not is how you pronounce "orange" and "Florida." If you're a native, it's "AH-rinj" and "FLAH-rida"; if you're not, it's "AW-rinj" and "FLAW-rida."

And yes, as I've mentioned somewhere else on the blue, yet another reason to hate Trump is that he's made it impossible to use the NYC regional pronunciation of "horrible" without sounding like him. (Same with "Believe me," btw, which is another specifically NYC regionalism I can't use anymore.)
posted by holborne at 10:02 AM on October 6, 2016


" If you're a native, it's "AH-rinj" and "FLAH-rida"; if you're not, it's "AW-rinj" and "FLAW-rida." "

Native of which part of NYC?
posted by I-baLL at 10:09 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Anyone else say "might could"?

As in, "I might could stop by the store."
posted by mkuhnell at 10:31 AM on October 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


Anyone else say "might could"?

"might oughta" is a common variant. "We might oughta get the hell out of Dodge."
posted by bwvol at 10:37 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah there's a ton of double modal combinations. Might could, might should, might ought, may could, used to could, ought to should is one I've heard, although I wouldn't use it myself.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:42 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


I've been in Chicago 15 years and I still don't understand why the call RC Coke "pop".
posted by qcubed at 10:48 AM on October 6, 2016


crawfish are what come out of the boiling pot. Crawdads are what come out of the creek.
posted by mudpuppie


This person is clearly an expert on things that live on the bottoms of creeks, and should be heeded.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:49 AM on October 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


Native of which part of NYC?

Sorry, should have said native Manhattanite. Although my mother, born in Queens, has the same tell.
posted by holborne at 10:53 AM on October 6, 2016


that plants with thorns were "pricker bushes

You mean jaggers, right....
posted by splen at 11:00 AM on October 6, 2016


Why does Chicago call them gym shoes?
posted by asteria at 11:06 AM on October 6, 2016


Is there a map for "orientate"? If not, could someone presentate one?

I haven't seen a map, but we can conversate about it.


GAHH!!! I am forever trying to convince my nephews that "there is no such word as conversate, I don't care what rap music has taught you!"
posted by vignettist at 11:10 AM on October 6, 2016


Here in LA, not only do we call our shoes "tennis shoes", you might even hear us call them "tennies" (ten-knees) from time to time.
posted by vignettist at 11:11 AM on October 6, 2016


What's the deal with "yuge" instead of "huge"? Where'd that Y come from?

Also, my friend in Boston insists that there is a difference in the pronunciation of the names "Aaron" and "Erin" (Are-on vs. Air-in), whereas in LA they are pronounced exactly the same.
posted by vignettist at 11:14 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I can't believe "18 wheeler" didn't make the list, but I'm sure it was on the quiz.

I'm pretty sure most of my weird words come from my mom being raised poor in Louisiana, but I struggle to find other folks who agree with them.

Orange is "ernj"
Boil is "berl" (also oil, toil, foil, etc)
Warm became "wram" but that feels like more of an odd childhood error than a real rule (also, related, "micro-rave" for microwave)
There's probably ninety more than my Texan partner makes fun of me for, but they're not coming to me.

Also as a southern Louisianian, dishes are "saved up" much like laundry is (meaning to put away), groceries are "made" and not bought, and if you don't want to go through the drive thru of a restaurant that means you want to "get down".
posted by obtuser at 11:16 AM on October 6, 2016


Also, my friend in Boston insists that there is a difference in the pronunciation of the names "Aaron" and "Erin" (Are-on vs. Air-in), whereas in LA they are pronounced exactly the same.

Kind of like the "marry/merry/Mary" issue. In a lot of the US, they're pronounced all the same.

I actually pronounce Erin as "ERR-in," not "AIR-in" and Aaron as "A-ron" with the "A" as in "cat."
posted by holborne at 11:19 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


GAHH!!! I am forever trying to convince my nephews that "there is no such word as conversate, I don't care what rap music has taught you!"

Of course there is. The word is at least 200 years old
posted by maxsparber at 11:20 AM on October 6, 2016


What's the deal with "yuge" instead of "huge"? Where'd that Y come from?

Huh? It's there, behind the H. Unless you say hoodj, I guess.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:24 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


I am from Chicago and I call them gym shoes. They are the type of shoes you wearing in gym class... or Physical Education if you'd rather.

That is my only explanation.
posted by toddforbid at 11:29 AM on October 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


In an odd pocket of language regionalism, I grew up learning that often is pronounced with a very soft "t" in the middle. I could write this out as "OFF-ten" but even that makes the t too strong. But I didn't grow up saying "offen". The t was definitely present, and continues to be when I talk.
posted by hippybear at 11:36 AM on October 6, 2016


Am I the only Mefite who says bubbler?

No. They're incorrect about it being only from Rhode Island. Any person with a Boston accent and/or says tonic for soda/pop also says bubbler.
posted by Melismata at 11:37 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


obviously "the city" is san francisco, it's even on our sports jerseys here

Yeah they seem to have made an error leaving SF off the labeled options there because the map seems to indicate that SF is the second most City city - not a surprise to me because of how Bay Area geography works.
posted by atoxyl at 11:39 AM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


> "Aaron" and "Erin"

Oh man, this totally just reminded me about the time the mother of my long-ago-ex screamed at me for "emasculating" her son because I could not pronounce -- in fact, could not even hear -- the difference between "Don" and "Dawn." What a horrid (harrid?) relationship that was!

Anyway, to this day I am unclear on the difference. Can someone explain?
posted by Westringia F. at 11:39 AM on October 6, 2016



To me 'runners' is just short had for 'running shoes'.


This hurts me in the same way that people using "vinyls" for "records" or "denims" for "jeans" hurts me. I know it's irrational, but it just feels wrong.

Sneakers for me, fyi (born in Virginia, grew up in North Carolina, but that dialect quiz always puts me somewhere in New Jersey)
posted by thivaia at 11:40 AM on October 6, 2016


I have an urge to try to guess what all the other Cities are .
posted by atoxyl at 11:41 AM on October 6, 2016


Can someone explain?

"the mother of my long-ago-ex" explains it adequately.
posted by hippybear at 11:41 AM on October 6, 2016 [8 favorites]


Speaking as a colorblind person, I wish they had either made the colored boxes in the legends larger or the colors less pastel.
posted by tommasz at 11:48 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


On the jimmies/sprinkles debate: Many years ago, I was getting ice cream with a small child, who had a brother named Jimmy. While ordering, she was asked if she wanted jimmies. She burst into tears and said no, she wanted her own. This must be why the name Jimmy is less popular these days.
posted by greermahoney at 11:57 AM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


This study is from 2002 and the maps have been around since 2013. Why is this circling around yet again? I guess they ran out of news. It was posted here in 2013.
posted by AFABulous at 12:09 PM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am from Chicago and I call them gym shoes. They are the type of shoes you wearing in gym class

Being from Chicago, that was my thinking to and maybe the abundance of parochial schools helps that? But I was wondering if there was an official explanation.
posted by asteria at 12:35 PM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Don vs. Dawn

DAHN v. DAUGHN

At least that's how I pronounce 'em. I had someone ask me how I knew a mutual friend and it look me a few seconds to realize he was saying "Dawn" and not "Don".
posted by Lucinda at 12:40 PM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


There is only one "The City". Spider Jerusalem is reporting from it and exposing the lies they want to bury. While consuming massive amounts of drugs.

(Also, if you live in NYC, The City is Manhattan, not the outer boroughs.)
posted by Hactar at 12:57 PM on October 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


Anthropologically speaking, I just love this stuff! Great dialogue, guys.

I am reminded of the time I went to Boston, about 4 years ago. I was waiting on the jetway to get on the plane with everyone else... you know, the usual clusterfuck when you board an airplane. This wonderfully classic Bostonian piped up in front of everyone and said, "How haaahd is it? Ya put yeh craaap in the compaahment and sit yeh aaass in the chaiah!". I'll never forget that one!
posted by chatelaine at 12:58 PM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


This study is from 2002 and the maps have been around since 2013. Why is this circling around yet again? I guess they ran out of news. It was posted here in 2013.--AFABulous

This isn't a news site. People have posting things from the 1400s.
posted by eye of newt at 1:07 PM on October 6, 2016


(Also, if you live in NYC, The City is Manhattan, not the outer boroughs.)

And if you live in Manhattan, The City is about halfway between where you live and where the person you're talking to lives.
posted by Etrigan at 1:10 PM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Jumping in on "the devil is beating his wife", which is a crappy phrase I heard about fairly recently. According to my Bulgarian partner, the thing they say is rain while the sun is shining means a bear is getting married.

We have talked about this quite a bit, to the point where we've imagined a bear who just isn't ready and is having doubts about the relationship, but then it starts raining while the sun is shining and this bear gets all stressed because it has to quickly round up the guests and its partner and get dressed and get to the venue, and crap, the bear priest can't be found. It's just a big mess.

On the other hand, the bear could take the rain as a sign that everything is okay, and yes, it is ready for this and everything will be fine.
posted by cardioid at 1:22 PM on October 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


"ERR-in," not "AIR-in"
Wow, to me Err and Air are the same words. What is with the extreme islands of soda around St Louis and Milwaukee? I was just teased about the phrase "pop can" by a southerner and I explained that I usually order soda at a restaurant but would never call it a soda can.
posted by soelo at 1:27 PM on October 6, 2016


Collapse: one syllable or two? cuh-laps or claps?
I never considered any possibility but cuh-laps, but I often hear the one-syllable CLAPS and it startles me every time.
posted by Corvid at 1:28 PM on October 6, 2016


Oh man, this totally just reminded me about the time the mother of my long-ago-ex screamed at me for "emasculating" her son because I could not pronounce ...the difference between "Don" and "Dawn."

Wackjobs gotta wackjob. It also reminds me of the time I was studying abroad in [Spanish-speaking country] and my landlady's sister got all up in my face because I introduced myself once as [Spanish version of my name] and she protested, "That's not your name! Your name is [English name, accented heavily in Spanish]!" as if it mattered in that context.
posted by psoas at 1:30 PM on October 6, 2016


Grew up in eastern NC, two years in Houston, two years in LA, and 20+ years in western NC (i.e. Thunder Road territory). I have a regional quirk that I'm pretty sure is eastern NC: the double oo in coop, broom, and room is pronounced sort of halfway between cup and the double oo in roof. I can't figure out what it might sound like, but I did look it up in the OED years ago and it turns out to be a secondary pronunciation, so I've never tried to change it. The Californians got a huge laugh when I said Gary Cooper or chicken coop.

Soft drink, not soda or pop

Y'all is always plural.
posted by MovableBookLady at 1:32 PM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Of all verbal regionalisms (family idiosyncrasies? cathexes?) I've ever encountered, the strangest is the one I remember from the Agency guy who was attached to my unit in the Army: utterly normal, bog-standard mid-Atlantic pronunciation on all things, but for the words penis (PEN-iss) and semen (SEM-enn).

I've always wondered where he picked those pronunciations up. Like, did he grow up in a super-religious environment where neither one of those words could possibly be uttered aloud, so he sounded them out phonetically, and was somehow never brought up short when pronouncing them that way in public? Were they hypercorrections? Attempts to sound...I dunno, elegant? cultured?

I don't think it's coincidental that these oddities of pronunciation only came to vest in what might in some lights be considered charged words, but then again who knows. (I certainly don't recall him ever mentioning a VEGEN-uh.) Does anyone recognize this syndrome?
posted by adamgreenfield at 1:46 PM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


In New Orleans they call a soda a "cold drink". Other than that I could find no obvious errors on these maps.
posted by bukvich at 2:02 PM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


The one that drives me nuts is the handful of words like "biased" where the "-ed" gets dropped by a number of people, even when written. This is incredibly common on twitter.

"You are bias against.." just makes my skin crawl
(alternative: "Y'all bias")
posted by mikeh at 2:03 PM on October 6, 2016


Having spent some time around a number of Canadians over the last five years I'm amazed by how overstated people in the states are when faking a Canadian accent. With the exception of a couple areas where it's truly over-pronounced, "sorry" (sore-ree) and "been" (bee'n) aren't really noticeably different from the "standard american" newscaster accent.

I rewatched Norm Macdonald's movie Dirty Work not long ago and I'm pretty sure in between takes someone was making fun of his Canadian pronunciation of "sorry" because, in a five minute stretch, he says it three different ways, completely differently each time.
posted by mikeh at 2:07 PM on October 6, 2016


"penis (PEN-iss) and semen (SEM-enn)"

My high school biology teacher pronounced it CLY-tor-us. whaaaaaaaa?
posted by Occula at 2:43 PM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I grew up in Oklahoma and heard "the devil is beating his wife" from a babysitter. My family never used it. But what I remember her saying is that "the devil is beating his wife with a codfish." The rain drops were supposed to be the scales falling from the fish.
posted by treepour at 3:16 PM on October 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


I really love how most of Massachusetts is weakly "traffic circle," but there's a strong "rotary" right around Boston.

Places that don't use rotaries in major arterial clusterfuck driving situations should not be trusted to their naming.

As the above describes every intersection in the greater Boston area, it stands that the Boston interpretation should be weighted above that of the villages, backwater hamlets, and tertiary liberal arts college towns in the Commonwealth.

I remember with fear and fondness the dual rotaries of death near Alewife
posted by zippy at 3:17 PM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


In New Orleans, it is never a sub. Only Po' boy spoken here. Fried shrimp or roast beef with extra gravy but always dressed. Dressed = Lettuce, tomato, pickles and mayonnaise.

I had to learn to say "with everything" when I moved to California because they did not know dressed.
posted by narancia at 3:18 PM on October 6, 2016


Rather famously, Hugh Cornwell pronounced clitoris similarly in the Strangers' song 'Peaches', because he'd never actually heard the word pronounced and that was how he imagined it should sound.

Further to my previous comment - I should point out that as a Devon lad, I am familiar with the local variant of English there and its many differences from the stuff they speak elsewhere. It's got quite a few throwbacks to the time when the first English settlers arrived in America, and things like its rhotic pronunciation survived rather better in the US and Canada than here.
posted by Devonian at 3:36 PM on October 6, 2016


I have lived in California all my life and every time one of these threads come up I look at comments about Californians that do not reflect my experiences in any way. There has to be a very strong and localized East Bay accent or something. (The New York Times had a quiz a while back that would try to match your accent with a city, and it pegged mine to Oakland with 99% confidence, so maybe there is 🤔)
posted by clorox at 4:24 PM on October 6, 2016


I'm still horribly confused about this odd way of pronouncing lawyer. Has every movie and television show I've ever watched pronounced it the apparently Southern way, (which I identify with), or are my ears self correcting? Unless someone is putting on a recognizable accent, I never hear anyone pronounce lawyer like 'loyer.'

Maybe your ears are correcting it? I'm trying to imagine what it would sound like to say LAW-yer in a way that would be distinguishable from LOY-er. The sounds glide together such that I'd think you'd have to really exaggerate it like LAHWWW-yer. Or you have to really pause between the syllables in order to prevent the Y sound from bending the AW into an OY.

I searched "lawyer Alabama" in Youtube. On the first video I got tired waiting for the attorney to say "lawyer". Then I found this one which is nice because he says "loyer" a few times at the beginning. Then on this one he says "loyer" at about 14 seconds. To me, neither of them seems to have a particularly strong southern accent, and I still don't know what it sounds like to hear someone say LAW-yer.

Here's a Mississippi loyer at 28 sec

I got frustrated so I searched for "pronounce lawyer". In this video the woman who says she is from North Carolina seems to say it a little bit more like LAH-yer than the other people do, but I still don't think there's any W in it.

I'm going to seek out a rural juror and see how they say it.
posted by polecat at 4:40 PM on October 6, 2016


In New Orleans they call a soda a "cold drink".

My grandma, born in Florida, also called them "cold drinks." Everyone else there called them soda or "soft drinks" (which I grew up assuming was the actual correct term). I often see them listed as "fountain drinks" though I don't think anyone actually says that verbally -- "[small | regular | large] drink" is how we usually order them when it's self-serve.

"Pop" gets right on my nerves for some reason. I'm glad St. Louis is in a bubble of "soda."

I've been told people "from the south" call any old soda a "coke" but I have never met anyone who actually does. One guy from Texas called any cola "cola", the actual Coca-Cola brand "coke cola", and everything else "soda."
posted by Foosnark at 6:50 PM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


My dad, North Carolina, says "cold drink." The last time I saw him, he also had strong feelings on the etymology of "lawsy" so make of that what you will.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:55 PM on October 6, 2016


"Having spent some time around a number of Canadians over the last five years I'm amazed by how overstated people in the states are when faking a Canadian accent."

I was married to someone from Toronto, and in addition to (at the time) training myself to hear and reproduce that phoneme, in later years I acquired more linguistics/phonetics knowledge and eventually better understood how this all works.

Put simply, in the case of Canadian rising (as in many other examples) , those of us who don't natively have a phoneme hear it as the phoneme we do have which is closest. So, many Americans outside the upper Midwest hear that about as (or close to) a boat (or a boot).

This is some of the confusion and misunderstanding seen in parts of this thread. It would help a lot if we all were familiar with the international phonetic alphabet, but, alas, it's mostly arcane to me, too. But "eye-dialogue" and other attempts at representing different pronunciations often confuse more than they illuminate.

But a really important idea here is that we don't actually hear the precise sounds other people are making -- it's filtered both through a powerful, active contextual filter (because there's lots of noise in the environment and people are not perfectly consistent in the speech anyway) and we have a limited set of phonemes we are able to "hear", based upon our native language supplemented by what we may later acquire immersively -- and so discussions of dialectical differences in pronunciation are always fairly hobbled by this barrier.

BTW, given all this, what talented mimics do is all the more amazing
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:01 PM on October 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


My high school biology teacher pronounced it CLY-tor-us. whaaaaaaaa?

I'm just impressed that your high school biology teacher used that word at all, no matter how it is pronounced. My experience of high school biology was considerably less enlightened.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:09 PM on October 6, 2016


If nobody in your life ever said "penis" out loud, and you only read it in a book, you might say "PEN-ess" as your best guess. It's hard to believe that nobody ever said "penis" around that guy, but it's possible.
posted by blnkfrnk at 8:13 PM on October 6, 2016


I often see them listed as "fountain drinks" though I don't think anyone actually says that verbally

Oh gosh, I say "fountain drinks" all the time. I in fact refuse to go to places that don't have fountain drinks, and that's why I say it: "let's not get pizza there, they don't have fountain drinks." Or, "let's stop at WaWa, they have fountain drinks."
posted by Miko at 8:32 PM on October 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Beverage
posted by Mike Hunt at 8:43 PM on October 6, 2016


I wish they'd included the pronunciation of the last word in "ice cream sundae", although it'd probably just show a slowly fading circle of "SUN-duh" centered on St. Louis.
posted by NumberSix at 9:21 PM on October 6, 2016


I love these.

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

KITSUNE WEDDING!
posted by k8bot at 9:29 PM on October 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I like the introduction of 'cold drink' into the Soda/pop/Coke discussion, because the only place I've ever heard anybody call a soft drink that is in Cool Hand Luke which is set in the deep South in the late 40s.

Anyway, I'm really here to educate y'all on the nomenclature and history of athletic shoes. "Runners"? Please -- those are the people wearing them while jogging, those strips of carpet lining long hallways, or the bottom rails of a sled. "Sneakers"? "Tennis shoes"!? How quaint. Yes, up through the 1960s, we wore sneakers or tennis shoes. But then Chucks appeared. So much more sturdy and comfortable than a mere tennis shoe, like Keds. (We learned that Chucks were actually basketball shoes, but we wore 'em everywhere anyway.) So, in the Mid-Atlantic anyway, these shoes became known as Chucks (even when they weren't actually Converse All-Stars, but some cheaper wannabee.) Later on, in the 70s and 80s, athletic shoes evolved, with new brand names like Raebok, Addidas and Nike. These new, radical-appearing and even more comfortable and supportive shoes are known as running shoes. Okay, Chicago, I'll accept gym shoes too, but never 'trainers' -- that's UK English, and these maps are about the continental US only.
posted by Rash at 9:36 PM on October 6, 2016



No I say it too! I'm from Rhode Island if it's relevant. I think it's basically Rhode Islanders and people from Wisconsin

And Australians!
posted by kitten magic at 9:44 PM on October 6, 2016


In Hawaii we say soda; but it seems like the 40's sometimes.
"I'll treat you to one soda."
Who says "treat" anymore?
posted by Mike Hunt at 11:01 PM on October 6, 2016


Wait, Grindr delivers sandwiches now, too? Sweet!
posted by persona au gratin at 1:30 AM on October 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Is "sandwich" a euphemism for "couples who only play together"?
posted by hippybear at 1:38 AM on October 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Can't favorite this enough. I adore regional words/accents, it makes our country much more interesting, kind of like mom-and-pop restaurants in a sea of Chipotles & McDonald's. I've lived in many different regions of the country, and it's fun to assimilate linguistically.

East Coast (Washington to NYC) in formative years: hoagie, sub, grinder, hero are all the same thing: an overstuffed sandwich on elongated bread, filled with meats & cheeses & vegetables & mayo & mustard.

However, I agree way upthread where someone mentioned there is only ever a "meatball sub," never "meatball grinder/hero." I don't know why; those are the rules.

Growing up in DC, we really did say "you all" because it is an effective way to include multiple people without being too southern (which DC really isn't), but as I moved up the east coast I was dismayed to discover New Jersey's "youse" which doesn't quite make me shudder as much as it initially did. I literally thought the Jersey guy who said it was trying to annoy me. (Also Jersey people are the only ones who "go to the Shore." Everyone else goes "to the beach.")

I'm the daughter of immigrants, so I've always been hyper-aware of language & accents, and worked very hard to master whatever "standard American English" is (finally understanding that there is no such thing). To my young mind, national tv news correspondents were the standard bearer.

There are a lot of NYC transplants in DC, so I was aware of "arnj" and "harr-ible" and "dawg." But I nearly fell over the first time I heard a thick Long Island accent: no joke, I thought she had a speech impediment. My NY husband pronounces merry/Mary/marry three different ways; I do not. Don/Dawn do not come out of my mouth differently.

I've always found the southern emphasis on the first syllable for certain words: IN-surance; CE-ment; THANKS-givin' extremely charming. And I'm the type of person who "picks up" an accent from someone I'm in a conversation with, if it happens to be very strong. I had a Houston southern belle friend who always left me imitating her WRT speech and cadence.
posted by Pocahontas at 4:34 AM on October 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've always found the southern emphasis on the first syllable for certain words: IN-surance; CE-ment; THANKS-givin' extremely charming.

And UM-brella! I love that one.

This is in contrast to the English (British) tendency to stress the last syllable of a three-syllable phrase, such as "polar BEAR" or "WaterLOO", whereas as an American I say "POlar bear" and "WAterloo".
posted by chainsofreedom at 4:46 AM on October 7, 2016


Wait, Grindr delivers sandwiches now, too? Sweet!

But just like Subway sometimes what's advertised as a footlong actually isn't.
posted by bracems at 5:24 AM on October 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


I've always found the southern emphasis on the first syllable for certain words: IN-surance; CE-ment; THANKS-givin' extremely charming.

When discussing this with family once, we realized that there was a tendency to change the emphasis on umbrella in one circumstance, which was talking about umbrella policies for insurance, and I wonder if the double sound of UM-brella IN-surance is the reason. Personally, I seldom if ever have need to talk about umbrella policies, so I have no idea what I do. Last night my wife noticed I said DIS-play, but I think I might only use that for the noun; I'm pretty sure I put the emphasis on the second syllable in the verb. I'm going to keep an eye out for that.

Another sneaky Southern thing I do that I try to avoid when I can, but often can't, is the fill-feel merger. It's not every time, but occasionally it comes out. (Fuck the phrase "steel mill" that is just a trap)
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:13 AM on October 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


"bury" is probably another fun one. To me it rhymes with Mary, marry, tarry, hairy, dairy, fairy, Larry, etc. To a friend who grew up in California, it rhymes with furry, jury, hurry, curry, etc.

This was 900 comments ago, but:

Marry rhymes with tarry and Larry

Mary rhymes with hairy, dairy, and fairy

Bury rhymes with berry and merry.
posted by Diablevert at 11:21 AM on October 7, 2016


Diablevert: I pronounce all those the same way. (Southern Calfornia born in in the 60's)

In West England, where I live, "bury" as a suffix (e.g. Glastonbury) is pronounced "bree"
posted by vacapinta at 2:36 PM on October 7, 2016


The map I wanted to see concerns queueing.

Does anybody else besides New Yorkers stand 'on' line?
posted by Rash at 3:28 PM on October 7, 2016


Does anybody else besides New Yorkers stand 'on' line?

I'm pretty sure not.
posted by holborne at 3:40 PM on October 7, 2016


Jersey people are the only ones who "go to the Shore." Everyone else goes "to the beach."

Baltimoreans say "down the ocean." It comes out more like "downy ohwshin."
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 4:38 PM on October 7, 2016


. (Also Jersey people are the only ones who "go to the Shore." Everyone else goes "to the beach.")

Actually completely untrue (New Jerseyan here). We say "go to the beach." But our region is called "the Shore" or the "the Jersey Shore."

We live at the Shore, and we go to the beach. It's other people who come to the Shore to go to the beach. "We're going to the Shore" is what people from NY and Philadelphia and their suburbs (some of which, complicatedly, are in NJ) say when they're going to take a day or a weekend or a week and go to the Shore so that they can go to the beach. The Shore is where the beach is.

No one wakes up in a beach house two blocks from the ocean on the Jersey Shore and says "hey, let's all go to the Shore!" They go to the beach.

Come to think, it is used exactly as "the Cape" is in Massachusetts. "We're going to the Cape to go to the beach." They're not confusing the geographical region "Cape" with the physical land feature "beach," and neither are New Jerseyans.
posted by Miko at 6:10 PM on October 7, 2016


"Y'all bias"

You're seeing this on Twitter? Pretty sure this is AAVE.
posted by AFABulous at 7:59 PM on October 7, 2016


the difference between "Don" and "Dawn." Can someone explain?
Don has an "ah" sound in the middle. Like if the doctor tells you to say "ah"' while she looks in your throat. Dawn has an "aw" sound in the middle. Like if you saw a little kitten and said "Aww, it's so cute!"

The way I say them, Don rhymes with John and Ron and Dawn rhymes with fawn, gone, lawn, pawn, and yawn.
posted by Redstart at 8:33 PM on October 7, 2016




One of the ways I knew I'd just about finished assimilating into New York and was losing my New England brain was when I stopped calling liquor stores "package stores".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:45 PM on October 21, 2016


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