sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

January 6, 2014

dialectically speaking
posted by soe 1:11 am

I finally got around to taking the dialect quiz that The New York Times posted last month and that made quite a splash on social media.

My results show that the closest three cities to my particular way of speaking are Springfield, Mass., Newark/Paterson, N.J., and Philadelphia, Penn. The first connection is unsurprising, since central Connecticut and western Massachusetts are not dissimilar. I’m a little more surprised by the latter two cities, but I imagine it’s indicative of now having lived in the South for a quarter of my life. (While I picked “you” for what to call multiple single “you’s,” I will allow that “y’all” and “all y’all” do occasionally make their way into my speech these days.)

The best part of the results, I thought, was that the map squarely pegs where I grew up, with the darkest red directly over the town I called home for 15+ of my life.

The quiz was fun for, if no other reason, learning that things you take for granted are called by other names elsewhere. I mean, I knew that rotary, roundabout, and traffic circle were interchangeable and that a surprising number of people weirdly call sneakers “tennis shoes,” but I never would have guessed there were other terms for Mischief Night.

Have you had a chance to take the quiz? Did you find your results accurate? And were there surprises you encountered, either in the questions or in where they placed your dialect?

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