pollyannamustdie: (Alien Heritage)
[personal profile] pollyannamustdie
A little bit ago, this American dialect quiz was floating around on Facebook. People who have lived in a lot of different regions of the US, or have lived abroad, got some less predictable results. My results pinned me dead-on.

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My friend Jason wanted to see the answers I selected. I also went back later and monkeyed with some of the answers to a fresh quiz to see what they would say, since some of my word choices and pronunciations have changed since childhood. The above result, plus Tulsa, of all places (Texas leakage?), came from the quiz that I answered completely honestly based upon the words I use now, and have been using for my adult life. To illustrate what I mean, let me start with the word crayon.

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At points in my childhood, crayons were crans, and, at other points, they were crowns. When I was a teenager and trying to better myself, I adopted (what I finally determined to be) the "correct" pronunciation, cray-awn. I really don't know what to tell you about all that. Even the mini maps don't make it make sense. I can tell you with absolute confidence that not once did I even consider eating a crayon, or putting a crayon in my nose. I really couldn't stand to even color with a broken crayon, and their value to me dropped pretty much the instant the point was worn down to a rounded nub (like driving a new car off the lot). Crayons were only beautiful when they were brand new.

I am famous (within my inner circle, anyway) for being a serious and committed offender when it comes to vowel mergers. [livejournal.com profile] pamelonian in particular likes to tease me about my pen/pin merger (thery're all pins to me). I am trying to fix that, but when I try to say pen, I feel like I am saying pan. SMH. I have worked throughout my life to become a more precise speaker, but I cannot be bothered to change the following lifelong habits, or even be convinced that they need changing:

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This next one gave me a little bit of trouble. I have always called it a garage sale if an actual garage is somehow involved (even if all the items for sale are in the driveway in front of an open or closed garage), and a yard sale if all the crap is in the yard, which tends to happen when there is no garage to be near the hoard pile that someone is trying to get rid of. There was not an option for my answer.

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Most of my friends and associates know that I spent a chunk of my childhood living in south Texas. I lived in San Antonio, and later, Corpus Christi. Say what you will about Texas, but as a school-aged child and wannabe sea creature, a absolutely loved it there. I think that's the reason why I cling so tenaciously to certain Texasisms, particularly the 100% valid contraction of you and all. We are all lucky I abandoned saying SIGH-reen instead of sigh-wren and SEE-mint instead of suh-MENT, though both have slipped out a few times during my adulthood, to amusing effect.

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Ok, so things I just don't. I was never aware that anyone had a word for Hallowe'en Eve. Were you? I have never used the word supper. It's kind of making me cringe, actually. I think I don't like the word supper. That's all right, though, because I've never used it, except, perhaps, when referring to a church's "pancake supper," which is a term that I find amusing. I don't know why.

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I didn't even learn the term rubbernecking until I was an adult. Prior to that, if someone was gawking at a traffic accident, I just said they were gawking or staring. The traffic jam itself is a traffic jam, a bottleneck, or, gee, an accident.

As for the kitty-corner business, I adopted the word diagonal when I was really small. I don't know why. I was (and still am) literal-minded to the point that dumb jokes didn't (don't) make sense to me, so maybe the term kitty-corner did not make sense to me, since I didn't know what the hell a cat had to do with it. I also favored the word stomach over tummy. I never had a boo-boo; it was a scratch, a cut, a scrape, a bruise, a splinter, a burn, or, you know, whatever it specifically was. For some reason, that specificity really mattered to little me. In my adulthood, I adopted the word catty-wampus to mean that something was jacked up in some way, or physically in chaos. I learned from this quiz that my use of that "word" is incorrect.

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Prior to my teen years, I'd never heard any term for the weather event that combines sun and rain. The term I heard was witch's wedding, which was not among the options given in this quiz. When I first watched Akira Kurosawa's Dreams, though, I decided to adopt the term "fox's wedding," because it's more romantic, even if you do have to stab yourself after you witness one.

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Like most Americans, apparently, I grew up calling her my Ant Carla. In my late teens or very early adulthood, I decided to adopt what I felt to be a more elegant, less insect-related pronunciation of the word aunt, and now it is my habit. I did something similar with the word pajamas, though not for buggy reasons.

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Road-related:

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Are you bored, yet?

The question of carbonated beverages is pretty boring. I grew up calling all carbonated beverages by their very own brand names, so that I could get what I wanted and not end up with some fizzy brown nastiness that I did not want. They are not all the same. I can smell the difference between Coke and Pepsi. So can [livejournal.com profile] pamelonian. Again, as a child, that specificity was important to me. Later, I adopted the generic catch-all soda, because I like the word soda. I also prefer the word sofa to couch. It's just a prettier word.

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I know it's wrong. Sorry.

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Still. Actually, I just call them tennies, even though I never get anywhere near tennis.

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They're still lightning bugs to me, even though there is something more elegant and fancy about the word firefly...

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I just can't believed I touched and played with these vile things as a child:

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:::shudder:::

This post is getting long, so I won't insert any additional images. I grew up saying icing, but I now say frosting, thanks to the influence of television commercials. I honestly don't know whether I say water fountain or drinking fountain, it is so rare that I refer to those things at all. A big truck is a semi. The large, American cat is a mountain lion, whether in the absence or presence of mountains, real or imagined. Lawyers practice law, so I call them lawyers, not loy-yers. I would call them loy-yers if they practiced loy. An easy class is a pud class. That option was not available in this quiz. I guess they are crawfish? I haven't had much occasion to say one way or the other what those little things are.

Well, y'all, I guess that's it! If you're in Texas, drive through a party barn for me.

Date: 2013-12-28 05:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daphnep.livejournal.com
They didn't have a choice for just "drive through liquor store", either, for those of us who don't need a euphemism.
I think you make a good point about changing pronunciation as we grow--I got really weird answers for that quiz, because so many of the questions just confused me. Like the yard/garage sale one. Absolutely, the various terms mean different and non-interchangeable things. And in cities with no yards or garages, they are by necessity stoop sales or porch sales. How silly would it be to throw a "garage sale" in my present (urban) neighborhood?

So I appreciate your distinctions and clarifications...as well as your justification for lawyer. Loy-er never makes sense to me, so to avoid being mocked as an adult I just say "attorney".

Date: 2013-12-28 08:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zitronenhai.livejournal.com
I guess I don't see "party barn" as a euphemism. It doesn't seem like a bland, innocuous alternative to the term "drive-through liquor store."

Then, of course, we must consider that some of these structures look like barns. Others appear to be repurposed car washes. The ones I have visited have looked... like barns. So that might explain something about that.

Date: 2013-12-28 09:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daphnep.livejournal.com
That makes sense! The ones I know are from Arizona, and they're definitely not shaped like barns.

Date: 2013-12-29 05:59 pm (UTC)
chezmax: (eye)
From: [personal profile] chezmax
Coming from a province which is highly puritanical about liquor sales, the idea of a drive-through liquor store is horrifying to me. :)

Date: 2013-12-29 07:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zitronenhai.livejournal.com
My state is semi-puritanical about liquor; I say that because they've loosened up over the years, but we still have some stilly laws, and I think we still have some dry counties.

One of the party barns I went through on a trip to Texas filled our cooler with ice and packed our purchases into the cooler! I felt like a princess, just sitting there.

Date: 2013-12-29 05:58 pm (UTC)
chezmax: (eye)
From: [personal profile] chezmax
Even if there isn't a garage, they're often called garage sales here, though yard sale isn't unheard of.

Date: 2013-12-29 09:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zitronenhai.livejournal.com
I think the favored generic term here is "garage sale," too, but if the stuff turns out to be in the yard and there is no garage involved, I will end up referring to that particular sale as a "yard sale."

Date: 2013-12-28 06:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] m-danson.livejournal.com
My east coast Canadian accent matches like this: http://nyti.ms/1jU0GU3

Date: 2013-12-28 06:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zitronenhai.livejournal.com
Ooh, that's interesting! Thank you for sharing!

Date: 2013-12-28 06:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] m-danson.livejournal.com
It doesn't surprise me. Many of my words come from Newfoundland and the maritimes. I know, from my grandmother, that there was a surprisingly large amount of movement between New England area and Newfoundland. Also, the Maritimes used to have much tighter ties south than west or north.

Date: 2013-12-28 08:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zitronenhai.livejournal.com
That makes perfect sense.

Date: 2013-12-28 07:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anomali.livejournal.com
Because of this quiz, after 20 years of knowing me, James just learned that I don't say pa"jam"as to be silly. ;)

For me, crawdads are the critters and crawfish is the food, rather like pig/pork, I suppose. I guess I wanted to distinguish between the critters I knew from irrigation ditches and, dare I say cricks, and something I would consider eating.

Date: 2013-12-28 07:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zitronenhai.livejournal.com
I guess I wanted to distinguish between the critters I knew from irrigation ditches and, dare I say cricks, and something I would consider eating.

Ha! Ha ha ha ha! :) I love this.

Date: 2013-12-28 07:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nalidoll.livejournal.com
I actually have this quiz open in a tab. I was going to take it before, but it was having issues, and I hadn't yet gotten back to try again.

I say "cattywampus" to mean "off kilter". Like, when James hangs something on the wall and it is not up to my standards of precise level-ness.

I always called the strip of grass between the sidewalk and the road a "swale". Turns out this is a South Florida thing, because ours actually are little dips of land used to help facilitate drainage. When I moved out here and nobody knew what I was talking about, I assumed it was because - for the most part - they don't have grass there, or they don't have sidewalks. Funny story: for years my mother assumed my (VERY Texan) father was saying "swell" with an accent, because that's kinda how strong his accent was. She didn't realize "swale" was a word until he asked me how to spell it one day and I rattled it off.

I think "garage sale" is my default, because even though I use the other terms occasionally, I generally say "Let's go garage sale-ing" when I refer to the activity.

I always thought I said "marry/Mary" and "merry" differently. Turns out, the difference is only in my head. What everyone else hears is exactly the same.

Icing and frosting are different things to me. Frosting refers to the fluffier kinds. However, I have NO IDEA where I picked this up.

Miss Bit has lived her whole life in Texas. It is fabulously amusing to see her with her Minnesota cousins. They each think the other is speaking a foreign language.
I should make my mother take this quiz. She grew up in MN, lived in South Florida for over twenty years (while married to a Texan), and now lived with her British husband in both the UK and Turkey (where she hangs out with a bunch of Scottish ex-pats).

Date: 2013-12-28 07:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zitronenhai.livejournal.com
I say "cattywampus" to mean "off kilter". Like, when James hangs something on the wall and it is not up to my standards of precise level-ness.

I use it that way, too! Thanks for writing a much better sentence about that word.

I always called the strip of grass between the sidewalk and the road a "swale". Turns out this is a South Florida thing, because ours actually are little dips of land used to help facilitate drainage.

We kind of have those in North Lawrence, where I live. North Lawrence would be a swamp if not for the levee. Don't break, levee!

I always thought I said "marry/Mary" and "merry" differently. Turns out, the difference is only in my head. What everyone else hears is exactly the same.

Ha ha ha ha ha! :D That's like me and the pen/pin thing, which is why when I try to hard to say "pen," I hear "pan."

She grew up in MN, lived in South Florida for over twenty years (while married to a Texan), and now lived with her British husband in both the UK and Turkey (where she hangs out with a bunch of Scottish ex-pats).

You should! I would be curious to see her results. My friend who has lived in Norway for the past twenty years wound up with some interesting results.

Date: 2013-12-29 06:02 pm (UTC)
chezmax: (eye)
From: [personal profile] chezmax
I don't think I have a word for what you call a 'swale'. I think the (city) government sometimes calls them boulevards, but I tend to reserve that word for a divided street, or the strip of grass in the divided street.

Date: 2013-12-29 01:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] low-delta.livejournal.com
I always thought I said "marry/Mary" and "merry" differently. Turns out, the difference is only in my head. What everyone else hears is exactly the same.

Me too! I learned the hard way (though friends making fun of me) that the differences are so subtle, for many words, that it really makes no difference to the listener.

Date: 2013-12-28 07:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] low-delta.livejournal.com
I tend toward the accurate pronunciation of words as spelled. I may have said "cran" when I was very young, but it wasn't long before "cray-on" became the norm. Or "cray'n," at least. That seems to make me an anomaly for the upper midwest. Pen, cawt, law-yer. I say "ant" but it seems wrong.

I also tend toward the practical. They call them "bubblers" around here, but "drinking fountain" assures everyone knows what you mean. Rummage sale doesn't seem to imply a certain location for said sale (though I don't know what "rummage" means, so I could be wrong). Garage sale is an acceptable default, because around here, most of them are in garages. I used to say "tenni-shoes" but nowdays shoes are so specialized, that doesn't really work. I would say "drive-though liquor store."

"Kittycorner" is an inaccurate spelling of "catacorner." Pill bugs and sow bugs are very similar, but are actually two different kinds of bugs.

I had never heard any of the other terms for sunshowers before now.

Date: 2013-12-28 07:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zitronenhai.livejournal.com
I used to say "tenni-shoes"

Yeah, that is a much more accurate representation of how I always said and continue to say that.

I also tend toward the practical. They call them "bubblers" around here, but "drinking fountain" assures everyone knows what you mean.

I think I have just referred to them as "fountains" in recent times, now that I pause to contemplate it. *shrug*

Date: 2013-12-28 08:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] clevermanka.livejournal.com
I've heard that accents are the toughest thing to drop as a lifetime habit. One can hold a fake accent for a time, but adopting different pronunciations permanently is really, really difficult.

Date: 2013-12-28 08:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zitronenhai.livejournal.com
I sure can't get myself to adopt the term "roundabout," no matter how wonderfully British it might sound. "Traffic circle" comes out of my mouth before I have a chance to think about it.

Date: 2013-12-28 08:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] clevermanka.livejournal.com
Either of those are nicer than what automatically comes out of my mouth when those things are referenced.

Date: 2013-12-28 08:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zitronenhai.livejournal.com
I still hate that huge one on Ward Parkway.

Date: 2013-12-28 09:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] clevermanka.livejournal.com
I hate the one that's fifteen feet from our house.

Date: 2013-12-28 09:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zitronenhai.livejournal.com
Yeah, that is a pointless obstruction. I don't understand why it, or others like it, exist.

Date: 2013-12-28 09:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] clevermanka.livejournal.com
In short? Penny Concrete has had our city commission in its pocket for decades.

Date: 2013-12-29 07:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zitronenhai.livejournal.com
Revolting, but unsurprising.

Date: 2013-12-29 02:44 am (UTC)

Date: 2013-12-29 06:03 pm (UTC)
chezmax: (eye)
From: [personal profile] chezmax
*laughs* Don't come to my city though. Planners have been using them frequently in newer areas here. It's not British levels, but there are a lot here now.

Date: 2013-12-29 07:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zitronenhai.livejournal.com
They've been popping up more and more here in my little city, usually to replace four-way stops, which I did find shocking, and unamerican (LOL), at first. I kind of have a love/hate relationship with the one I encounter most frequently. It's other people I fear.

Date: 2013-12-28 09:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zitronenhai.livejournal.com
I did manage to stop saying "worsh" by the time I was old enough to vote. I guarantee you that I do not say that anymore.

Date: 2013-12-29 06:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anomali.livejournal.com
James' grandma used to say "worsh the winders", which always cracked up James as a kid.

Date: 2013-12-29 07:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zitronenhai.livejournal.com
I really did have to struggle to stop saying it. I accomplished that in my teens, and for a while, I just dropped the word "wash" from my vocabulary. There are lots of alternatives.

Date: 2013-12-28 08:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pamelonian.livejournal.com
This dialect quiz continues to inspire discussion. People love to talk about how they talk. I even had a discussion of the quiz with my parents. My dad, of course, believes that his pronunciation or word is THE correct one in all circumstances. I tried to get him to look at things regionally, but he's an absolutist. I shouldn't be surprised.

Date: 2013-12-28 08:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zitronenhai.livejournal.com
Ha! I am sure you are not, actually, surprised by this. I know I'm not. =)

Date: 2013-12-28 09:04 pm (UTC)
elaineofshalott: Crop of painting of the Lady of Shalott, sitting in her bier looking tragic. (the Lady)
From: [personal profile] elaineofshalott
Here's my map, which puts me, correctly, around Boston, Worcester (MA), and Providence (RI), though possibly only because of "rotary". ("Roundabout" is what my GPS says, so I sometimes use that too.) My word for that particular insect would just be "ew", and I cannot recall ever seeing one. "Party barn" I've never heard but it cracks me up. I didn't know a drive-through liquor store could be a thing. They are probably illegal in Massachusetts. Hee. And I've never heard most of those terms for "sunshower"--"the wolf is giving birth"? Really? That makes me think of wolf-mama bodily fluids raining on my head. No thank you.

Date: 2013-12-29 09:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zitronenhai.livejournal.com
There are no party barns or drive-through liquor stores of any kind in Kansas! It hasn't been all that long since our liquor stores began doing business on Sundays.

Yes, those bugs, they are gross, and I am glad for you that you have never seen one.

I like the term "rotary." I would try to adopt it, but nobody around here would know what I meant.

Date: 2013-12-29 03:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fbhjr.livejournal.com
It is an interesting quiz.
And, it is interesting to see your answers one by one.
Thank you for sharing them!

Date: 2013-12-29 09:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zitronenhai.livejournal.com
You're welcome! It is fun to take memes and add commentary. =)

Date: 2013-12-29 05:46 pm (UTC)
chezmax: (eye)
From: [personal profile] chezmax
Even if I try, I can't make cot and caught sound different.

Date: 2013-12-29 06:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anomali.livejournal.com
For me, cot has an "ah" sound and caught has an "aw" sound.

Date: 2013-12-29 07:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zitronenhai.livejournal.com
That sounds imaginary. ;-) Pam is in your camp on this one, though.

But seriously, for me, they both have the "aw" sound.
Edited Date: 2013-12-29 07:10 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-12-30 05:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anomali.livejournal.com
This has all been so much fun! I've had conversations about pronunciation and terms for various and sundry things with friends from all over the world who speak English as either a first or second language.

It is funny how weird an unnatural pronouncing it differently fee;s in the mouth, isn't it?

How about Mary, merry, and marry? I know you, Z, pronounce them the same but I wonder if anyone else pronounced marry with a bit of a sheep or goat sound in the middle there with m"aah"ry and the other two with m"air"y. I didn't even realize I did this until I spoke them out loud for this quiz.



Date: 2013-12-29 05:57 pm (UTC)
chezmax: (eye)
From: [personal profile] chezmax
I know the test doesn't really apply to me, but it says my dialect is most like Buffalo or Minneapolis/St. Paul or Grand Rapids. All of which are probably pretty similar. I might have thrown it off by not knowing about 'native cats of north america' (there aren't any here, and I'd think of a lynx first)

Date: 2013-12-29 07:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zitronenhai.livejournal.com
Based on what I understand of spoken English in your part of Canada, all of that makes sense.

Date: 2013-12-30 04:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rivertumbled.livejournal.com
Whoa.
I took it and I got Baltimore, DC, and a DC suburb.
I have never been to Baltimore, and I've only been to DC once...

Date: 2013-12-31 07:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zitronenhai.livejournal.com
Weird! So weird! I don't even know what to say!

Date: 2013-12-31 08:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rivertumbled.livejournal.com
I know! I think I must have done it wrong. Or I have just lived in too many places....

Date: 2013-12-31 09:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zitronenhai.livejournal.com
I think that is the likeliest reason. Outside of my few years in S TX, I have lived in NE KS, and it (boringly enough) shows.
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