Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Vaux Dialect Survey


Sub sandwiches (red) are everywhere, but Pennsylvanians love their hoagies (green), New Englanders have heroes (purple) and grinders (blue), and Gulf Coast residents eat poor boys (orange).

This linguistics scholar, Bert Vaux, had this comprehensive survey of American dialects when he was at Harvard. Now he's moved to Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and you can take his survey here.

Anyway, they took the survey's site down at Harvard. Actually, they took down the homepage. But all the data's still up, and it's hours of fun. Commonly heard reactions: "People actually say that that way?" and "I can't believe so few people say that the way I do."

Edit: Actually, the data is down on the Harvard site now, but it's back up on the Wisconsin-Milwaukee server here.

1. How do you pronounce the vowel in "aunt"?
2. How about the one in "been"?
3. How do you pronounce the first vowel in "Bowie knife"?
4. How do you handle the word "caramel"?
5. How do you pronounce the second vowel in "cauliflower"?
6. How do you say the last vowel in "centaur"?
7. What about the word "coupon"?
8. And what about the name "Craig"?
9. What's the deal with "crayon"?
10. How many ways are there to pronounce "creek"?
11. What about the state "Florida"?
12. How do you "flourish"?
13. What's the last vowel in "handkerchief"?
14. So you want to be a "lawyer"?
15. Mary, merry, and marry?
16. Please pass the "mayonaise"?
17. Can you say "miracle"?
18. Are you feeling "mischeivous"?
19. How do you say the last vowel in days of the week, like "Monday" or "Friday"?
20. The second vowel in "pajamas"?
21. How do you say "pecan"?
22. How many syllables in "poem"?
23. "Really"?
24. How do you say "Realtor" (which is apparently a registered trademark)?
25. How do you handle the double os in "roof, room, broom, and root"?
26. What about "route," as in "the route from one place to another"?
27. What's that first vowel in "syrup"?
28. Any difference between "cot" and "caught"?
29. How do you pronounce "almond"?
30. What about the "s" in "anniversary"?
31. What do you call this thing: "*"?
32. What about the first "d" in "candidate"?
33. And the "s" in "chromosome"?
34. Etc., etc., etc.?
35. "Garage"?
36. "Grocery"?
37. The "h" in "huge, humor..."?
38. The "s" in "nursery"?
39. The last "s" in "Elvis Presley"?
40. "Quarter"?
41. "Spigot" or "spicket"?
42. The "g" in "strength"?
43. "Texas"?
44. Where's the stress in "cream cheese"?
45. How about in "insurance"?
46. Which word is stressed in "New Haven"?
47. "Thanksgiving"?
48. "Umbrella"?
49. You "dragged" or you "drug" her lifeless body?
50. "You all," "you guys," "y'all"?
51. "Are you coming with"?
52. "Where are you at"?
53. "Might could do that"?
54. "He used to nap on the couch, but he sprawls out on that new lounge chair anymore"?
55. "I do exclusively figurative paintings anymore"?
56. "Pantyhose are so expensive anymore..."?
57. Babies eat messily, so "forget the nice clothes anymore"?
58. What do you call it when you sell unwanted items on your porch or in your yard?
59. Throw knives at people much?
60. What's the area of grass between the sidewalk and the road?
61. What about the one in the middle of some streets?
62. What's the long narrow place in the middle of a divided highway?
63. "Milkshake," or something else?
64. Hoagies and grinders, hoagies and grinders?
65. What's the summertime insect with a glowing rear end?
66. Mini lobster?
67. Long-legged spider?
68. Maternal "Grandma"?
69. Paternal "Grandma"?
70. Maternal "Grandpa"?
71. Paternal "Grandpa"?
72. Dust "bunnies" or "balls"?
73. "Sneakers" or "tennis shoes"?
74. "Pill bug" or "roly poly"?
75. "Shopping" or "grocery" cart?
76. Across diagonally?
77. "Doing donuts"?
78. "Scratch" or "scrap" paper?
79. Big, fast road?
80. Rain falls when the sun is shining?
81. When you're cold, you get little points on your skin called--?
82. Gooey or dry stuff in the corners of your eyes?
83. What do you call a really easy course in school?
84. Traffic situation with several roads meeting in a circle?
85. Women tie their hair with a--?
86. "Cruller"?
87. "Bear claw"?
88. People who walk with their feet pointed outwards?
89. "Slaw"?
90. "Coffin" or "casket"?
91. Which came first, "oil" or "vinegar"?
92. Driver changes lanes quickly?
93. "On" or "in" line?
94. "Frosting" or "icing"?
95. "The City"?
96. "Dinner" vs. "supper"?
97. Where do you put your trash and garbage?
98. "By" or "on" accident?
99. "Frontage," "service" or "access" road?
100. Cut or mow the lawn or grass?
101. "Pass" or "hand" in homework?
102. Insect on the surface of water?
103. "Water" or "drinking" fountain?
104. "Subway" or other?
105. "Soda" or "pop"?
106. Covering houses with toilet paper?
107. Traffic jam around an accident?
108. "Bag"?
109. You bring home groceries in a--?
110. Night before Halloween?
111. End of a bread loaf?
112. "Barbituate" or "barbiturate"?
113. "Amphitheater"?
114. "Citizen"?
115. A purely academic point?
116. "Thesbian"?
117. "Basement" vs. "cellar"?
118. Drive-through liquor store?
119. Food you take home from a restaurant?
120. "Dibs" vs. "shotgun"?
121. "Ogle"?
122. "Especially"?


Blogger The GraveDigger said...

I've heard that Californians can't distinguish between Mary, merry, and marry. I tried about 6 times, and they all come out the same.

Also, did you see the aunts at the picnic? What about the ants? Same thing.

Me want talk pretty one day, but for now, C is for cookie, that's good enough for me.

4:20 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

Harvard is returning 403 forbidden errors when I click on your links. I am quite dissappointed.

3:42 PM  

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