22 Maps That Show How Americans Speak English Totally Differently From Each Other

  • WhoDey

    Posts: 561

    Jun 07, 2013 2:48 AM GMT
    http://www.businessinsider.com/22-maps-that-show-the-deepest-linguistic-conflicts-in-america-2013-6?op=1
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 07, 2013 3:11 AM GMT
    Language is fascinating.

    Moving from America to England, I've caused outrage a few times when I wrote lyrics for Victorian characters.
    (I am taking the word of the Brits in my music group here.)

    I wrote "gotten" in a song. No such word in England. It's just "got."
    There's no "Burglarize" either. It's just "burgle."
    "Smart" does't mean intelligent even though there was great difficulty saying what it did mean. Something like "sharp."
    I wrote that an animal was nice and was immediately told that it made no sense. It seems "nice" is only for a "nice mess."

    Many words that rhyme in America don't rhyme in England. I've had to rewrite lyrics so many times bcause of this. Then again, "sure" and "gore" rhyme here in New York but my musicain friend who was setting the lyrics in Chicago informed me it would not rhyme for his audience there.

    I've never understood all the rules. If one person drops R's, it's poor diction. If a lot of people who live next to each other do it, it's a dialect!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 07, 2013 3:26 AM GMT
    No wonder English is such a difficult language to learn.
  • AMoonHawk

    Posts: 11406

    Jun 07, 2013 3:28 AM GMT
    They got 'group to address a group of 2 or more people' wrong for my area. It should be:
    use
    you's
    use guys
    ya'll
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 07, 2013 5:14 AM GMT
    Wow! What an eye opener. Who knew that when most" American's say "been" it doesn't rhyme with "scene". Apparently to them the eeeee sounds like the "i" in "sit"!!!!!

    Another thing: a "brew-thru". A place where one buys alcohol at a drive-in window. Love the nick-name but as God is my witness I've never even thought of the concept, let alone heard of it.

    I didn't understand until now how far American English is drifting away from Canadian English....

    ;-)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 07, 2013 5:46 AM GMT
    Upon re-reading I just realized something: running shoes are known as sneakers or tennis shoes in the US. "Running shoes" isn't even a choice, lol!

    This is confusing: most American's don't have an expression that describes falling rain when the sun is still shining. Canadians would recognize it as a Sun Shower. How odd that there isn't an equivalent in most of the US. Is it so common that no one thinks twice about it???
  • Just_Tim

    Posts: 1723

    Jun 07, 2013 6:42 AM GMT
    YVRguysun is still shining. Canadians would recognize it as a Sun Shower. How odd that there isn't an equivalent in most of the US. Is it so common that no one thinks twice about it???


    What?! No, we've seen it rain while the sun is still out plenty of times. It just didn't seem important enough to name icon_lol.gif
  • Joeyphx444

    Posts: 2382

    Jun 07, 2013 7:12 AM GMT
    I tested myself on this and I'm definitely a new Englander lol saying sear-up LOL sir-up sounds weird to me

    BTW the been thing confuses, I have always heard it pronounced like "Ben" never like "bin" that or I just don't catch it when ppl say that

    I say it like "how have you ben" but im not from Midwest
  • ja89

    Posts: 789

    Jun 07, 2013 7:35 AM GMT
    This just proves I'm still a Texan, no matter where I live
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 07, 2013 7:43 AM GMT
    LOL, this is so funny article thankyou.

    I have all types of accents that come out. Some words are pronounced in the South Florida way, other's have more of the southern drawl to it (I always say y'all). As you can see, Florida is one of the states that just isn't in any 1 shade. Of course I don't live there anymore, but it still sticks with me y'all.

    Wow I'm surprised pee-can is an up north way to say it. I've always said pecans as pee-cans even when we used to get garbage bags of Georgia pecans LOL.
  • drypin

    Posts: 1798

    Jun 07, 2013 7:56 AM GMT
    The colored maps really drive home the point.

    I'll have to look at the main site to see if Katz had the respondents talk about the pronunciation of 'sure'.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 07, 2013 9:02 AM GMT
    Language is awesome, and...
    Maps are awesome too!
    Two of my favourite things in one study - awesome.

    This was interesting. I like the most sporadic examples best - like the word chosen for carbonated drink. Also cool to see how variations are not necessarily just split be east/west, north/south, etc, but a variation. New Orleans seems to be an epicentre of local dialect/accent - perhaps the strong French influence...?

    Although this is interesting, accents are even more disparate across the UK - it's staggering how varied and extreme accents can be on our tiny island(s) which is about the size of Texas.

    This vid is very simplified, but shows the degree of variation. (Skip to 40sec and stop at 4mins)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 07, 2013 9:45 AM GMT
    Cool maps. Close to being accurate too for the most part. My eastern/southern relatives certainly talk that way.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 07, 2013 12:06 PM GMT
    AMoonHawk saidThey got 'group to address a group of 2 or more people' wrong for my area. It should be:
    use
    you's
    use guys
    ya'll

    No way man that is just bad grammar
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 07, 2013 12:09 PM GMT
    Yeah guys, its called English for a reason, not American or Australian, or Canadian or whatever... Sorry to sound like an old fart
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 07, 2013 12:19 PM GMT
    Erik101 saidNo wonder English is such a difficult language to learn.


    It's not really the accents that makes English difficult to learn; its the irregularities of spelling/pronunciation and irregular verb structures. Plus the fact that English has been affected by so much external influence throughout history and has had to adapt to each new influence.

    Gerard Nolst Trenité – The Chaos (1922)

    Dearest creature in creation
    Studying English pronunciation,
    I will teach you in my verse
    Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse.

    I will keep you, Susy, busy,
    Make your head with heat grow dizzy;
    Tear in eye, your dress you’ll tear;
    Queer, fair seer, hear my prayer.

    Pray, console your loving poet,
    Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!
    Just compare heart, hear and heard,
    Dies and diet, lord and word.

    Sword and sward, retain and Britain
    (Mind the latter how it’s written).
    Made has not the sound of bade,
    Say-said, pay-paid, laid but plaid.

    Now I surely will not plague you
    With such words as vague and ague,
    But be careful how you speak,
    Say: gush, bush, steak, streak, break, bleak ,

    Previous, precious, fuchsia, via
    Recipe, pipe, studding-sail, choir;
    Woven, oven, how and low,
    Script, receipt, shoe, poem, toe.

    Say, expecting fraud and trickery:
    Daughter, laughter and Terpsichore,
    Branch, ranch, measles, topsails, aisles,
    Missiles, similes, reviles.

    Wholly, holly, signal, signing,
    Same, examining, but mining,
    Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
    Solar, mica, war and far.

    From “desire”: desirable-admirable from “admire”,
    Lumber, plumber, bier, but brier,
    Topsham, brougham, renown, but known,
    Knowledge, done, lone, gone, none, tone,

    One, anemone, Balmoral,
    Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel.
    Gertrude, German, wind and wind,
    Beau, kind, kindred, queue, mankind,

    Tortoise, turquoise, chamois-leather,
    Reading, Reading, heathen, heather.
    This phonetic labyrinth
    Gives moss, gross, brook, brooch, ninth, plinth.

    Have you ever yet endeavoured
    To pronounce revered and severed,
    Demon, lemon, ghoul, foul, soul,
    Peter, petrol and patrol?

    Billet does not end like ballet;
    Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
    Blood and flood are not like food,
    Nor is mould like should and would.

    Banquet is not nearly parquet,
    Which exactly rhymes with khaki.
    Discount, viscount, load and broad,
    Toward, to forward, to reward,

    Ricocheted and crocheting, croquet?
    Right! Your pronunciation’s OK.
    Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
    Friend and fiend, alive and live.

    Is your r correct in higher?
    Keats asserts it rhymes Thalia.
    Hugh, but hug, and hood, but hoot,
    Buoyant, minute, but minute.

    Say abscission with precision,
    Now: position and transition;
    Would it tally with my rhyme
    If I mentioned paradigm?

    Twopence, threepence, tease are easy,
    But cease, crease, grease and greasy?
    Cornice, nice, valise, revise,
    Rabies, but lullabies.

    Of such puzzling words as nauseous,
    Rhyming well with cautious, tortious,
    You’ll envelop lists, I hope,
    In a linen envelope.

    Would you like some more? You’ll have it!
    Affidavit, David, davit.
    To abjure, to perjure. Sheik
    Does not sound like Czech but ache.

    Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
    Rachel, loch, moustache, eleven.
    We say hallowed, but allowed,
    People, leopard, towed but vowed.

    Mark the difference, moreover,
    Between mover, plover, Dover.
    Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
    Chalice, but police and lice,

    Camel, constable, unstable,
    Principle, disciple, label.
    Petal, penal, and canal,
    Wait, surmise, plait, promise, pal,

    Suit, suite, ruin. Circuit, conduit
    Rhyme with “shirk it” and “beyond it”,
    But it is not hard to tell
    Why it’s pall, mall, but Pall Mall.

    Muscle, muscular, gaol, iron,
    Timber, climber, bullion, lion,
    Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
    Senator, spectator, mayor,

    Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
    Has the a of drachm and hammer.
    Pussy, hussy and possess,
    Desert, but desert, address.

    Golf, wolf, countenance, lieutenants
    Hoist in lieu of flags left pennants.
    Courier, courtier, tomb, bomb, comb,
    Cow, but Cowper, some and home.

    “Solder, soldier! Blood is thicker“,
    Quoth he, “than liqueur or liquor“,
    Making, it is sad but true,
    In bravado, much ado.

    Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
    Neither does devour with clangour.
    Pilot, pivot, gaunt, but aunt,
    Font, front, wont, want, grand and grant.

    Arsenic, specific, scenic,
    Relic, rhetoric, hygienic.
    Gooseberry, goose, and close, but close,
    Paradise, rise, rose, and dose.

    Say inveigh, neigh, but inveigle,
    Make the latter rhyme with eagle.
    Mind! Meandering but mean,
    Valentine and magazine.

    And I bet you, dear, a penny,
    You say mani-(fold) like many,
    Which is wrong. Say rapier, pier,
    Tier (one who ties), but tier.

    Arch, archangel; pray, does erring
    Rhyme with herring or with stirring?
    Prison, bison, treasure trove,
    Treason, hover, cover, cove,

    Perseverance, severance. Ribald
    Rhymes (but piebald doesn’t) with nibbled.
    Phaeton, paean, gnat, ghat, gnaw,
    Lien, psychic, shone, bone, pshaw.

    Don’t be down, my own, but rough it,
    And distinguish buffet, buffet;
    Brood, stood, roof, rook, school, wool, boon,
    Worcester, Boleyn, to impugn.

    Say in sounds correct and sterling
    Hearse, hear, hearken, year and yearling.
    Evil, devil, mezzotint,
    Mind the z! (A gentle hint.)

    Now you need not pay attention
    To such sounds as I don’t mention,
    Sounds like pores, pause, pours and paws,
    Rhyming with the pronoun yours;

    Nor are proper names included,
    Though I often heard, as you did,
    Funny rhymes to unicorn,
    Yes, you know them, Vaughan and Strachan.

    No, my maiden, coy and comely,
    I don’t want to speak of Cholmondeley.
    No. Yet Froude compared with proud
    Is no better than McLeod.

    But mind trivial and vial,
    Tripod, menial, denial,
    Troll and trolley, realm and ream,
    Schedule, mischief, schism, and scheme.

    Argil, gill, Argyll, gill. Surely
    May be made to rhyme with Raleigh,
    But you’re not supposed to say
    Piquet rhymes with sobriquet.

    Had this invalid invalid
    Worthless documents? How pallid,
    How uncouth he, couchant, looked,
    When for Portsmouth I had booked!

    Zeus, Thebes, Thales, Aphrodite,
    Paramour, enamoured, flighty,
    Episodes, antipodes,
    Acquiesce, and obsequies.

    Please don’t monkey with the geyser,
    Don’t peel ‘taters with my razor,
    Rather say in accents pure:
    Nature, stature and mature.

    Pious, impious, limb, climb, glumly,
    Worsted, worsted, crumbly, dumbly,
    Conquer, conquest, vase, phase, fan,
    Wan, sedan and artisan.

    The th will surely trouble you
    More than r, ch or w.
    Say then these phonetic gems:
    Thomas, thyme, Theresa, Thames.

    Thompson, Chatham, Waltham, Streatham,
    There are more but I forget ‘em-
    Wait! I’ve got it: Anthony,
    Lighten your anxiety.

    The archaic word albeit
    Does not rhyme with eight-you see it;
    With and forthwith, one has voice,
    One has not, you make your choice.

    Shoes, goes, does *. Now first say: finger;
    Then say: singer, ginger, linger.
    Real, zeal, mauve, gauze and gauge,
    Marriage, foliage, mirage, age,

    Hero, heron, query, very,
    Parry, tarry fury, bury,
    Dost, lost, post, and doth, cloth, loth,
    Job, Job, blossom, bosom, oath.

    Faugh, oppugnant, keen oppugners,
    Bowing, bowing, banjo-tuners
    Holm you know, but noes, canoes,
    Puisne, truism, use, to use?

    Though the difference seems little,
    We say actual, but victual,
    Seat, sweat, chaste, caste, Leigh, eight, height,
    Put, nut, granite, and unite.

    Reefer does not rhyme with deafer,
    Feoffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
    Dull, bull, Geoffrey, George, ate, late,
    Hint, pint, senate, but sedate.

    Gaelic, Arabic, pacific,
    Science, conscience, scientific;
    Tour, but our, dour, succour, four,
    Gas, alas, and Arkansas.

    Say manoeuvre, yacht and vomit,
    Next omit, which differs from it
    Bona fide, a
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 07, 2013 12:46 PM GMT
    lol...tennis shoes? do people really call sneakers tennis shoes outside the northeast...never knew that...seems really weird
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 07, 2013 12:54 PM GMT
    Actually in the US I think accents and regional dialects have declined since I was a kid, which I attribute to television, radio, records, and talking films. Children automatically learn the accents around them, and as they've increasingly had exposure to outside sources, especially hours of daily TV when it came along, the effect of US local patterns has been lessened.

    In the 1950s we took family trips into Virginia, and also into New England where we had a Vermont vacation home. It was like going to different worlds, with the stereotypical heavy Suthin accent, versus that Pepperidge Farm Man sing-song of the TV ads, for those who remember them.

    And I'd retain the accent of the place where we'd last stayed, when I returned for the new school year in Northern New Jersey (with its own distinct accent). I'd either be speaking with a heavy Southern drawl, or talking about our recent trips in Noo Hampshah, my friends finding it hilarious and me unaware of what I was doing.

    Yet 6 months ago we drove the length of the US Atlantic seaboard, from Florida to New England and back again, and except for the New York City area I hardly heard any differences at all. And even NYC has lost much of its former Brooklyn flavor.

    So that while those OP maps are interesting, and I think largely accurate, those differences are far less than they once were.
  • Montague

    Posts: 5205

    Jun 07, 2013 1:07 PM GMT
    It's called a pop and I will hit you in the face if you say different!!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 07, 2013 1:09 PM GMT
    ART_DECO saidActually in the US I think accents and regional dialects have declined since I was a kid, which I attribute to television, radio, records, and talking films. Children automatically learn the accents around them, and as they've increasingly had exposure to outside sources, especially hours of daily TV when it came along, the effect of US local patterns has been lessened.

    In the 1950s we took family trips into Virginia, and also into New England where we had a Vermont vacation home. It was like going to different worlds, with the stereotypical heavy Suthin accent, versus that Pepperidge Farm Man sing-song of the TV ads, for those who remember them.

    And I'd retain the accent of the place where we'd last stayed, when I returned for the new school year in Northern New Jersey (with its own distinct accent). I'd either be speaking with a heavy Southern drawl, or talking about our recent trips in Noo Hampshah, my friends finding it hilarious and me unaware of what I was doing.

    Yet 6 months ago we drove the length of the US Atlantic seaboard, from Florida to New England and back again, and except for the New York City area I hardly heard any differences at all. And even NYC has lost much of its former Brooklyn flavor.

    So that while those OP maps are interesting, and I think largely accurate, those differences are far less than they once were.


    "family trips into Virginia, and also into New England where we had a Vermont vacation home."

    Hopefully in one of these

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 07, 2013 1:09 PM GMT
    gayinterest saidLanguage is awesome, and...
    Maps are awesome too!
    Two of my favourite things in one study - awesome.

    This was interesting. I like the most sporadic examples best - like the word chosen for carbonated drink. Also cool to see how variations are not necessarily just split be east/west, north/south, etc, but a variation. New Orleans seems to be an epicentre of local dialect/accent - perhaps the strong French influence


    I've lived in New Orleans all my life and it has to be one of the most linguistically interesting places in the US. Being a port city, our manner of speaking has been greatly influenced by the early French, Spanish and Africans and natives. It was further influenced by the Irish and German immigrants.

    One thing that wasn't too evident in the map is that we say the Devil is beating his wife when the sun is shining during a rain shower. Some of us say cold drink for soda. We say "making groceries" for going to the grocery store, "neutral ground" for the strip of grass between traffic lanes, and many other things that sound odd to outsiders.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 07, 2013 1:27 PM GMT
    In the 1970s a magazine called "New Jersey" printed a vocabulary self-survey to take, that purported to locate where a native Garden Stater had grown up. It correctly placed me within a 2-mile radius of my home. A friend who also took the survey got a double answer, reflecting her family's principle home near NYC, and their summer home in NW Jersey. Questions included:

    What is the name for the raised platform to a house's back entrance?

    a. patio
    b. porch
    c. stoop
    d. steps

    I answered "stoop" which reflects my colonial Dutch heritage, and helped put me near the Hudson River.

    What is a playground slide for children called?

    a. slide
    b. sliding pond

    My answer was sliding pond, which in itself put me mostly into a single New Jersey county. Even the survey's authors couldn't explain its origins or meaning.

    What is the name of a rock dividing wall between farm fields?

    a. rock wall
    b. wall
    c. rock fence

    If you answered rock wall, as I did, you lived near a city. If you answered rock fence, as my friend did, you lived in the rural north near the New York State border, reflecting a New England influence.

    I doubt that survey would work today, however. The demographics have all changed, and with them vocabularies.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 07, 2013 1:30 PM GMT
    freedomisntfree said
    "family trips into Virginia, and also into New England where we had a Vermont vacation home."

    Hopefully in one of these


    Actually yes, at least to Vermont and other parts of New England, never to Virginia. It even climbed Mt. Washington in Noo Hampshah. And went to Cape Cod a few times, including P-town. In fact its last vacation trip was to Cape Cod in 1966, when I was first allowed to drive it, on the Connecticut Turnpike, which did not turn out well at all. icon_sad.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 07, 2013 1:33 PM GMT
    gayinterest said
    Erik101 saidNo wonder English is such a difficult language to learn.


    It's not really the accents that makes English difficult to learn; its the irregularities of spelling/pronunciation and irregular verb structures. Plus the fact that English has been affected by so much external influence throughout history and has had to adapt to each new influence.



    I partially agree with you. I think accents are important in anyone learning a different language and when you speak to two people of the same language but different accents, it can make it hard to learn.

    Example: when I was in Germany, Bavarian accents are so different from those in Essen. When I was in Frankfurt, I had no problem speaking German but when I went to Bavaria, I had no clue what they were saying. This is the same for French. I have the hardest time understanding French Canadians but I can understand people from Paris.

    So, I imagine that people learning English have similar challenges.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 07, 2013 1:44 PM GMT
    YVRguy saidUpon re-reading I just realized something: running shoes are known as sneakers or tennis shoes in the US. "Running shoes" isn't even a choice, lol!

    This is confusing: most American's don't have an expression that describes falling rain when the sun is still shining. Canadians would recognize it as a Sun Shower. How odd that there isn't an equivalent in most of the US. Is it so common that no one thinks twice about it???


    What? We always called them sun showers, and still do. Maybe it's more a North East thing, or you've been talking to to many people with very cloudy skies.