Because it’s Friday: US Dialects

February 21, 2014

(This article was first published on Revolutions, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

In the video below from The Atlantic, the differences in the way US citizens describe or pronounce various things is illustrated in a series of phone calls (via Sullivan):


If you're wondering how your dialect fits in, you can try the New York Times Dialect Quiz. Answer 25 questions, and it will identify the 3 US cities that most closely match your dialect. I'm not a native US English speaker (I grew up in Australia, and spent many years in the UK before moving to the US West Coast in 2000), so I basically flunked the quiz. My words for a freshwater crayfish ("yabbie") or that area of grass by the road ("nature strip") weren't on the list, and so I got placed somewhere in southern Florida (which I guess is at least as far South as you can go!). Judging from the responses from some of my friends on Facebook, though, the quiz can be uncannily accurate if you were brought up in the US.

My US map
By the way, the background images in the video and the NYT dialect quiz are both based on the work of Johsua Katz, and developed in the R language. The analysis was originally developed at NC State University, and Joshua Katz is now a graphics editor at the New York Times.

That's all for this week — enjoy your weekend!

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