Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Dialect Map

Lately, this quiz has been floating around the internet called a "Dialect Quiz". Authored by a statistics Ph.D student at NC State, you answer a bunch of questions (25 or 140 depending on how much time you have) about the words you use to refer to certain things (e.g. soda or pop), or the way you pronounce words like "caramel" or "pajamas". Then, at the end, it shows you a color-coded map of the US, indicating which part(s) of the country your dialect is most similar to, based on your answers.

Here is a link to the quiz. (Your mileage may vary as far as whether you'll actually be able to take the quiz, since the server is often under a pretty heavy load due to the quiz's popularity.)

I've been looking forward to taking the quiz, because I think I'm an interesting case. I'm not from a part of the country with distinct dialect, such as New England, Minnesota, or Alabama. I'm from Florida. Is there such a thing as a "Florida dialect"? If there is, is Jacksonville included in that, or is Jacksonville more like the rest of the South? And what impact might my parents - both born around New York City - have on all of this? And how about Ohio-raised Amber? She's already converted me from pa-JAHM-as to pa-JAM-as without me even realizing it.

I took the full 140-question quiz, and here's what it gave me:


According to the quiz, I talk more like a SOUTH Floridian than a North Floridian. And, I also talk more similarly to someone from the New York City area, which shows the effect your parents have on your dialect. (It's significant!) My #1 most similar city was Newark, followed by Miami.

But I don't know what this says about the "Florida dialect", if anything. A lot of the people who now live in Florida originally lived in New York, of course. So, you might think that a "Florida dialect" really just equals a "New York dialect" ... until you go here, select Miami, and see that New York doesn't really glow any more than any other city. I think all this means is that my dialect is a weird mix, influenced by both my hometown (Florida) and my parents (New York); NOT that your average Florida resident talks similarly to your average New York resident. It should also be noted that red on the map doesn't mean "perfect match"; it just means "highest score". The colors are all strictly relative.

As for how much of an impact Amber has had on my speech...maybe we can give her credit for that hot spot in Cleveland. Maybe.

5 comments:

James Allen said...

#1 Newark
#2 Jacksonville
Least: Des Moines and Pittsburgh

James Allen said...

#1 Newark
#2 Jacksonville
Least: Des Moines and Pittsburgh

bubba0077 said...

I find these quizzes difficult to take these days as my dialect morphs, including some intentional changes (such as how I pronounce crayon).

That said, answer as best I could on the short quiz (long one is down), I still register as south NJ.

Spartangoogle said...

I keep telling your mother Staten Island is really part of New Jersey. Here is proof positive.

Spartangoogle said...

Actually that was your Dad impersonating Spartangoogle (already signed in on his laptop) Staten Island is equidistant from Newark and Brooklyn, where a lot of South Floridians are from.