Crawdads, caramel and crayons: Maps show different dialects
North Carolina State University student Joshua Katz published a group of maps that show differences in dialect across the U.S. (Source: Joshua Katz)
(RNN) - It's always been a huge debate: What is your generic term for a sweetened carbonated beverage? Soda, pop or Coke?
From coast to coast, the English language can sometimes be as different as the landscape around us.
Some people may cringe when they hear someone say crayon using two syllables, or pronounces coupon "cyoopon," but we all have to accept that both of these pronunciations are widely acknowledged. Even if we think they're wrong.
Ph. D student Joshua Katz from North Carolina State University published a group of color-coded U.S. dialect maps after finding linguistics data from Dr. Bert Vaux of Cambridge University.
"The research was done as part of my final project for Applied Spatial Statistics at NC State," Katz said. I had first stumbled onto Vaux's old dialect maps back when I was an undergrad, and when it came time to choose a project topic, I immediately thought of doing something with that data."
Vaux got the data from a 120 question survey that asks about different pronunciations and what terms you prefer. For example, "What word(s) do you use to address a group of two or more people?"
Katz then mapped the data using a statistical algorithm to show the differences in dialects across the country.
"I've always found regional variations in dialect really fascinating. Language says so much about who a person is. To me, dialect is a badge of pride, it's something that says 'this is who I am; this is where I come from,'" he said.
His project has since gained a lot of traffic on the internet and is going viral.
"The response to these maps has been incredible. I started the project mostly out of personal interest," Katz said. "I had no idea that they would catch fire like this. It's all pretty surreal."
He also said many people have reached out to him asking for more words and terms to be added.
The regional colloquialism that surprised Katz the most was "the devil beating his wife." He said he didn't even believe that it was really a real phrase.
Katz first had his results published on the North Carolina State research blog, Abstract.
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