Regular readers will remember a fun video about regional dialects that I published here on Thanksgiving. Well, now the New York Times has gone and created a 25-question quiz that claims to be able to place your dialect on the map. I learned about it from my brother-in-law, who lives in Lexington, Kentucky — and whose map put him in Lexington, Kentucky. (Each quiz generates a map with three cities whose dialects are most similar to yours. Lexington was one of the cities on his map.) As for me, here is my map:
That . . . is pretty much dead on. Sure, I live in California, but I speak pretty much the same way today as I always have — and I grew up in Fort Worth, one of the towns on my map. All my towns center narrowly around the area where I grew up. That makes sense to me, as I think my speech patterns have changed very little since I was a teenager. It gives people in California fits at times. I think I have mentioned before how I got back a transcript where my “y’all” was annotated with a parenthetical reading “phonetic.” And how I had an interview with a law firm once in Los Angeles, years ago, where a woman asked me if I really said “y’all.” I opened my mouth to say “yes” and the male interviewer snapped: “Of COURSE he doesn’t! He speaks English!” (I didn’t get the job.)
Our kids’ maps center around California: Long Beach, Corona, Fremont, and Glendale are the types of towns I see on theirs.
This thing seems to be going viral. Our waitress last night had just taken it. It’s all over Facebook. Fun stuff.
Is your map accurate? What questions amuse you? And: are there really people out there who call a median “neutral ground”? Do y’all think a street is some kind of a battlefield? What is wrong with you? Learn to speak correctly!