Everyone knows that Americans don’t exactly agree on pronunciations.
Regional accents are a major part of what makes American English so interesting as a dialect.
Joshua Katz, a Ph. D student in statistics at North Carolina State University, just published a group of awesome visualizations of Professor Bert Vaux and Scott Golder’s linguistic survey that looked at how Americans pronounce words. (via detsl on /r/Linguistics)
His results were first published on Abstract, the N.C. State research blog.
Joshua gave us permission to publish some of the coolest maps from his collection.
The pronunciation of “caramel” starts disregarding vowels once you go west of the Ohio River
Residents of the far north have an oddly Canadian way of pronouncing “been”
For whatever reason, it’s a “boo-wie” knife in Texas and D.C.*
UPDATE: Enthusiastic Marylanders have alerted us that there is indeed a town named “Bowie, Md.” that is pronounced “Boo-wie.” That solves that. No word yet from Texans.
UPDATE 2: From a Texan: “It’s pronounced Boo-wie because it’s named after Jim Bowie (pronounced Boo-wie), who played a major role in the Texas revolution. That explains why we’re the only ones who pronounce it correctly.”