22 Maps That Show How Americans Speak English Totally Differently From Each Other

06 Jun


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 Abstractthe 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.”

Americans can’t even agree how to pronounce crayon.

The South is the only place where you’ll try to call your “law-yer” instead of your “loyer”

The South is also really into slaw. The North and West call it coleslaw.

This is the deepest and most obvious linguistic divide in America. It’s also an example of how everyone in south Florida pronounces things in the northern U.S. style.

We are a nation divided over mayonnaise.

Some of the deepest schisms in America are over the pronunciation of the second syllable of “pajamas”

Okay, this one is crazy. Everyone pronounces “Pecan Pie” differently.

Everyone knows that the Midwest calls it “pop,” the Northeast and West Coast call it “soda,” while the South is really into brand loyalty.

Tiny lobsters are tearing this country apart.

So are traffic circles.

The Northeast corridor puts “sear-up” on their pancakes.

Philadelphia is just making it up as it goes along.

Let’s ignore the East Coast/West Coast split and notice that Wisconsin and Rhode Island call a water fountain a “bubbler.”

The Northeast [and south Florida] puts on sneakers, everyone else finds a pair of tennis shoes.

The West Coast is really into their freeways.

Seriously? Alabama and Mississippi that is terrible.

Most of America realizes that New York really is “The City.”

Massachusetts, Long Island and Jersey are the only places that see a difference between Merry, Mary and marry.

Massachusetts, Long Island and Jersey are the only places that see a difference between Merry, Mary and marry.

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