This entry is intended for an American audience, so the rest of my worldwide readership may wish to scroll down to the next article unless they would like to try the quiz themselves. The New York Times recently published a short quiz that allows Americans to pinpoint their regional dialect which includes an interactive graphic. The quiz was designed by a Harvard researcher. We often hear the joke that the USA and Great Britain are two countries separated by a common language, but the USA is a large country spanning an entire continent. So it should come as no surprise that we still speak regional dialects of the same language despite decades of television and media that has made our world and country seem much smaller and homogeneous.
I took the quiz and was quite surprised to see terms and descriptions of things I have never heard of before. We all know and have heard the stereotypical youse/y’all which may help detect a person’s origins. But who would think to call the grass strip between a sidewalk and a street a “tree lawn” or a sandwich built on a long piece of bread a “sarney”? My own dialect was a bulls-eye squarely planted over New York City which does not surprise me at all since I was born and raised in northern New Jersey and my parents were from the area. For your own amusement you may click on the link below to take the same quiz. The results may take a few moments to generate since the NYT website is reporting heavy traffic.
And who lifts up rocks to find “Sow Bugs”??? Where are these people?