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Monday, April 18, 2005

I spilled pop on my PF's when the hi-fi fell against the davenport

This is the blog equivalent of muttering "How 'bout them Cubs?" while we all pace around and await the naming of the new Pope.

Here's one of those regional English testers: American English Dialect Test. Hat tip: Cor ad cor loquitur. It's mostly the usuals, skipping what you call a long sandwich with layers of meat and cheese (submarine, for me) and adds what you call an easy course (I won't tell you, take the test yourself). I scored 55% General American English and 25% Upper Midwestern. Proudly emitting Chicagoese with vowels so flat you can bake pizza on them, I'm not surprised.

One of the questions was whether you call them tennis shoes or sneakers. This strikes me as a question of age, not region. I call them tennis shoes, or sometimes feeling whimsical I call them PF's. Isn't that because I'm in my 40's and we didn't have Nikes or New Balances? We just had Keds or PF's.

The shoe progression and other words I think are age-related, not regional:

Tennis shoes to sneakers/keds/PF's to running shoes
Nylons to hose to pantyhose
Victrola to record player to hi-fi to stereo
Sofa to couch (where's davenport?)
Hair-do to hairstyle (where's coiffure?)
Icebox to refrigerator (is this the same technical lag in naming that makes us say that we are dialing a phone?)

And there's even an action progression: making a circle with your thumb and index to indicate "okay," to sticking out an extended thumb to indicate "okay."

I am sure there are others, tell me, do.

3 comments:

Henry Dieterich said...

I'm 40% General American and 40% Yankee; no surprise, I was born in Boston to a father with roots in Iowa and a mother from New Jersey. But I object to the narrow range of choices. Where I come from, a sweetened carbonated beverage is tonic and you drink water from a bubbler.

Rosalind said...

IMHO, it's: silk stockings => nylon stockings => nylons => pantihose => back to nylons. Then there's:
Parka vs. windbreaker vs. jacket
Valise => suitcase => luggage
Saltine vs. soda cracker

Anyway, I scored
35% General American English
30% Yankee
15% Dixie
15% Upper Midwestern
5% Midwestern

Weird. I've been in the upper midwest since forever and have never lived in the South in my life. But I do say y'all. It's probably an affectation in honor of my inner Melanie Hamilton.

Therese Z said...

Henry: Milwaukee calls it a bubbler, too.

Rosalind: Saltine vs soda cracker is excellent. Also valise, although I don't think I've heard anyone call it that in my lifetime.

I thought of another one: pumps vs high heels.

 

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