What American Dialect Do You Speak?

Alas, since I began writing this post last week the abililty to take the Dialect Quiz has gone away, however, you can still look at the national results and compare them to your own dialect.

I am willing to swear I was born in Madison, WI and have lived there most of my life, but according to my results, I speak most similar to someone from Green Bay, and next like a person from Milwaukee. Madison was only third on the list. I also found out that my speech patterns are similar to those of many communities in the Midwest and plains states, but that I definitely don’t use the words of New Englanders. Even without taking the quiz you can see such similarities and differences for your speech.

The Interactive Dialect Maps by Joshua Katz of North Carolina State University visualize the aggregate results to questions such as “What is ‘The City’? and “What do you call the night before Halloween?” for the whole United States of America, but if you go directly to the Harvard Dialect Survey Dialect Survey Maps and Results you can also get the specific answer breakdowns for each question asked. Both are interesting to look at and very informative.

The nice thing about the available Interactive Dialect Maps is that all 122 questions from the full Harvard survey are represented, so for example, you can get a final answer to “Do you drink from a bubbler?” Alas, “Is it pop or soda?” isn’t covered here, but you can find that out elsewhere, such as Big Think which presents the findings of the Pop vs. Soda survey by Alan McConchie, and other sites like Edwin Cheng’s blog where he has his own Twitter survey results and highlights others as well.

I definitely recommend browsing through the website, comparing what you find to what you say, and contemplating it. It’s very intriguing, to say the least.

About Martha

Martha is a Reference & Instruction Librarian and the liaison to the Biological Sciences, Computer Science, Languages and Literatures, Mathematics, and Physics Departments
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