Soda or pop? How many ways do we say "trash can"? These questions have divided Americans for a long time. A North Carolina State University student's heat map project shows dialects across the U.S.
That long sandwich that contains cold cuts, lettuce and so on?
While looking for ideas for his end-of-year statistics project, Joshua Katz decided to do a "smoothed version" of Bert Vaux's old dialect maps, which are based on data collected on regional dialects in the U.S., with the help of a 20-question survey that included everything from the pronunciation of "pecan" to whether "y'all" is preferred over "you."
Katz took the existing data, and with the help of statistical algorithms, created maps that give a more complete picture of national dialect differences.
"I've always found regional variations in dialect really fascinating," Katz says. "Language says so much about who a person is. To me, dialect is a badge of pride — it's something that says, 'This is who I am; this is where I come from.' So, just to take one example, being from South Jersey, what everyone else calls a 'sub' will for me always be a 'hoagie.'"
Click through the slideshow to view seven of the words that identify us. For all 122 interactive maps, click here.