Soda or pop? What word choices say about you.

Quick. When you looked at this can (and headline), which word flashed through your brain? If you’d asked my 10-year-old self, “pop” would have been my unhesitating answer. But somewhere during my college years I switched over to the much-more-sophisiticated (!) “soda.”

I was reminded of this when a friend sent me the New York times dialect quiz the other day. I answered the 25 questions and apparently “kitty corner” was the one that landed me in my 20+ year “hometown” of Madison, Wis. I was curious to see that even though I entered “pop” and “bubbler” thinking it would put me closer to my childhood hometown (Appleton, Wis), the quiz wasn’t overly influenced by this (maybe “pop” and “bubbler” are more Wisconsin-wide than I realized). And, here’s a fun fact: “bubbler” isn’t just a Wisconsinism—check out this article to learn about the other places that have also embraced one of the world’s best words.

Close but no cigar on finding my home town.


I’m guessing this quiz might borrow heavily from the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE), which is headquartered just down the road at the UW-Madison and “challenges the popular notion that our language has been ‘homogenized’ by the media and our mobile population…”

It’s just one more example of the things we do and don’t share in this big, beautiful country of ours. I find it rather charming.



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