Different Names For The Same Thing: The Regional Words That Divide Us

American English is a unique beast. Taken from British English and then purposefully tweaked to be different, the American variation has itself taken on diverse forms. We know this, of course, but you might not have realized just how pronunciations remain. As new data visualizations from Joshua Katz of NC State University (based on data from Bert Vaux and Scott Golder) show, even in the age of television, Americans can hardly agree on how things the same way.

The data itself is fascinating, as is the state breakdown (if you want to check out how your state is unique, go here. The survey was conducted by asking 122 different pronunciation questions ranging from how to pronounce crayon to the (apparently) four different ways to say pecan.

The responses to each of these questions were then individually plotted on a map of the United States before a composite image was made, showing how the different pronunciations all mix together based on geography. You can view all of the maps on Joshua Katz’s website, but we collected some of the best for you to see.

Bin? Ben? Bean?

Poor Wisconsin and their “Baegs”

Again Wisconsin, “Bubbler”? And Rhode Island? You know better

The cot catcher was caught catching a cot

Poor Craig doesn’t even know his own name

If Dinner is before Supper, when is Lunch?

A bit sinister, but lifeless bodies are mostly “dragged”

Pajama jamboree

Just try not to say this word

Calling “Shotgun” is mostly universal

The North-East is known for their sneakiness

Floridians respect New York’s metropolitan domination

What about “You Guyses”?


Joshua Katz
via Business Insider

  • Steve

    I don’t get how people would pronounce cot and caught differently.

    • TB

      Caught:cot :: hawt:hot

  • Curious

    Do you guys regurgitate Business Insider?

    • No

      I’ve seen the Business Insider post. Of the two, this is the only one that actually uses data and information from the ORIGINAL report

Commentary Ticker

  • Data Knows Best: Greatest TV Shows Get Ranked and Graphed
    March 26, 2014 | 10:50 am

    Every argument is better with charts and graphs. Sometimes a little linear regression can provide more insight than a long-winded report. GraphTV tests that theory by plotting the ratings of popular television shows. It all started with Breaking Bad. Data guru Kevin Wu was watching its fifth and final season and couldn’t help but think [...]

  • A Coin-Inspired National Spirit, Hopefully
    March 20, 2014 | 11:56 am

    The Lakota Nation, a group of seven Native American bands in North and South Dakota, voted to make a Bitcoin-like crypto-currency called MazaCoin their official currency, according to Forbes. Programmer and Lakota activist Payu Harris believes that the coin will help the Lakota people gain sovereignty over their land. “To be a truly independent state [...]

  • Smartguns and the Promise of Progress
    March 3, 2014 | 9:50 am

    With the recent Sandy Hook elementary school shooting (and the 44 school shootings since) still relatively fresh in our collective minds, and with Congress empirically unable to do anything to stop gun violence at all, it seems slowing, if not stopping, the gun violence epidemic has fallen on a strange coalition of gun manufacturers, Silicon [...]

  • Watch: Movies Without Imaginary Friends
    January 28, 2014 | 12:56 pm

    If you seriously haven’t watched Fight Club yet (or read the book by Chuck Palahniuk) stop and go do that right now. You’re fifteen years late to the craziest party. Okay, you’ve watched it now? Onwards. A visual effects specialist in New York accelerated himself to Internet fame in mid-January when he edited Tyler Durden [...]

  • The Racism of “Racism”: The Complicated Origins of the Term
    January 17, 2014 | 12:27 pm

    “Racism,” like race, was invented. The term “racism” has done a lot of heavy lifting for anti-racism advocates, helping to frame anyone discriminating by race as misguided. Just as with classism or sexism, not only does the word racism give name to an evil, it helps to create the thing as evil in the first [...]

  • RSSArchive for Commentary Ticker »

Join our mailing list!

Trending on The Airspace