Friday, September 27, 2013

Dialect Map

You've probably seen this dialect quiz making the rounds. (You may get a "server too busy" message. Keep trying. It's hosted on a university's servers as a research project, and seems to not be set up to handle the amount of traffic it's currently getting. It took me a few attempts over 24 hours to successfully load the page and do the quiz.)

In addition to the map you get in the end, the questions are interesting themselves - lots of words and phrases I've never heard of! The weirdest one was multiple questions using the word "anymore" in a context in which I would use "now", if something is true in the present that wasn't true in the past. Statements like "I can only get basic channels now." Apparently there are regions that would say "I can only get basic channels anymore." The latter sounds so bizarre to me. There were also at least two or three questions about what you call grandparents that made a distinction between maternal or paternal, as if the side of the family they're on determines which variant you use - again, not anything I've heard of in the northwest!

The 140-question quiz generates a map indicating areas of the country in which "the probability that a randomly-selected person in that city would respond to a randomly-selected survey question the same way that you did."

That looks about right. I grew up in the southeast corner of Washington state, near Spokane, and have now lived in the Portland, Oregon, area for 10 years. Interesting that there's another hotspot (besides the west coast states) with fairly high similarity in Minnesota. (Ok, I'm embarrassed, I had to look up a labeled map to check what state that was.) 

Have you taken the dialect quiz yet? Is your geography knowledge as subpar as mine?

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