February 11, 2011

Coke, Soda...Pop?

I grew up in Florida, which is not technically the South but it certainly is not the North.  I'd say I grew up around more Surfer Talk than Magnolia Mouth.  With a Grandma from Alabama, school in North Carolina, never living farther north than DC, and friends from the Northeast, I find regional linguistics fascinating.  It's one of those moments where I get all excited about the US - how we can all be Americans, but be so different at the same time.  We're all speaking the same language...sort of.

One of the most obvious differences in dialect is what we call carbonated beverages.  I call it Coke.  (And if you call it Pop, you're obviously wrong.) The first time I heard it called Pop, I thought they were talking about a lollipop.  (Which is apparently called a lolly in some places?!)

(via Matthew Campbell and Prof. Greg Plumb of East Central University in Oklahoma) 

When I meet people from the far reaches of America (read: the Pacific NW, New Yorkers, Celtics Fans), I bombard them with dialect questions.  "What do you call the thing you push around the supermarket?"  "What do you call your parent's sister?"  "How do you say the maple sauce you put on pancakes?"  "How do you address a group of people?"

Tell me:
Is the sandwich Sub or a Hoagie? Do you toilet paper a house, or roll it?  Is it a Rolly Polly bug, or a Potato Bug?  Tennis Shoes or Sneakers?  Is the spider called a Daddy Long Legs or a Granddaddy Long Legs?  Do you grocery shop with a Shopping Cart or a Buggy? Do you change the channel with the remote or the clicker?

My answers are the first in the question.  What do you all say?

(For more dialect maps, check out these)


  1. I call it coke obviously being from North Carolina, but I moved to Chicago in high school and I saw a sign outside the school gym that said "no pop in the gym" and I swear I thought it was like some drug the kids up there were doing....

  2. I say:
    soda, sub (or grinder), toilet paper a house, potato bug, sneakers, daddy long legs, shopping car, remote.

    I love things like this. I have a friend that moved to Illinois when we were younger and we used to fight about our dialect differences!

  3. i say all the same as you!! i'm from texas, married to a boy from mississippi, and have british parents who now live in australia - talk about confusing language influences!

  4. If i'm being specific about my beverage, I'll call it a Coke, or 7up, or whatever, but in general, I'd just say I'm having a Pop (soda sounds like it's from the 50s!). It's a sub, not a hoagie. You toilet paper a house, you're wearing sneakers (unless you're on the tennis court, then i'd be specific), it's a daddy long legs, shopping cart (or just 'cart'), and a remote.

    I haven't noticed a lot of different usages, like you've pointed out, here in Canada. But I do notice from the west (where I'm from) to the east, there is a huge variation on how we pronounce things (for instance, how everyone makes fun of Canadian dialect, it's mainly the Easterners that talk like that..."oot and aboot" etc) haha! It's weird hearing all the different variations!

  5. If i put my list to writing i may need to cut down entire forest in Brazil

  6. My first language isn't english but I never heard of "clicker" before lol :)

  7. Your post made me chuckle. I say everthing the same as Nicole's comment above:
    soda, sub (or grinder), toilet paper a house, sneakers, daddy long legs, shopping cart, remote, and I have NO idea what a potato bug is! I also call my moms sisters aunt..not to be confused with the little black bug as an ANT.

  8. i grew up in southern illinois... like almost tennessee ~ for 11 years we lived with my grandparents and i find it soo funny that even within our house we said different things.

    coke is coke to me (pop to the gparents)
    sandwhich is called a sub
    we TP a house (gparents call it toilet paper)
    rolly polly
    sneakers or sneaks (gparents call them tennis shoes)
    daddy long legs
    shopping cart
    remote (gparents call it clicker)

    pretty funny stuff!! :)

  9. this is great, we say pop in my neck of the woods
    tennis shoes,
    potato bug
    daddy longlegs
    toilet paper
    shopping cart or really just cart
    & depending on where you are going hoagie, sub, & grinder are all used
    one of my good friends is from canada and I just love that her kids call her mum instead of mom


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