Author Topic: How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk - Dialect Quiz  (Read 3387 times)

Offline Corybobory

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How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk - Dialect Quiz
« on: December 31, 2013, 09:21:49 AM »
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/12/20/sunday-review/dialect-quiz-map.html?_r=1&

I'm sure some of you have already seen this recent quiz published on the New York Times website, but if you haven't - it's really fun!  I'm not American, but it was still interesting to see that they placed me as being from Washington State, directly below where I actually do come from ;)

They also point out your most characteristic dialectal traits that came up in the quiz - for me it was the use of the words "kitty-corner" and "cougar" :)  North-west coast FTW!!!

How did you guys fare?
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Offline lx

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Re: How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk - Dialect Quiz
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2013, 09:33:45 AM »
I got St. Louis and Philadelphia/Newark.
What on earth does kitty-corner mean?  :o

Offline Daniel

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Re: How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk - Dialect Quiz
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2013, 10:45:32 AM »
I got Milwaukee.

My parents are from the midwest, while I was raised in (Northern) California. So that's not too surprising. I don't have any of the Chicago (etc.) vowel shift, and actually the (Northern) California region was relatively bright as well, just not quite as much as the Milwaukee and outside-of-Chicago region.

Interestingly enough, I'm now a student at a school about 2 hours south of Chicago, so I guess I'm back home, dialectally speaking. (Well, almost.)



I like that there's now a quiz for this that is personalized. I showed my students the maps and other information from this research earlier this semester, but a personalized version wasn't available. I'll definitely use this next semester for that purpose.


Quote from: Cory
for me it was the use of the words "kitty-corner" and "cougar"
I wonder about "cougar". I use about three of those interchangeably-- Mountain Lion (default), Cougar, Puma (and maybe Panther, though that refers to another animal generally). I definitely recognize all of those.

But in some cases, there is no variation.

I think a quiz like this would get more relevant information based on recognition of terms rather than what one actually uses. I recognize "cougar" for example, but there were some other words I didn't know at all. That shows experience, rather than just where one was born.

Additionally, I think the whole thing is making an assumption that we each have a single dialect, rather than (in many cases) a complex interaction of where our parents are from, where we were raised, and where we have lived.

I think this quiz would do very well for monolinguals who were born in the city where they still live and have never moved. But that's a somewhat outdated idea (still, oddly enough, the standard for dialect research in a sense though).

Quote
I got St. Louis and Philadelphia/Newark.
I don't know about St. Louis. But Philadelphia is relatively conservative and similar to British English so I'm not surprised.
Actually, Philadelphia/Newark was specifically the least similar city for me!

Quote
What on earth does kitty-corner mean?  :o
Diagonally across an intersection. It's an odd term, probably strictly American.
So if you have an intersection of two streets with buildings on each corner in the following pattern:
A B
C D
Then A & D (and B & C) are kitty-corner from each other.

I don't really use the term myself, but I've heard it a lot. I also am not sure I fully understand the definition-- I don't know, for example, whether it would apply within a block, so that you are looking diagonally across to a different place across the same street. It's definitely that form of the word, though, so I picked it for that reason.

Regardless, you must admit it's a useful (technical?) term. We don't have any other easy word for that, and even "diagonally across" doesn't quite capture it specifically. It's a unique concept.
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Offline freknu

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Re: How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk - Dialect Quiz
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2013, 11:08:28 AM »
I'm not a native speaker, so I wonder how relevant it is, but I got Atlanta/East coast.


Offline freknu

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Re: How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk - Dialect Quiz
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2013, 11:10:55 AM »
Quote
What on earth does kitty-corner mean?  :o
Diagonally across an intersection. It's an odd term, probably strictly American.
So if you have an intersection of two streets with buildings on each corner in the following pattern:
A B
C D
Then A & D (and B & C) are kitty-corner from each other.

I don't really use the term myself, but I've heard it a lot. I also am not sure I fully understand the definition-- I don't know, for example, whether it would apply within a block, so that you are looking diagonally across to a different place across the same street. It's definitely that form of the word, though, so I picked it for that reason.

Regardless, you must admit it's a useful (technical?) term. We don't have any other easy word for that, and even "diagonally across" doesn't quite capture it specifically. It's a unique concept.

Thanks for clearing that up! It left me clueless as well :)

Offline Daniel

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Re: How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk - Dialect Quiz
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2013, 11:14:11 AM »
No problem.

Quote
I'm not a native speaker, so I wonder how relevant it is, but I got Atlanta/East coast.
Interesting.

For you and lx, did you get any kind of accuracy rating on that? Were you actually close to those dialects or were those just the best fit of many bad fits?

I'm surprised about Atlanta, although I guess the city itself isn't particularly Southern (dialectally), since it's apparently similar to NY and Boston. In fact, that suggests it might not be a very close fit in the first place.

I like this idea of comparing non-American accents to American cities to see 1) which ones are similar, and 2) how different all the accents are.



PS: Would anyone mind if I move this over to the English forum? It's fine here too, but would be on topic there as well.
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Offline freknu

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Re: How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk - Dialect Quiz
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2013, 11:29:52 AM »
Damn it, I can't retake the test ... the questions seem to be random.

Anyway, here's another try (a little different, but still the same area):

How would you address a group of two or more people?
you

What would you call a sale of unwanted items on your porch, in your yard, etc.?
yard sale

What do you call the rubber-soled shoes worn in gym class or for athletic activities?
tennis shoes

What do you call the insect that flies around in the summer and glows in the dark?
firefly

What do you call the small freshwater lobster often found in lakes and streams?
crayfish

How do you pronounce been?
sit

What do you call an easy high school or college class?
other

This one was different. Q: "What do you call the small road parallel to the highway?" A: access road

What do you call the large, wild cat native to the Americas?
puma

This one was different. Q: "How do you pronounce crayon?" A: dawn

How do you pronounce caramel?
carra-mel

What do you call the area of grass in the middle of some streets?
I have no word for this

What do you call the night before Halloween?
I have no word for this

What do you call the small gray bug that curls up into a ball when it's touched?
centipede

What do you call the thing from which you might drink water in a school?
water fountain

What do you call a traffic jam caused by drivers slowing down to look at an accident or other diversion on the side of the road?
I have no word for this

How do you pronounce the first syllable of lawyer?
flaw

What do you call a drive-through liquor store?
I have never heard of such a thing

What is the distinction between dinner and supper?
supper is an evening meal; dinner is the main meal

What do you call a large motor vehicle used to carry freight?
lorry

What do you call something that is across both streets from you at an intersection (or diagonally across from you in general)?
I have no term for this

What do you call a traffic situation in which several roads meet in a circle?
roundabout

How do you pronounce the words Mary, merry and marry?
all three are pronounced differently

Do you pronounce cot and caught the same?
different

Do you call the sweet spread that is put on a cake frosting or icing?
icing

How do you pronounce aunt?
ah

What do you call the long sandwich that contains cold cuts, lettuce and so on?
I have no word for this

This one was different. Q: "How do you pronounce the second syllable of pajamas?" A: palm

« Last Edit: December 31, 2013, 11:51:12 AM by freknu »

Offline Daniel

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Re: How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk - Dialect Quiz
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2013, 11:36:52 AM »
Quote
Damn it, I can't retake the test ... the questions seem to be random.
I know what you mean. It seems like there are something like 35 questions, because most were repeated for me, but not all.

I wonder if there's any weighting attached to certain questions based on the info at the bottom of that image.

I also wonder why those questions in particular were selected-- there should (in theory) be a best set of questions (maybe more than 25), rather than a random one for each individual. But at least it seems relatively consistent.

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Offline lx

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Re: How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk - Dialect Quiz
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2013, 12:06:53 PM »
I think mine were just a random bunch of misfits clumped together to get any location on the map. Nearly every one of my answers had only blue, only a few had red that showed where my answers related to on the map. I didn't discern any noticeable pattern from the maps. There were some answers in there that I thought would have only been applicable to Britain though. Examples like the night before Halloween ('mischief [mizzy] night'), which I thought was a UK-only thing. The same with 'gym shoes' ('trainers' here). I know a bit about the y'all distribution in the US and in the north of England we can't live without the you/youse distinction. I didn't know that was also in the US but I do seem to have remembered something since then. So, a lot of things I'm not surprised about when it said my score didn't correlate well with anywhere else on the map.

Offline freknu

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Re: How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk - Dialect Quiz
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2013, 12:08:18 PM »
PS: Would anyone mind if I move this over to the English forum? It's fine here too, but would be on topic there as well.

I wouldn't mind. I guess it depends on what Cory thinks.

Offline MalFet

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Re: How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk - Dialect Quiz
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2013, 01:48:53 PM »
It's very cool that pop culture has, at least for a moment, embraced the idea of dialect heat maps. I just ran through it and it placed both me and my wife exactly where we were each born, a few hundred miles apart from each other in the Midwest. Considering that we have very similar dialects, I was impressed that it shoehorned very subtle differences to make precise distinctions.

Fun toy, with real teaching potential.

Offline Daniel

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Re: How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk - Dialect Quiz
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2013, 01:51:14 PM »
Quote
Fun toy, with real teaching potential.
I agree! It's great for illustration and teaching. I'm not convinced it's entirely academically accurate (mostly the methodology of which questions are selected and assumptions about exposure to multiple dialects), but I will certainly be using it for intro classes.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2014, 09:28:39 AM by djr33 »
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Offline Corybobory

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Re: How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk - Dialect Quiz
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2014, 05:12:47 AM »
Feel free to move it, I don't mind! Glad 'you guys' enjoyed it :)
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