April 18, 2005

I'm not fitting in

via Unfogged, this is very cool (but free prizes? please)

Your Linguistic Profile:

55% General American English
25% Yankee
15% Dixie
5% Midwestern
0% Upper Midwestern
What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

That 0% Upper Midwestern indicates that maybe it's time to leave town, eh? Yeah sure. I notice that "bubbler" wasn't one of the choices. And is "General American English" really a category?

[UPDATE: via the apostropher, here's one with "bubbler" and explanations for individual items. It still doesn't give the option of "route" rhyming with "put"; maybe it's only "root" that gets pronounced that way. It has me as "36% Yankee: You are definitely a Yankee." Unfortunately, since I don't know where they're from, I don't know whether that's unproblematically true (since I'm from the North) or unproblematically false (since I'm not from New England).]

[UPDATE 2: It says at the top that it's measuring your "southern blood." OK then.]

Posted by Matt Weiner at April 18, 2005 08:32 AM

Yeah, General American is category.

Phonologists use it all the time although it's usually abbreviated to GenAm and it's a sort of a catch all for the accents of American English that don't fall under one of the obvious regional accents ...

Posted by: Matt McGrattan at April 18, 2005 11:11 AM

I am proud to report that my results for both "Midwestern" and "Upper Midwestern" were...


Posted by: bitchphd at April 18, 2005 11:13 AM

Why so beefy, B? says this borderline-Midwesterner resident in the upper Midwest.

Posted by: Matt Weiner at April 18, 2005 12:16 PM

Beefy? I don't speak your flyover state patois. ;)

Posted by: bitchphd at April 18, 2005 12:28 PM

i'm 100% upper midwestern in my soul, but only 20% in their questionnaire.

the most serious problem: it only gives two words for athletic footwear, neither of which i would use. they don't even give 'gym shoes' as an option! 'sneakers'? no-- only if their smell sneaks up on you. 'tennis shoes'? fine-- if you're playing tennis!

also: in general, but subject to variation, 'route' rhymes with 'pout'. 'root' rhymes with 'put'. 'room', 'broom', 'roof' also have the same vowel as in 'put'.

Posted by: corey at April 18, 2005 12:30 PM

Corey, I think the second one has "gym shoes." It explains its methodology, too.

"Beefy" = "What's your beef?" though what I meant is "Why such a hater?" Not midwestern so much as my own personal language (speaking this gets me in trouble sometimes).

Posted by: Matt Weiner at April 18, 2005 12:36 PM

you're right: the second one is sorta better. if you couldn't tell, i get annoyed at folk dialectology.

but there is a serious problem in one of the questions, where it asks if you pronounce 'cot' and 'caught' the same. my answer is NO, and it tells me i'm from "Pennsylvania to Ohio and Indiana".

the cot-caught merger applies around pittsburgh, canada, and the western US. it does not apply in the great lakes region, most of new england, or the south. see here:


Posted by: corey at April 18, 2005 01:20 PM

I hate flat states. Sue me.

Posted by: bitchphd at April 18, 2005 04:06 PM

Wait, they got the cot-caught merger backwards? Is da burgh just an island of merger?

Posted by: Matt Weiner at April 18, 2005 05:45 PM

Apostrophersesses puts me at 49% Yank.

Posted by: ben wolfson at April 18, 2005 06:51 PM

it seems like they randomly chose three states and said there is no merger there.

quite a few people keep these distinct. you gotta fight for your right to maintain phonemic distinctions!

quickie 'flat state' plug:

Posted by: corey at April 18, 2005 07:05 PM

This was unsatisfying, especially when I got to the 'what do you call an easy class?' which most native Californians I know call a Mick, probably short for a Mickey Mouse class. (Of course, we grew up calling something stupendously fun as an E ticket, which was also derived from Disneyland's ticket system. The dark purple E tickets were for Space Mtn and the Matterhorn, while light yellow A tix were for kiddie rides.

Posted by: moira at April 21, 2005 10:56 PM