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Soda vs. Pop redux (Map)

I don't know how new this is, but here's a nifty map of interest to cultural geographers (click on a hot link it for a full-screen version which will give you numeric results by county):


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  1. very cool! i always laughed at my southern friends who referred to soda as coke, regardless of brand [although when i lived in ATL, coke was, of course, the only brand available anyway].

    i wish someone would create a map like that for the sneakers vs. tennis shoes vs. gym shoes scenario - i've always had a hunch that it follows roughly the same geographic lines as this one.

    6 Replies
      1. re: Davwud

        "Or hoagie/grinder/sub."
        add "hero" to that list - in the nyc area "hero" & "sub" are pretty much interchangeable.

        funny, i was thinking about that one a few minutes after i posted.

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          Which in some places is spelled gyro.

          1. re: lgss

            totally different. hero is a deli meat/cold cut sandwich [with assorted condiments/fixings] on a long, white roll. gyro is a greek sandwich of rotisserie meat, typically served in a pita.

            but the pronunciation is somewhat similar - the g in gyro is silent.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              I think (I don't hear it often) around here the g is not silent, and it rhymes with high-low. ;-)

              And you get pop to go with it, of course (because we're west of that split in PA), though I grew up calling it soda in that far eastern part of WV, up against MD, registers as soda on the map.

      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

        glad to see pop is the most common, at least by area covered. i grew up in michigan, where it's pop. when we moved to the south, i was quite shocked to find any number of drinks would be passed off when offered a "co-cola". i quickly stopped accepting offers of "co-cola" and began asking for water instead; at least i knew what i was getting that way.

      3. Fun to see it on a map.

        I grew up in MO and attended University of Missouri-Columbia, middle of the state. We could tell which side of the state students were from based upon whether they called it soda or pop. When I lived in TX some people called it soda water. The traditional term in Boston was tonic.

        The book "The Nine Nations of North America" by Joel Garreau (1981) talks about geographical uses of various phrases (lightning bug vs. firefly, etc).

        1. i'd fall into the "other" category. Everyone (or most) where I come from, refers to it as "a can/bottle of drinks" ..no clue why. I've only started calling it "pop" so the people where i moved, would know what i mean (and stop laughing at me)

          3 Replies
            1. re: im_nomad

              If you're not a Newfie you might be interested to know that that's what they call them.


              1. re: Davwud

                I'm a Newfoundlander yes. BTW Davwud...if you're not a Newfoundlander, i'd tread VERY carefully on the use of the word "newfie". It can be considered a derogatory term to many.

            2. Well I grew up outside of Boston and we call it tonic...but we show up as being 80% soda. Soda would be my #2 choice of what to call it.

              1 Reply
              1. re: rizzo0904

                When I moved to Boston from Detroit, I was in Market Basket looking for pop and saw "Tonic" on the overhead aisle signs. I remember thinking how odd it was to give tonic, as in gin & tonic, it's own signage.

              2. I grew up near Cape Cod, and we always said soda. I always heard that people call it tonic, but I never knew anyone who actually did.

                As a kid I thought it was fun to hear my Colorado relatives say pop.

                  1. I'm from NYC and we always called it soda. I have lived in Florida for decades and most of my Floridian friends here refer to it as soda, however I have noticed that folks who migrate here from the Midwest refer to it as pop.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: MysticYoYo

                      I'm from Florida originally and we call it Coke. My aunt (who now lives in Maine) expects someone to ask her what kind when she orders one.

                      I went to grad school in Western Pennsylvania and there seemed to be a split right along I-99 where people would say "pop" or "coke." There used to be arguments in my sorority over which it was.

                      I now live in Maryland and it's soda here.

                    2. I love that map, so cool!

                      I definitely call it pop, since I'm from Chicago.

                      1. I have a SIL that calls every cold beverage Juice. Doesn't matter if it's milk, pop, iced tea...it's all Juice.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Sooeygun

                          that may be a remnant of parenting during her childhood. i've seen parents refer to everything in their kids' bottle or sippy cup as "juice" just to get the kid to drink it because juice is more exciting/appealing to them than milk or water [i'll stay off my soapbox about parents duping their kids when it comes to food]. anyway, she may have just held on to that habit. it's bizarre to imagine an adult doing it, but that might explain it.

                        2. I grew up in Hawaii calling it soda. When I came to Seattle for college, people called it pop, which sounded really out-dated to me for some reason. Whenever I talked about soda people thought I just meant unflavored soda water for some reason. Strange.

                          I agree with other posters that lots of maps like this would be fun to see. For instance, I grew up saying "slippers" for what we wear on our feet in Hawaii. Here they call them flip-flops, but my Chinese grandmother on the east coast calls them zoris and others call them "thongs". Strange. When I talk about slippers here people often think I am talking about bedroom/house slippers that you don't wear outside.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: akq

                            We called them thongs or "kloppers" (for the noise they make) when I was a kid, but thong now has a different meaning.

                            I wonder about the geographic distribution of the use of the word frosting vs. icing. We called the homemade version icing (we never bought it already prepared) but I think most people called the store-bought version frosting.

                          2. Yeah, this map has shown up in other threads here. It must have been done pretty recently because as has been mentioned already, in Boston tonic was the word of choice when I was growing up in the '50s and '60s. By now the fast food chains have persuaded the younger generation that they're drinking soda instead.

                            1. Years ago (lots), I went to college in NW upstate New York; per your map, it was definitely "pop" territory with one addition. If you wanted a bottle of cherry soda (NYC nomenclature) in a store, you asked for cherry pop - but if you were sitting at a fountain and wanted a cherry soda, you asked for a cherry phosphate (which may be fountain nomenclature in other parts of the country as well).

                              1. the map was very interesting. I grew up in the SF area, and the people I knew called soft drinks... soft drinks. surprised that term does not even show up on the map, since it is about soft drinks. As akq said.. in Hawaii its always called soda (which back where i grew up meant the mixer for drinks).

                                (couch? sofa? chesterfield?)

                                1. Soda, sneakers, hoagies - oh my!

                                  Born & raised in NE PA but living in NC where it's coke country.