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How do you say cream cheese, pecan and caramel?

Some amusing regional dialect maps for your enjoyment.

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  1. Those first ten years on the southside of Chicago left a bigger imprint than I imagined.

    2 Replies

      I enjoyed the maps. When I first moved to Oklahoma from Kansas it was a complete dialect discovery. I have since fled. They made fun of my words there, and now, thanks to Oklahoma, people will make fun of my dialect here.

      1. re: Firegoat

        when my grandfather moved to oklahoma in the 70s into a small town ... his NewYork accent caused many legendary problems....and when he went to the bakery and asked for a bagel...Oy Vay!

      1. I'm amused by the drive through liquor store map. Brew Thru is a chain of drive through beer stores on the Outer Banks of NC. They've been around for almost 40 years. Use of "brew thru" for a drive through liquor store only shows up in a part of the country where a lot of people are familiar with the Brew Thru chain. On top of that, the map maker is from NC. I wonder how they asked the question.

        ETA: I looked at the full text of the question and responses. Nearly 80% of respondents answered that they had never heard of a drive through liquor store, or that they didn't have a special name for one. Brew thru brought is 3.4%, followed by beer barn at 2.8%. There were a few other responses with less than 1% response. So, I don't think the question was biased, but I do think the map maker was biased in choosing to map that question.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mpjmph

          The map-maker is from NC, but he is not the one who asked the questions and collected the data. He mapped all 122 questions from the survey, not just the ones where NC stood out. I don't know if he had any influence over the choice of this particular map appearing in the Atlantic and in other media outlets, or if the journalists themselves picked it out as a funny/interesting question.

          1. re: mpjmph

            Gotta love the Brew Thru tie dyed t shirts- My cousin gets one every year while we are in Corolla- and she has started the next generation, too- my neice is 3, and will get her thrid t shirt next month- no tie dye in the infant sizes, though!

          2. The real question is how do you say syrup? My family and I have this argument all the time! I call it SIR-up, but almost everybody else says SEE-rup.

            orange - ARE-anj
            Caribbean - care-i-BE-an
            ketchup - CATCH-up
            (my pronounciations...)

            9 Replies
            1. re: jbsiegel

              bubbly drinks that are in a can or bottle?
              I say Soda
              who says Pop?

              who says coke? no matter if it is cola or not?

                1. re: pinehurst

                  When I moved to Boston, I found "tonic" for pop very amusing. So what is the name for tonic water?

                  1. re: ChefJune

                    Tonis water is tonic water!! And it goes good with vodker ( one of the few words a lot of New Englanders pronounce with an "R" at the end!

                2. re: girloftheworld

                  When I was a little kid in Texas, it was a Coke. Then I moved to Colorado and had to switch to pop, to be understood. Now I'm in Houston, and it's a Coke again. My East Texas grandfather called it "sodee water" :-)

                    1. re: girloftheworld

                      I think Coke is a Texas thing. I've been out of TX for over 20 years, it's still a Coke.

                      Great website. LOL!

                    2. re: jbsiegel

                      I am with you on the SIR-up. Never heard the See-rup before.

                      I say both soda and pop, but not soda pop. Actually with as many varieties out there I usually just specify the specific brand and flavor.

                    3. The cream cheese map is very mysterious. If I'm reading it correctly, it indicates that most of the country falls into the "other" category - i.e., they don't say CREAM cheese (which is correct) or cream CHEESE (which is incorrect unless you also say swiss CHEESE and mozzarella CHEESE, which you don't, 'cause that's just nuts). So what "other" way is there to say cream cheese?

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: small h

                        Here's the more detailed maps for 'cream cheese'.
                        The first link shows composite maps, ones that combine responses into shades of red, blue and purple. Details show that 'stress on the first' is the dominant choice ('other' is less than 3%). I don't see much of a regional pattern on this issue.

                        But why do you insist that one way is correct? 'cream' does distinguish it from other cheeses, but 'cheese' is the noun. Shouldn't the noun in noun phrase get the most stress?

                        From the survey home page:
                        "There are no right or wrong answers; by answering each question with WHAT YOU REALLY SAY and not what you think is "right", you can help contribute to an accurate picture of how English is used in your community."

                        1. re: paulj

                          Thanks for that map. Much easier to understand. But in answer to

                          "Shouldn't the noun in noun phrase get the most stress?"

                          try that out with some other noun phrases. I already listed swiss cheese and mozzarella cheese, to keep things cheese-focused, but there's plenty more: bus stop, men's room, rock band, and on and on. Do you stress the second word when you say any of those phrases? I'm not saying there are zero phrases in which the second word gets the emphasis - I think "front door" works that way - but it is much less common.

                          1. re: small h

                            You're right that it's usually the first element in a compound word that gets stressed, and that is apparently how most people say "cream cheese", but a less common pronunciation, even a _much_ less common one, is not automatically incorrect. And I think if you asked around, you'd find plenty of people that do in fact say "Swiss CHEESE" and "mozzarella CHEESE".

                            1. re: DeppityDawg

                              I define "incorrect" as "not the way I say it." It's possible that others define it differently.

                              I've been thinking about swiss cheese, and it occurs to me that in the sentence "that theory has more holes than a swiss cheese," the word "cheese" is stressed. Wondering if there's a rule, and if so, what it is.

                      2. Just called my sister to ask her to pronounce "almond"
                        and she confirmed the survey. We grew up in the little
                        blue spot in northern NJ on the "almond" map. She's
                        been out of the state for more than 30 years and still
                        says ah-mond, as do I. Found this fascinating. Thanks
                        for sharing!

                        1. Lived first half of life in SE PA and this half in NJ. For me it's SIR-up and CARmel.

                          Sandwiches... hoagie, hero, sub, grinder. A hoagie (IMNSHO) is specific. It's on a special kind soft, but chewy rolll...ll makes or break a hoagie. A "hoagie" does NOT contain turkey or tuna... then it's just a turkey/tuna sandwich on a long roll. A hoagie had LOTS of THINLY sliced meats and cheese... provolone, cappicola, pepper ham, proscuitto ( on a "special). Roll is drizzled with REAL olive oil and generously sprinkled with dried oregano. Not heavy on lettuce and NEVER shredded. NO NO MAYO... EVER! Thin sliced onions and tomatoes. Peppers... sweet or hot from one of those big gallon jars... San-Del brand.

                          Never called "heros". A "sub" reminds of the bleck from that CHAIN place. A grinder is sandwich that goes under broiler (or briefly into pizza over) opened upuntil cheese melts.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: kseiverd

                            Also in Jersey, sloppy joes refer not only to the Manwich-
                            style sandwich but also to multi-decker creations with
                            a combination of cold cuts, cole slaw and Thousand Island