Where Do You Talk Like?

Those of you who click through any number of more "personal" blogs will recognize the concept: a display of results from some internet "survey" or another to figure out which of several "things" (Star Wars character, literary heroine, car, etc.) to which you might be most similar. Along those lines I ran across one (I forget now on which I blog I first saw it) that gave an aswer as to the kinds of English one spoke, giving percentage breakdown of Northern, Southern, Midwestern, Upper Midwestern, and more. Little did I know that this survey was being followed a little more closely than the one that told me that if I were an X-Man I would be Cyclops. (Clearly erroneous. As anyone who knows me would say, I would be a perfect Havok.)

From that survey the results were compiled and then displayed in numerous maps of the US, showing geographic concentrations of response types: Dialect Survey Maps and Results.

One thing I'm grateful for is that this survey finally recognized and demonstrated something I'd noticed while living in Ohio three different times--a very odd use of the word "anymore" that was hard to reconstruct for examples. Here are the results for whether or not people consider either the phrase "I do exclusively figurative paintings anymore", or the phrase "He used to nap on the couch, but he sprawls out in that new lounge chair anymore" to be gramatically correct. (I do not.) Notice the "Eastern Midwest" concentration of those who responded "acceptable". Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Southeast Michigan all seem to consider this linguistically hunkey-dorey hunky-dory (my goodness, what was I thinking?). But then, what can you expect from an area that drops its helping verbs? (To wit, from my Pennsylvanian father: "Why are you just sitting on the couch? The lawn needs mowed and your hair needs cut.")

Had I the time and the data I'd map these results against the spread of ethnic groups over time and the level of economic development in each area. That, and a good GIS program would help. As my grandmother used to say, "If I had some cheese I could have a ham and cheese sandwhich if I had some ham."

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This page contains a single entry by published on May 25, 2005 1:36 PM.

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