When I was a teen, we took a trip to the New England states. We had breakfast at some joint in Nantucket where they mocked the way I talked while I tried to order my breakfast. I foolishly dropped a stray y’all in during the ordering process, and the onslaught began and continued throughout the entire breakfast experience. And it burned. For years. I was just an impressionable teen after all. (My brother has a picture of me taken soon after that happened. I’m sullenly plodding down the street IN MY LOUD MADRAS LONG PANTS and I’m clearly broken. Morrissey would have written a song about me.) I don’t say y’all anymore because of that trip, though I still use it on this blog. What the hell, I might start saying it again. Solidarity, y’all! Although I tried it when I typed this, and it feels alien on my tongue. I’ve been reduced to saying you guys which I feel is a sorry substitute as it is not true to my roots, and I should probably just begin pointing, as gesturing comes naturally to me anyway. But, moving on from all of that…. when I saw this Dialect Survey time-sucker, I spent a lot of time perusing it to find out if it was my accent that was the offending issue for my New England friends, or if it was my dialect. After taking a good hard and honest look, I think it was my very southern accent that made them search for sharp pointy objects to jam in their ears. The only good thing that came out of that breakfast was my introduction to cranberry pancakes. They may not have eased the stinging pain and embarrassment caused by the waitstaff, but I have been trying to duplicate their perfect balance of tart and sweet ever since.
So on to that time-sucker Dialect Survey. The questions they asked are something else:
Question 4. CARMEL? Srsly? Who pronounces it that way?
Question 7. Man, I freaking hate that word. You know what? They are missing a selection here if I’m answering. I need an option for both. I use both because neither ever sounds right to me. I HATE THAT WORD! It’s like (for locals) Powhite Pkwy.
Question 19. This one represents a divide in my family. (Much like pillow vs. pilla — I should mention that I use pillow while my father favors pilla.) My parents seem to favor Mondee, etc. while I use Monday, etc. I think it’s interesting that my parents didn’t shape my pronunciation here. They will say it’s because I was raised by wolves. There are other behavioral signs of mine that make that assertion seem rational.
Question 26. This question exposes a dark dialect underbelly around these parts that I’m not entirely sure how to explain. There’s an answer missing on that map y’all. I am asking my brother to chime in here. My parents pronounce that word a different way than the answers shown. And I used to as well until a certain teacher in a certain elementary school when I was a certain age told me in no uncertain terms that I would certainly stop that madness right now. And, guess what? I’m glad I don’t pronounce it that way anymore. Shhhh, don’t tell my parents.
Question 41. This one was fascinating because my answer was the last one and I was happy to see that at least some of my homies answered similarly.
Question 52. This is such a pet peeve of mine that I get agitated and have to compose myself for a moment after I hear that at. I’m a real treat to be around, huh? On the plus side, kudos to all my English teachers growing up. You guys did well by me! I have proof I was paying attention.
Question 100. There’s probably a reason that Matthew cuts the grass and that is that it’s apparently called “mowing the lawn.” If I can’t even get the terminology correct, I certainly can’t participate in the activity.
Question 111. I love the heel of the bread loaf NOT the butt. But I love using pork butt for barbecue.
Question 113. I was completely puzzled by this one. I didn’t realize anyone would come at this any other way than p. I’m still scratching my head and the results show that I’m an idiot for thinking it’s that predominant.
Question 120. Are you kidding me? Of COURSE it’s shotgun. Hello?!? Dibs is what you call when you want to lay claim to an object. The front seat of the car is a location and therefore does not apply.
Question 122. I was EXTREMELY grateful to find that nobody uses EXPECIALY instead of especially. The sheer suggestion that someone would use it haunts me.
This one is entertaining.
Yes, I do have better things to do with my time. Why do you ask?