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Dr. Helen

NYT’s Dialect Quiz

December 26th, 2013 - 6:26 am

Yes, resistance is futile just as Hot Air says. I took the quiz and it pinpointed my dialect to Chattanooga and Nashville and that’s pretty close. See here if the quiz can pinpoint your dialect.

Remember, resistance is futile!

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All Comments   (15)
All Comments   (15)
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Ha ha! The survey placed me in three California cities: Modesto, San Francisco & Santa Rosa. And I was born in San Francisco and now live in Santa Rosa. So there.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
The quiz placed me in the Carolinas. Curiously, since my father was in the Air Force and I spent 21 years in the Navy, I've never been in the Carolinas, other than driving through. I did most of my growing up in the midwest, and I've spent the last 30 years in northern California.

So; a clean miss.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wow, Even though I've been living in the Boston area more than half my life, it had me pegged, correctly, as a native New Yawker.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Had me way off. Pinpoints my dialect as that from the Mesa-Tempe-Glendale areas of AZ. I've been to that state exactly once, for a day, while I drove through on Route 66, over 10 years ago.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
It places me in nj and top 3 cities are jersey city, paterson and new york. Pretty accurate. Considering that these 3 cities have a pretty large Indian (or subcontinental) population(since paterson has a huge bangladeshi population), I would say that this is pretty much spot on since I am also Indian. And I stayed in nj for 3 years.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, it places me in Texas, Oklahoma and Lousiana. Austin is the closest it got, but that's about 600 miles north of here. I did live in Austin for several years while I went to UT, though I am originally from San Antonio.

I took a course in linguistics at UT and it really was quite fascinating. We all had to take this long test, similar to this one but much more detailed, about pronunciations and expressions. It was part of this ongoing survey the linguistics department has been conducting for decades on dialects throughout Texas.

I've been all over Texas in my travels. And I have to tell you, it's really five states in one. North, East, South, West, and Central Texas are all totally different, with their own dialects, and it takes some skill to navigate seamlessly between them. You have to know where you are and watch what you say.

This is because of varying immigration patterns and the effects they had on dialects. For example, North Texas, around Dallas, was populated mostly by immigrants from the northeast US, whereas West Texas, the Panhandle and grassland area was populated mostly by Scots-Irish farmers from the midwest. A lot of French and Creole immigrants moved into East Texas, which is why Corpus Christi is a sister city of New Orleans. South Texas of course is heavily populated by Hispanics, but it is interesting that this area was largely undeveloped scrub desert until the early 1900s, when Scots-Irish settlers migrated down here from West Texas and the midwest, bought up the Spanish land grants, cleared out the scrub desert and began planting crops. This is why towns down here have names like McAllen, Edinburg, and Harligen. Central Texas is a unique place. A lot of German immigrants moved there, which is why the towns have names like Fredricksburg and New Braunfels. Central Texas is unique because it rests on the edge of the continental rock substata. There are many springs, rivers, rolling hills speckled with live oak and pecan, green fields full of wildflowers; it really is quite beautiful. And it has attracted immigrants from all over for centuries. Everything to the East and South of San Antonio is actually a progradational delta formed of sedimentary rock carried by the rivers. North Texas sits on continental rock and is mostly flat, and West Texas is mostly desert and grasslands. Various immigrant groups chose different areas of Texas to settle in based on how closely the area resembled their homelands.

One of the things that most fascinated me in linguistics was when the professor put up this map of Texas that showed the various dialects by county across the state. In particular, was how the pronunciation of Houston varied. Most people would say Hyooston. But there are actually counties where people say Hooston. And even a few where they say Houseton. Different peoples, different dialects.

I don't think I have some sort of unique ability to blend in. I mean, pretty much everywhere I go everyone knows I'm not from around here. But I just watch and listen and try to come across as unassuming as possible. And it works for the most part.

It's funny though. Whenever I leave the State, say to take a trip to Califorina or DC or wherever, everyone comes up and immediately says, "You're from Texas, aren't you?" But when I travel around the state, everyone seems to think that I'm from New York! I haven't figured that one out yet. San Antontio is a sister city of New York, that's the only explanation I can come up with.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thank you for that; it is fascinating. I was born in Hyooston, but haven't lived there in over 40 years. I didn't realize any Texans would call the place Hooston or Houseton.

People often remark that they can't tell where I'm from, as they can't discern a regional dialect. But this quiz placed me pretty close to where I lived my high-school years.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Fairly close. I'm an Oklahoman but it labels me on a diagonal line from Wichita east-northeast toward Indianapolis. On second thought, I think it is actually pretty inaccurate.

On an unrelated note it's nice to see DADvocate here. I remember him, and his insightful posts, from the old Dr. Helen blog.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
It labeled me spot on.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
I was skeptical, but it gave the correct answer: central upstate NY.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm somewhere in Texas or Arkansas. Lived my first 38 years in Knoxville, but my mother lived mostly in Oklahoma growing up. Maybe some of that rubbed off on me.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
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