Posted by Julie Ponzi
Who would have thought a Lincoln-phile like me could be described so? But according to this quiz that’s exactly what I am--at least in my speech and pronunciation. If you want to take your mind off of politics for a bit today, go see where you fall on the spectrum. Thanks to my Mom for passing this along. She, by the way, is 57% Yankee.
4:21 PM / February 5, 2008
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That quiz blows. It told me I was 64% dixie even though most of my answers were either "common throughout" or "great lakes." I think it's tilted to make everyone a southerner. Not that I care; I think urban, suburban, rural is bigger differences than by region; except for extreme areas with little mixing (like rural south, and urban northeast where there's little migration to).
All of my answers were from New England/Northeast/Midwest, and yet I only scored 43% Yankee. This Italian from NJ (who lives in VA) has never been mistaken for a local down here in Dixie. I think the people who made this poll don't really know the difference between a Yankee and a South'ner. Of course, I know the difference between a Yankee and a Damn Yankee. But, I'm staying for the mild weather and low property taxes.
Here I was thinking that my being from "Southern" Ohio, having been born in Florida, and now living in "Southern" California might explain some of this odd result. I always knew that I sounded more like my cousins from the South than I did my friends from Cleveland (and really, no offense, but I was always pretty grateful for that).
A while back I recall seeing a program on PBS (I think) about the development of all the different American dialects. It noted how fluid that development is now compared to a generation or so ago because of the way we all tend to move around so much. Even so, little quirks and habits from long ago tend to pop up in our speech. My daughter, for example, has no Italian-speaking relatives. Nevertheless, she's picked up speech patterns from my in-laws (who did have native Italian-speakers in their families) that amuse my side of the family to no end. "Don't-a!" she screams at her brother, "Stop it-a!" Similarly, my in-laws swear that because of me, my kids say, "DAWG" instead of "dog." (I must protest that I don't hear that--though I guess I wouldn't!) For my part, I always used to think that my husband's family suffered from poor habits in grammar because they always talk about past vacations by noting how they "stood" at a particular campground or motel. I would ask (myself, not them), "Well why did you just stand there? Didn't they have beds or chairs?!" and sort of roll my internal eyes and grit my internal teeth. But then I started to notice that a great many of my "native" So-Cal friends had the same verbal vice. So perhaps its a colloquialism? Aughn't know? Who'm I ta judge?
Yes, moving around homogenizes our speech patterns, but so has television.
"Stood" used like that is an idiom. An idiom is a word or phrase that is usually local and with a meaning not discernible from the literal meaning of the word. A colloquialism is conversational English, like slang.
In this area the tendency is to avoid "to be". So, "The car needs washed" or "That dog wants fed." It was a speech pattern that galled me at first. Now I can accept it in my neighbors, but choke at my children when they use it. How Hamlet would have begun his soliloquy, if he had been from around here, I can't imagine.
I am 40% Yankee. What's the rest, I wonder?
There is a problem with the logic of the poll. If you click on compute more than once the % Dixie goes up and will keep going up to 100%.
I grew up in Dayton and scored 53% Dixie. Sounds right.
Another score of 53% Dixie here, which is probably reasonable for me. Lived the first 22 years of my life in Illinois (mid-state rural, not Chicago) and the past 18 years in Georgia. I've certainly picked up some Georgia phrasings, although I'll never sound like a southern native.
"Yankee" or "Dixie" seems like a silly way of measuring dialect. I was judged "51% Dixie," but I'm a native of Pittsburgh, and we have a dialect all our own. This map demonstrates just how localized it is.
Now excuse me, I need to go dahntahn to get a gum band to put around my new Stillers poster. I may stop by Isaly's and get a jumbo samwidge while I'm there. See yins later!