Say These 9 Words, and We’ll Tell You Where You Grew Up

If said a certain way, these words and phrases are a dead giveaway to where you're from.

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What we call insects that glow at night

jul-Aug-WK-You-say-tomato-01-Josh-KatzJosh KatzSome words are like out-of-state license plates—they’re dead giveaways that you’re not from around here. Just try rhyming aunt with can’t in parts of the Northeast or Upper Midwest (you cahn’t) or ordering a sub in Philadelphia, the epicenter of hoagie country. Not convinced? Check out this list of 13 foods that have totally different regional names.

In recent years, linguists have pondered whether the homogenizing effects of TV, film, and the Internet have begun to eliminate many so-called regionalisms. To find out, I surveyed Americans about how we talk for my book, Speaking American. The good news, based on the 350,000 responses received: American English shows no sign of disappearing. So slip off your sneakers (more on that later), grab a soft drink (ditto), and let’s take a tour of Americanisms. (Find out if you're like the rest of us and mispronounce these common words, too.)

What we call a sale of household items

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How we address a group of people

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What we call carbonated beverages

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Where we throw our trash

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What we haul freight in

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What we drink from in public places

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What we call athletic footwear

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How many syllables in caramel?

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