What we call insects that glow at night
Some 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
Calling it a “tag sale” or “rummage sale” are dead giveaways you’re either from western Massachusetts or Connecticut or eastern Wisconsin.