Monday, December 23, 2013

American regional dialects test

I took this twice. I noticed some of the vocabulary questions are ones to which my answers would differ depending on circumstances: when I answered them according to what I might say now (e.g. puma), I got assigned to a general west/northwest geography, which is where I've lived most of my life, but when I answered them according to what I learned as a child (e.g. mountain lion), I got pegged quite specifically to eastern Wisconsin and western Michigan, which is precisely the ambit of where my mother grew up.

There's nothing in the quiz to account for this, but a few of my usages are actually British, deriving from time I've spent there. I tend to say roundabout rather than, as most Americans do, traffic circle. (Technically they're different things: traffic circles, which are controlled by stoplights, are more common in the US, and roundabouts, which aren't, are more common in the UK.) And, if I didn't make out what you said and wish you to repeat it, instead of saying Excuse me? I'm more likely to say Sorry?

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