Dialect Survey — Do you call it “soda” or “pop”?

Apparently there are several different ways to say the same word or refer to the same idea.  HERE is an interactive map to see what parts of the country refer to sugared carbonated beverages as soda or pop (by the way, it is correctly called soda).  Among some other interesting things on the list are how you pronounce “et cetera”, “especially”, whether you “mow the lawn” or “cut the grass”.  Some of the items I had no idea there were different expressions for, like “catty-corner” instead of “kitty-corner”.  And I was amazed that in my region there were so many people who didn’t know a “roly-poly” is called a roly-poly”.



  1. We call them “pill bugs”

  2. You mean wood louse? *L*

    I’d always been told “pop” was a Canadianism while “soda” was more a US term. Regional dialects have little to do with political borders, it seems.

    Speaking of regional differences, who here wears shoes in the house?

    • I prefer yo be barefoot in the house and so do my kids. But my wife always has something on her feet

      • I wear shoes in the house – don’t like to be barefoot except when very hot weather. Late evening I will change to my leather slippers. Sleeping I like socks on unless it’s hot, then bare feet.

        Now you have to be careful about my region. My origins are Springfield, OH and that is where I learned most of my habits and idioms. Yet I spent five years in Denver, CO, five years in NC, 17 years in the Chicago area, and now in my 18th year in Iowa. I’m all mixed up.

    • Who sleeps barefoot and who wears socks. I cant sleep if I have something on my feet.

  3. I grew up in south Texas. We either called them rolly polies or doodle bugs. And all sugary carbonated beverages are “Cokes”.

    • Yeah I heard that. What kind of coke do you want? Sprite

      • Dr. Pepper.

        By the way, Dublin Dr. Pepper is still made with cane sugar, and is the greatest coke ever!

        • In a lot of places, “Coke” is generic for all cola drinks, though if you ask for a coke in a restaurant, you might be asked “is Pepsi okay?”

          As for the shoe thing, I remember being rather shocked the first time I was in a household where people kept their shoes on. Whenever entering someone’s home, the first thing done is the removal of shoes. It just seemed like the polite thing to do, rather than tracking dirt through their house. At home, I’d usually be barefoot. When my doctor told me to start wearing shoes indoors to help my feet (which are pretty wrecked), when visiting friends I would ask their permission to leave my shoes on, and felt so uncouth doing it! It didn’t last. I just can’t bring myself to wear shoes in the house.

  4. C2C,

    As one who is addicted to Dr Pepper, I am quite curious about the Dublin variety. Is this Dr Pepper sold in Ireland?

    As to the question, when I was a kid, we often referred to it as “soda pop”. Some eventually went with “soda”, and others, like myself, went with “pop”.

  5. We call it “pop” in Michigan. And it is correctly called “Soda Pop.” The South, apparently, dropped the last name and the North dropped the first name.

    I remember my dad walked into a convenience store in Georgia and asked the clerk, “Hey, where’s your pop?”

    The clerk literally responded with, “My pops been dead awhile, sir.”

    No joke. Actually happened. The guy had no idea what “pop” meant.

    As far as the bug, we call them “roly-polys” in Michigan.

  6. Also, we say “mow the lawn” and “cut the grass” in Michigan. It just depends on the person. I usually say “mow the lawn.”

    I always wear something on my feet. When I walk into another person’s home, I always ask if it’s okay to leave my shoes on. Almost everyone says, “Yes. Don’t worry about this old carpet.” Even though the carpet is clearly new. LOL.

    In my house, I typically take my shoes off when I’m done going outside. But I don’t allow shoes in the living room because the carpet is new. I always wear socks. I never go barefoot. I won’t sleep barefoot either. I’m always wearing socks.

  7. I recall a friend of mine saying that when he moved from the Chicago area to Indiana, he noticed that when at a store, the clerk asks if he wants a sack for the items purchased, whereas in Chicago they offer a bag.

    Also, I’ll either mow the lawn OR cut the grass with no rhyme or reason regulating when I’ll do either.

    As to footwear, I prefer something on my feet when in the house, as I don’t want to keep putting shoes back on should the need to leave the house arises. I have moccasin style slippers that I put on when I know I won’t be leaving the property, because I can remove them easily. But I’ll usually leave the socks on until I hit the rack. I don’t sleep with socks on if I’m in bed under the covers.

  8. paynehollow says:

    We always referred to the generic, “coke.” All sodas were cokes to us. I’d go to a store and ask for a coke and they’d ask, “What kind?” and I’d say Dr Pepper.

    If I actually wanted a Coke, I’d ask for a Coca Cola. If I actually wanted a Diet Coke, I would shoot myself.

  9. Coke, plain and simple. And around here we don’t have lawns, we only have yards. Another big give away is the word “roof” because if you haven’t heard it yet you’ll know it when you do, but I guess you’re talking about “whole” words and not enunciations so that may not matter.

    • Now that’s interesting – as I know the words, a “yard” is a defined area, and a lawn is the grass growing in a yard. A yard does not necessarily have a lawn. Growing up, I mowed the lawn, but our yard also included a spruce grove, a maple grove, fruit trees, several flower gardens and a vegetable garden.

      And an extra house, but that’s another story. ;-)

      We also had a barn yard and a hay yard.

Any Thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: