WHICH DIALECT DO YOU SPEAK? This article at the boingboing site by Maggie Koerth-Baker, tells about a quiz which will let you find out what dialect you speak. More accurately, it will help you determine the sources of your ideolect—your personal dialect—because most of us have moved around America and been affected by the dialects we encountered. Maggie Koerth-Baker tells about how her dialect comes apparently about 60% from Topeka, Kansas where she lived until she was 12, and the rest from places she has lived since then.

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  1. Carl Davidson says:

    The test nailed me as a guy who was born, bred and came to maturity in Trenton, NJ and lived there off and on after graduating until I left at age 43 to go to Westchester County where I spent the next 35 years. The interesting thing is that the darkest part of the map was all of NJ into Philadelphia plus into the NY metropolitan area to the north. As natives who take an interest in these things know the NYC area accent fades out around Elizabeth, NJ and the Philadelphia accent becomes dominant and goes into Baltimore when it starts to pick up some southern traces. It’s hard to tell whether the test map isn’t programmed to make these distinctions or whether my accent, like Phil’s has acquired some New York patois.

  2. Carl Davidson says:

    I’ve sent the test along to my son and daughter hoping that they will do it. They left Princeton, NJ at ages 10 and 12, went through high school in Westchester, and went to colleges in North Carolina and Tennessee, respectively, for four years each. Andy subsequently spent seven years in four European countries, including the UK. He wound up in Fairfield County and she wound up in Westchester. It should be
    interesting to see how they come out.

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