What is your American dialect?

By Razib Khan | September 16, 2013 2:14 am

Razib’s Dialect Similarity

Language dialect is something that we often pick up unconsciously, so I find it an interesting if narcissistic project to query my own dialect affinities. The above was generated using a 140 question test (warning: server often slow). In case you were curious, my most ‘similar’ city (to my dialect) is Sunnyvale, California. Though most of my life has been spent on the West coast of the United States, I did spend my elementary age years in upstate New York. You can see evidence of that in the heat-map. There are particular words I use and pronunciations that I have which I know are probably relics of my formative years, but it was a little surprising that this survey picked up on that, as I thought most of them had disappeared.

  • Sandgroper

    I speak most like someone from New York, NY, apparently – very strongly concentrated. And least like someone from Tennessee, Arkansas or Alabama.

  • razibkhan

    mine was 50 for high. did not remember low. most similar to sunnyvale, CA.

  • Susanna Sharp-Schwacke

    I would have loved to have taken the test, but the server is non-fuctional, not just slow. Note: If you’re going to offer a test to the public, don’t do it on a server you know is slow. That’s just stupid.

  • Paul Conroy

    I’ve lived 1/2 my life in the Irish midlands and 1/2 in New York City, and my dialect is strongly New York area and secondly New England:


    I’m least similar to Mid-West…

    • Paul Conroy

      My New York is 56, and there are a few Mid West places that are 42. Basically I am least similar to German dominated areas.

  • Michael

    Very interesting. My top score was for the exact city in Missouri where I grew up.

  • RogerB

    I took the 45-item version, which was surprisingly accurate. I grew up in NW Louisiana, and my peak is around New Orleans, extending up into central LA. But I lived in New Orleans for a few years and there’s a local preoccupation with food. The food items on the quiz probably account for that.

    The remarkable finding was that my #5 city is Columbus, GA. My paternal grandmother grew up there but lived in Shreveport, LA after 1910. I’m not aware of any words or pronunciations I acquired from her, but there it is.

    When I was a little boy, i was teased at school for pronouncing “dinner” as “dunner”. I had the same vowel shift for a few other words. I noticed that it came from my paternal grandfather, who grew up around Birmingham, AL.

    I’ve spent time on both coasts in reasonably stylish places (New Haven, Palo Alto) but apparently none of the speech patterns rubbed off. You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy.

  • Lauren Meyer
  • Barbie

    I keep telling the ladies at work people from ENGLAND speak English, they speak American – specifically Southerner.


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com


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