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TODAY   |  December 30, 2013

Dialect quiz guesses where you’re from

Do you call your mother’s sister “ant” or your “ont?” A popular quiz created by the New York Times guesses where you’re from in the country, based on your dialect. Cornell University sociologist Scott Golder breaks down some examples and explains what the different pronunciations mean for our culture.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> has a popular quiz out right now. it claims to detect where a person is from based on their particular dialect. the three of us took it. and here to talk about it is scott, good morning.

>> thanks guys.

>> what was this proport to do and how does it do it?

>> it's a survey about different vocabulary items and pronunciation patterns developed at harvard about ten years ago and the goal is to catalog or categorize all of the different variations of speech in the country.

>> is there a difference, maybe i'm being dumb about this, is there a difference between a dy a dialect and activities cent -- accent?

>> they all contribute to your dialect.

>> how do you determine what kwexs will determine where a person is from or what their dialect is.

>> we want to ask questions that cover a wide range of things. different kinds of pronunciations. we asked 122 questions in our original quiz.

>> as we took the quiz the questions changed slightly throughout the day. let's get to a couple of questions. how would you address a group of two or more people if you walked into a room. would you say you all, yous, you lot, you guys, you uns, yinz you, other, or y'all.

>> i do you guys.

>> i'm a you guys also.

>> where are you from, by the way.

>> can you guess?

>> northeast.

>> boston, yes.

>> but do you do you guys with an s or a z?

>> you guys.

>> what do you call the long sandwich that contains cold cuts , lettuce.

>> i said po boys because i grew up in down there.

>> i sort of remembered so but this thing nailed me. this quiz nailed me.

>> it did?

>> absolutely.

>> the choices were sub, grinder, hoagie po boy , bomber, baguette, or other.

>> how did you do with the shoes.

>> what did you call the long sandwich?

>> i personally said sub.

>> okay, northeast.

>> yeah.

>> all right. here go with the next one.

>> what do you call the shoes wore in gym class .

>> i call them tennis shoes .

>> sneakers.

>> that's one of each. i call them sneakers.

>> i always thought tennis shoes you wear them to play tennis.

>> where i come from everything is let's go get a coke.

>> we call it soda.

>> see i call it soft drink.

>> this is why we do this.

>> the next one, by the way, is less vocabulary and more pronunciation. how do you pronounce the second syllable of pajamas.

>> pajamas.

>> because some people say pajamas.

>> you say pajamas also.

>> i say pajamas.

>> we all took the quiz. what did you determine about us other than we have a learning curve ?

>> i love the fact that you all exhibited a great deal of dialect variation right here. we want to be able to categorize all the variations that exist in language.

>> it had me down to new york city , yonkers or new jersey.

>> i was anaheim.

>> mine said new jersey and that's not me. i was schooled in maine lived in l.a.

>> scott, thank you very much.

>> that was fun. happy new