Thursday, December 29, 2016

Regional Cues & Clues



What you SAY is as important as HOW you say it. Both are 'cues and clues' to unlocking your geographical history. What our fictional characters SAY is important because each character's dialogue should also reflect their background in terms of 'cues and clues.' 

Imagine the regional fun you can have with heroes and heroines of different geographical backgrounds. Just make sure you do your research!

When your New York born and bred heroine calls her residence a walk up, will her hero who is from California, know what she is talking about?

How about your Chicago fireman hero? When he goes into a New York City deli and asks for jibarito, will the clerk know what he wants

The secondary character in your story set in Louisiana is a baker and offers the Yankee hero a lagniappe with his order of beignets if he buys twelve.  Huh?


Beef on weck

Then there's your heroine who is dying for beef on weck. Where is she most likely to find it?

If your hero wants to buy champagne to celebrate his proposal to the heroine, he might go to a liquor store in some states, a grocery store in other states and a package store in Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

Obvious dialect shifts in the United States include West Coast/East Coast, and  North/South. Much of southern Florida follows the north. Then there's also that whole Midwest thing going on. Besides that, are many, many regional 'cues and clues.'

A few more regionalisms for fun!

You might be from the south if you:

Drink sweet tea with every meal.

Call tping a house- rolling.

Say "Full as a tick" after dinner.

Use the verb "mash" instead of "press."

Replace "might be able to" with "might could."
 
 

You might be a Yankee if you:

Call a pizza a pie.

Say "you guys" referring to a group of people.

Say "put it away," instead of "put it up" as a southerner would say. 

When two cars collide call it a car accident.

Say grocery cart, not buggy.
   
   
 You might be from the Midwest if you:

Think booyah is a stew not a term of triumph.

Say "tough tomatoes" instead of "tough luck."

Say "schnookered" meaning drunk.

Call a drinking fountain a bubbler.

Use the following terms at any time in your life: Uff da & Donchaknow

Care to add any to the list? 



 Let's talk about some favorite regional pronunciations! How do you pronounce these words?

Sorry-sewre, sorree, sorry

Caramel-car-mel, car-a-mel

Lawyer-loyer, lawyur

Library-liebrary, lieberry

Pecan-peecan, puhkahn

Wash-waush, warsh

 Can you see these pronunciations causing fun scenarios in your book? Throw in America's Top 10 Most Commonly Mispronounced Towns and Cities, and you have really added flavor to your story!


Now, what about different words for the same thing.

What do you call the following:
  (More importantly, what would your story characters say?)

Left to right

1. Soda, Pop, Coke?
2. Sub, Hoagie, Grinder?
3. Lightning Bug, Firefly?
4. Sneaker, Tennis Shoe?

map courtesy mymaps.com

 Now let's talk about a few real language quirks.


1. The Boston accent- “Speaking American: A History of English in the United States" by Richard Bailey shares that the Boston accent with the dropped R originated with the aristocrats of Boston who brought over the British English in the 17th century as evidenced by documents with words such as George, spelled Geoge, and fourth as fouth.


2. The Northern Cities Vowel Shift- (NCS)This change pattern is characterized by the longer and lower vowels moving forward and upward, while the shorter vowels move downward and backward. -Wikipedia. Words most often used to explain this are "cot" and "caught" which are pronounced the same with the shift. The Saturday Night Live sketch “Bill Swerski’s Super Fans” pokes fun at this NCS. More on NCS vowel shift here.


3. Additionally, other areas of the United States are seeing vowel shifts. For more information check this PBS article here.


Obviously, we could talk about this topic for hours. The important takeaway, besides the obvious-only order beef on weck in Western New York-is to make sure your characters are talking the way their geographic history says they should be. Utilize the rich flavor of your character's backgrounds to create a layered story that readers will enjoy.

Give your fiction authenticity. Isn't that what made books like The Help so much fun? 

Now it's time to take the *New York Times Dialect Quiz and come back and share your results. Bookmark the page to go back to for your fiction characters to take the quiz! Take the quiz here.

Where does your speech show you're from?

*The New York Times Dialect Quiz is based on the 2013 Harvard Dialect Survey. That survey is also the basis for the book, Speaking American by Josh Katz, which was referenced in this post, along with, How to Speak Like a Midwesterner by Edward McClelland. Both books are excellent reference tools for your writer library.

Walter Hickey, Business Insider, shares 22 Maps That Show How Americans Speak English Totally Differently From One Another-from Josh Katz's book Speaking American. Check it out and have fun!




Today, I'm giving one writer their choice of either book. To one reader, a copy of Rocky Mountain Cowboy (print or ebook). And to another reader, an Out of Print Tote in gray. Three winners announced in the Weekend Edition which is on Sunday this week!







Originally from Western, N.Y., Tina Radcliffe left home for a tour of duty with the Army Security Agency (a branch of the NSA) stationed in Augsburg, Germany and ended up in Tulsa Oklahoma. While living in Tulsa she spent ten years as a Certified Oncology R.N. Her move to Colorado led to a career as a library cataloger. 

Tina is a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist, a 2012 ACFW Carol Award finalist, a 2014 ACFW Mentor of the Year finalist, a 2014 Golden Quill finalist and a 2014 ACFW Carol Award winner. In 2016, Safe in the Fireman's Arms was a Holt Medallion Merit Award finalist, a Detroit Bookseller's Best finalist, and a NERFA finalist. She has won first place in over twenty RWA chapter affiliated contests in her career. 

Tina is also a short story writer and has sold over twenty short stories to Woman’s World Magazine. She currently resides in Arizona where she writes fun, heartwarming romance. Sign up for her newsletter at www.tinaradcliffe.com

202 comments :

  1. Kansas and Missouri are the "midwest" when you look at maps, but that midwest section surely doesn't fit me at all. Naomi has argued that I'm not midwest, I'm south, but south doesn't fit either.

    But what's really cool is that dialect quiz. Dead on guessed that my dialect came from the Springfield MO area with a big ol' red zone there. That would have been cool for my dialect and sociolinguist classes. Alas, internet was so puny back then.

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    1. Melissa, we live about 20 mins S of Spfld. Small world! :-)

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    2. I should of waved at you as I passed by on Christmas. :)

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    3. *should have - bad grammar as regional vernacular on display there....

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    4. No worries... I knew what you meant! :-)

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  2. Mine said I was from Aurora, Illinois. Alas I am from Buffalo, NY. But my mom was an enunciation purist and I have lived a lot of places. So if I have the Northern Cities Vowel Shift, so be it.

    And I want to add that the hardest city to pronounce in America is Puyallup, Washington.

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    1. I don't know about that, Tina. :) Shuqualak, Suqualena, and Kosciusko, MS are right up there with that one.

      When I was in American History, our teacher made the entire class spell all three of these words EVERY day until the entire class spelled them all correctly.

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  3. What a fun post, Miss T!
    About to head to bed but wanted to read your post first, so will RE-read tomorrow and take that quiz. I'll be more awake after sleep, a COKE, and some CAR-A-MELS (LOL!). ;)
    Hugs, Patti Jo zzzzzz....

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    1. Coke and car-a-mels. I knew it.

      I'm pop and car-mels all the way.

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    2. PATTI JO, NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Coke over sweet tea????!!!!!! That just gave me a bigger jolt than my morning coffee, girlfriend ... or a case of Coke! ;)

      I have to say that Patti Jo has one of the MOST distinctive accents I've ever heard -- I could listen to her all day!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  4. Loved this, TINA!

    Being from The Ozarks, we have a lot of quirky sayings and made-up words, and believe me, I have fun with it as I breathe life into my characters.

    Some of my best story fodder comes from church socials and dinner-on-the-grounds.

    Growing up in a small, Ozarkian town, I well remember the old farmer witticisms and down-home humor as we gathered for food and fellowship. Nothing like hearing one of the beloved members quip, "It's slicker'n deer guts on a doorknob out there today" when referring to the weather--as he scooped up another spoonful of ham and beans.

    Of course, there's the ever-familiar Ozarkian twang many of us have, too. At the ACFW conference last year, someone asked if I was from Georgia. Interesting--I'm not, but my daddy is. ;-) And my Nana always used to say "Dontchaknow." She was raised in St. Louis, but her mother (my great-grandmother) was German. Go figure!

    Thanks for the grin! Your post made me smile. :-)

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  5. I just took the NYT dialect quiz-- FUN! I live in the MO Ozarks, but my dialect reflects deep South roots. (My daddy is Georgia born and raised.) :-)

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  6. Cynthia!!! You need to write all those sayings down. I keep a notebook just for cool words and sayings, because of course I can't think of them when I am writing. LOL. Ozarkian twang. That's a new one on me. Julie Lessman? Is that what she has? Carol Moncado?

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    1. TINA, Lol! CAROL has it, too (maybe to a lesser degree though)-- She lives about 15 mins away from me! Oh, and when I sat in JULIE'S ACFW workshop years ago, I believe I detected a little "something" as she spoke. It was very sweet and unique to her. I think I spent more time taking notes and fanning myself than analyzing her dialect. (It was her workshop on infusing passion into our inspirational romance. WOW!) :-) Which reminds me, what were we talking about???? hahaha

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    2. I've never heard the expression you mentioned, Cynthia. Love it!

      Janet

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    3. I have plenty more where that came from, Janet! :-)

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    4. LOL, CYNTHIA ... that's a new one on me, too, but I've only been an Ozarkian for a little over a year now, so that's probably why.

      And "a little something" when I spoke in my voice, Cynthia? Uh ... that was passion you heard, I think -- is there a dialect for that? ;) And, Cynthia, I'd forgotten you live in the Ozarks!! You better let me know if you are ever in Osage Beach, girlfriend, or you name is MUD!!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  7. This post is fascinating! I'm going to take the quiz in the morning when I'm properly caffinated, but as a Canadian I can tell you we say "pop" for soft drinks, "sneakers", that sandwich is just a plain "Sub", and "fireflies" is the most common. Oh, and it's "car-mels" where I live. :)

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  8. I'm guessing I've got a Midwest dialect/accent as I got Minneapolis/Rockford/Wichita for my nexus on that quiz. I think our Canadian accent is flatter overall though. Great post Tina! I learned a lot, thanks!

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    1. That makes sense, Laurie. I am guessing you and I sound a bit alike. My daughter told me I have the Canadian "sorry" going on.

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  9. I'm all over the map, but in actual fact I'm from Australia. The Queen's English for us.

    A fun quiz thank you.

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    1. Mary Preston! Aren't you adventurous, taking the quiz!!!

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  10. Every soft drink is a Coke, sub, lightning bugs, and tennis shoes. I say caramel with three syllables.

    In October, we went to Maine with my brother and his wife. One night my husband and sister-in-law jumped out of the car while my brother and I looked for a parking place. When we entered the restaurant there was no sign of Tim and Carol. I started to describe them to the hostess, and she said, "Oh, the other people who talk like you?" We had to laugh.

    I started Rocky Mountain Cowboy and am going to treat myself to time to finish it this weekend. It's great!

    Have a nice day, everybody.

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    1. hahahaha!!! I love that Jackie. You southerner you.

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    2. JACKIE!! My fellow Southern-sister! :) Love your Maine story, LOL. ;) I never think about how "different" I sound until I visit somewhere else. A few years ago at ACFW in Indy, I was on the escalator talking to another writer. A stranger in front of us turned around and grinned at me as he asked, "And what part of New York are you from?" Then he burst out laughing!! I just shook my head and politely answered "Atlanta." ;)

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  11. I enjoyed this post. I love your books.

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    1. Thanks. What did you enjoy about the post? Any particular book you enjoyed?

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  12. Fun Tina! I took the quiz and it didn't give me a final personalized evaluation--was it supposed to? Maybe I confused the test with my schizophrenic vocabulary and pronunciations--having been raised by an Iowan & a Texan and having moved all over growing up--now living in "mixed bag" Arizona for a long time. :)

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    1. It was supposed to show you a map and the cities you sound like. You may have confused the quiz, lol.

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  13. Oh, I loved The Help...one of my favorites. Fun post, Tina! Although I don't drink it, no matter the soft drink, it's all Coke. I started Rocky Mountain Cowboy last night...yeehaw!

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    1. Another Coke is every carbonated beverage person. I love that, Jill. Hope you enjoy the book.

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  14. In answer to your question about beef on weck -- the only place to get one of those is at Anderson's! I'm also a Buffalo, New York native. And I love Ted's hot dogs and Watson's sponge candy. Living in West Virginia now, I have learned a new vocabulary too. We call shopping carts buggies here! But I miss all the good food from Western New York - truly a great place to call home.

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    1. Fist bump to you, Janet. Oh, I miss that GOOD food too!!! Great to have another WNY sistah here in Seekerville.

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  15. Tina, you always go above and beyond. I need to read this again to absorb all the great tips you've provided.

    I brought pecan coffee cake...pronounced PEE-CAN in some areas of the globe! May I cut you a slice?

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    1. I want some, Debby, but I call it pekahn! hahahaha

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  16. Such a fun post! I've noticed with the big demographic changes over the last two decades (so many northerners going south or southwest) that we've begun mingling these regionalisms and it's kind of funny how folks in one region react to the words from other regions!

    We make beef on weck (Kimmelweck buns, dusted with salt and dill) here all the time... and haddock fish fries and sponge candy and tons of pies.... we don't do egg bakes, we kind of cringe at the word "bars" for brownies and we're famous for really good cole slaw.

    :)

    It's so funny!

    Great tips on making sure you're/we're talking the talk of wherever we've set the tale... and it can be extra fun to set an out-of-area character in a new setting and grab a few grins.

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    1. Exactly. More fun than getting the regionalisms right is putting a fish out of water right in the middle.

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  17. hi Tina
    I'm firmly planted in the Midwest, my cities were Denver, Aurora (CO), and Wichita. Of course, being a Denver native, this shouldn't have surprised me. I've traveled enough to refer to some things interchangeably.(fireflies/lightning bugs, soda/pop, car-mel/care-ah-mel).Car-ah-mel when talking to my "foodie" friends.

    On a missions trip, my roommate was from Winnipeg, Manitoba. I'd entertain her at night with the different dialects of the US (using stereotype accents but hey, there's a reason for that stereotype...no?) She had the heavy, stereotypical Canadian accent, so much so, my brother thought she was prank calling when she phoned me one time.

    Because of living in Virginia though, I've a feeling Guppy is going to sound Southern or maybe Northern with Daddy being from the Philly area. He does break out with a drawl at times. He also has his mother's propensity for picking up local vernacular or accents from his friends that he likes. On his tee-ball team there was a boy from England and Guppy loved talking like his English buddy.

    This is a super cool post, Tina. I would LOVE either a book or ebook copy of Rocky Mountain Cowboy. I LOVE reading about my home State.

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    1. Thanks DebH. I personally really love the Canadian accent.

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  18. p.s.
    My mom grew up in North Dakota, so all my Aunts and Uncles gave me huge doses of "doncha-knows" growing up. I giggle a bit when I talk with them even now. Mom lost the accent as soon as she left the farm. She was also a school teacher, so that might have had an effect too.

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  19. Tina, that was an awesome post. Dialect always fascinates me. I grew up from 1-15 in California with a California surfer dad and a Minnesota dancer mom. I said Coke for every carbonated beverage and my aunt was called "ant" and then the next 23 years I spent in the East Coast mainly in RI with a few years in Maine. The drinking fountain became a bubblah, I loved cabinets (shakes), coke turned into soda, sauce turned into gravy (IF made with meats) and we picked up alcohol at the packy. Now my accent changes depending on what family I visit! Well...that and how bad traffic is. My husband likes to say "Your East Coast is showing!"

    Enjoyed the quiz which divided me up between Boston, Worcester and Springfield, MA.

    Oh I also learned when I did a thrifty tips show that some people call coupons CUPINS or Qpons.

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    1. CUE-PONS!!! Yes! Wow, you got it all there Kelly. I lived outside Boston and for a while really butchered Worcester. I learned a few things from you today!! THANKYOU!!!!

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  20. That was a fun test, NYT site froze at the end so I did the test twice. Interestingly, there were some different questions the second time around.

    I'm definitely southern. I had never even heard of some of the choices on the test. I haven't heard of a beef on weck, jibarito, or lagniappe either. (My computer is telling me the first two words are spelled wrong, lol)I have had beignets in "N'awlins". Love how the locals say it.

    For me it's a sub, lightning bug, tennis shoes and soda. I smiled when Jill called her coke a soft drink as soda and soft drinks are interchangeable for me. Yep, we're both southern.

    The oddest place I've found with a totally unexpected language/dialect is a small island in the Chesapeake Bay, Tangier Island. They have less than 1000 people living there and you have to ferry over about an hour. Because of there isolation they have maintained there Elizabethan accents. Went there years ago and thought I had fallen down the rabbit hole and landed in England.


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    1. Okay, Tracey, I'm with ya for everything but my beverage and shoes Pop. Gotta have my can of pop. And sneakers. I never played tennis.

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  21. Fun post! For this Ohio gal, it's a pop with your sub while wearing tennis shoes. :) If anyone anywhere says "O-H," you automatically yell back "I-O."

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    1. I love that!!!! O-H and I-O. Debby Giusti went to college in Ohio and some red colored university, Jessica.

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    2. Did I hear O-H I-O! I'm an OSU grad! Love Script Ohio and the Bucks!

      We "read" the table in Ohio when we cleared off the dishes. That could have been thanks to my Mammaw of German lineage. Or then it could have been pure Buckeye twang.

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  22. I loved this post Tina. I took the Dialect test and I was amazed that it said I was from Santa Ana, California. I was born and raised in Southern California, went to college in Santa Ana, CA and lived in Anaheim, CA (a connecting city to Santa Ana) until I moved to Indiana in 2001.

    I say Coke, Sub, Car-mull, lightning bugs, you guys and tennis shoes.

    Thank you for sharing. I needed a smile today.

    Many blessings to all of you guys!
    Cindy W.

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    1. I would also love to be in the drawing for the library (lie-brare-ee) tote. Thank you.

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    2. CINDY, I say those exact same things and I'm Midwestern through and through. Interesting! I didn't realize you were a CA girl.

      Janet

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    3. I didn't know you were a Californian either. California the originator of some of my favorite terms which have spread across the US. DUDE!! GNARLY!! SURF!

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    4. I'm a Native Californian. So is my husband. The Lord called him to Indiana in 1978 to start planting a church. He reconnected with me in January 2001 and we were married in April 2001. It is quite a sweet story....

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  23. This is a great post and I just printed it. My dialect is a combination of places. Seeing as I lived in five states growing up. Georgia, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and North Carolina. then I lived in Utah and Nevada for 22 years as adult. I seem to use certain things from each state I lived in so I am sort of a mixture. This is so fascinating.

    Today I am working on my application for Mount Herman scholarship. I gave my mom the first 5 pages (the ones I will be submitting) and she thinks I need to totally rewrite, I will take her suggestions but no time to rewrite it by the deadline. I suppose I should consider that she raked me over the coals for a story I wrote two years ago. Now she has found the story in her study and thinks it is really good. Mom is 87 and starting to forget some things. Besides I think they want an example of my writing style. We'll see what happens.

    Have a great day everyone.

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    1. Wilani! I hope you get to attend Mount Hermon! It's a lovely, fun conference in a gorgeous setting!

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  24. Oh, forgot to say, I'd love to be in the drawing for the grey tote. I have my Rocky Mountain Cowboy copy and have posted a review for its wonderful author :)

    Thanks Tina!

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  25. LOL What a fun post, Tina!!!!
    I once said something about my aunt, in English class...and pronounced it ANT.
    My English teacher corrected me it's AUnt.
    I am SURE I didnt' say it out loud 'cuz I don't do that, but I thought, "It's called an ACCENT, Jim."

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    1. LOLOLOLOLOL.

      I was researching this and one thing I saw was a YOU MIGHT BE FROM THE SOUTH IF YOU LEARNED TO DRIVE AT 12. And I thought, naw that's not true. You don't know the Connealy Ranch.

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    2. Nah... here in the South, we learn at 8. We get stopped by the Hwy Patrol at 12, but we're let go because we're driving a farm truck and been fixin' fence.

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  26. Also Caramel is one syllable. But I think I should get some credit for KNOWING it's two syllables.

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    1. Pray tell, how do you pronounce "caramel" as one syllable???

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    2. LOL. I was thinking the same thing Myra.

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    3. This was a test. I spent five minutes trying to say caramel with one syllable.

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    4. lol - Tina, I waste enough time as it is, now I'm trying to do it, too. You really shouldn't have put the thought in my head.

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  27. Here's a word that I mangle badly.

    Probably

    Many people pronounce it Probly. Some Prolly. I prounce it PRY.

    Are you going to be there?
    Pry not.

    And no one ever asks me, "What did you say?"

    So it must work, at least in context.

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    1. PRY? lolol I personally mangle sword. I pronounce the w.

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  28. This is such a fun post! I took the test, and surprise, surprise I'm an Alabama gal through and through! :D

    For the record, I pronounce the words sorry, car-a-mel, lawyur, liebrary, puhkahn, and waush. Also, in the summertime, I'll drink a coke and eat a sub before putting on my tennis shoes and going outside to catch lightning bugs. ;)

    Thanks for the post, Tina!!

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    1. Once a 'bama girl. Always a 'bama girl, Rhonda.

      Did you get registered for that class?

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    2. Yes, I got registered for that class.

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    3. Rhonda, you wear Converse, not tennies! :)

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  29. Uff da. I never use it, but I know it. It's a Minnesota thing though, Ole and Lena. (You know them right?)

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    1. What's an Ole and Lena. Ole like the Mexican word. OLE!!!

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    2. Ole and Lena got married. On their honeymoon trip they were nearing Minneapolis when Ole put his hand on Lena's knee.

      Giggling, Lena said, "Ole, you can go a little farder now if ya vant to"... so Ole drove to Duluth.

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    1. My daughter is 19 and pronounces it Me-lk with a long vowel sound and two syllables. We're still not sure where she got that from.

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    2. Mihlk! Melk? Hmm must look that up.

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  31. What a fun post! I took the quiz and discovered I need to move from Virginia to Alabama. Since I was born in PA and moved to Virginia when I was in third grade I was surprised my dialect was even further south instead of toward the north lol. When my son was small we would say forward wind the vcr to advance the tape. No one else in our family knew what we meant. Most people say fast forward. And I love the location over yonder and livin' in a holler (hollow). Comparing someone's height to knee high to a grasshopper. Great post!

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    1. You're a little southern peecan. Bless your heart, Sally!

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  32. Wow, the darkest area for me in that quiz is IN NEBRASKA

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  33. Well, seeing I'm from Canada, it does make sense that my darkest would be near the northern border, but Spokane? Huh?
    Great post, TINA. Fun?

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    1. Another tough city to remember how to pronounce. When I am there I don't say the name outloud, Marianne.

      To me you sound just like Alberta!

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    2. My accent (not so much the words, I guess) is often guessed as Irish. I think I might have to find out how I got that😄

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  34. Fascinating subject, Tina! The quiz was fun, too--interesting results. Mostly I'm very Southern, from Texas all the way up the East Coast, but with a few Northern and other regions thrown in for good measure.

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    1. Interesting. I don't see you as a southern girl, Myra. Your dialect is so pure. But once again, it's not how you talk but what you say.

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    2. I should say it's not JUST how you talk...

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    3. Well, I grew up in the Texas Rio Grande Valley, which is, um, southern . . . but a lot of Mexican influence plus all the snowbirds (northerners) who spend the winter in South Texas.

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  35. There's a word for the night before Halloween? I didn't know that.

    The test gave me some weird results. Even though I'm Texan, only two answers indicated that. All my other answers were in the 'least similar' group. I wonder how much reading affects this test ... being exposed to different expressions/words and incorporating them.

    Gotta confess, though, that when I'm reading fiction about Texas I am not overly compassionate to writers who don't get it right :-) If there are too many mistakes, I quit reading the book. But maybe that's true of people from other areas, too?

    Don't enter me in the drawing, Tina. I loved Becca & Joe's story -- uh -- Rocky Mountain Cowboy!

    Nancy C

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    1. I never knew there was a night before Halloween either, Nancy. I once got mad when a cover of a book set in Oklahoma had plates on the front of the car. Okay, now I know better than to blame the author for the artist's error.

      But you are right. DO YOUR DOGGONE RESEARCH, COWBOY!

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    2. Oh this is interesting! I took the test again with answers according to what I hear most often ... and it pegged the nearest city perfectly. Majorly cool.

      Nancy C

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  36. TINA, fun post! The quiz put me right where I live. Amazing. Though I did "fail" a few choices that were more southern than Midwestern. Generations back our family came from the South to southern Indiana so maybe that explains it.

    An editor was once thrown that my characters had dinner at noon. My farmer grandparents ate dinner at noon and supper at night, which was lighter or leftover fare. There was no such thing as lunch. :-)

    Janet

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    1. Yeah. It would throw me too. I never heard of supper until I moved out of state.

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    2. I use supper and dinner interchangeably. I grew up with the evening meal being supper, but when I got married, we call it dinner. To my parents, dinner is fancier than supper.

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  37. Hey, Tina!!!!!! I am definitely Southern. Born and raised in south Alabama about 50 miles from Harper Lee's hometown of Monroeville, I went to college at the University of Alabama, lived in Georgia a year or so, lived in Tennessee two or three years, and back in Alabama, northern regions. I tried to lose my Southern accent, but it's still there. Mainly I tried to speak "correctly," since I hate that some people equate Southern with stupid.
    Love you, Tina! Sorry I haven't been coming by Seekerville lately. Just so busy. You know how it is. But I love Seekerville just the same!!! Muah!

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    1. I know you are on back to back deadlines, Miss Alabama. No worries. Happy New Year, Ya'all!!!!

      Delete
  38. Fun post. I did the test and confused the poor maps. My closest match is Rockport -- but I can't tell what state that is. Next to Iowa (east) must look it up. But it was funny taking the test because I've read so much that I had to think about some words and phrases -- whether it's what we use here or what I've read enough times to make it seem normal. LOL

    The funniest word/meaning difference that I've come across is piddle or piddling. Apparently in some southern states that means wasting time, doing nothing. But up here it means..well, when you take your dog out on a cold,ssnowy night and tell him to hurry up and piddle so you can go inside.

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    1. Kav, I got Rockport too and Ohio. I think Rockport is in Illinois.

      Piddle, yes. lolololol.

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    2. Oh, Rockport is in Indiana. So I am Illinois, Ohio, Indiana. INDIANA??????

      Delete
  39. It took a long time for the results to show but they finally did. Des Moines was the result that was closest but it also said Minneapolis/St. Paul and Grand Rapids. Didn't think I talked like a northerner. Very interesting, though. Worth thinking about when writing about characters.

    Please enter me in the drawing for either prize.

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    1. You've got a bit of a Northern Cities drawl there, Sandy Smith!

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  40. I've lived in Texas my whole life.
    Growing up my parents would say dinner for the noonday meal. I say lunch.
    It teeny shoe, car-mel, puhkahn, Coke, lightning bug, and loyer.

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    1. We also say fixin' to and for sure.
      We spell y'all, "ya'll".
      Specific is "pacific". (Or maybe that one is just me.)

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    2. "Specific is "pacific". (Or maybe that one is just me.)"

      Okay I read that one aloud six times too. HA!!!!

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    3. Ha. Ha. Basically, leave off the s.

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    4. Oh, now I get it.

      Like spaghetti with no s. Which ends up pissghetti. lolololol

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  41. Well Tina, the quiz pretty much nailed where I'm from. Guess this Okie isn't fooling anyone. It was fun though.

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    1. Oh and I call them tennie boppers.

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    2. (Okay, I defied my roots and said tennies- as in TEN-EES when I lived in Tulsa.) SHHHH, Do not tell on me Terri. And Tulsa is where people said to shut off the light instead of turn off. And a lot of "come with." I'm going to the store. Wanna come with?

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  42. Took the quiz. Apparently I don't speak like anyone else anywhere. LOL

    My husband is a native New Englander. They drop vowels like nobody's business. Monday is Mundy, Tuesdy, Sundy, etc.

    We've had more laughs at me trying to pronounce Massachusetts names as we drive through. I still haven't lived down Billerica.

    Anyone want to guess that one?


    To answer the questions -

    1. Soda, Pop, Coke? SODA
    2. Sub, Hoagie, Grinder? SUB
    3. Lightning Bug, Firefly? EITHER
    4. Sneaker, Tennis Shoe? EITHER but usually sneaker. Tennis shoe is just if you're playing tennis.

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    1. Forgot this group -


      Sorry- sorree or sorry depending upon how sorry I am. ;)

      Caramel- car-a-mel

      Lawyer- loy er

      Library- liebrary

      Pecan- peecan, puhkahn (Neither - peh kahn)

      Wash-waush, warsh (Neither - wash with an a like in the o in hot)

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    2. Sorry- sorree or sorry depending upon how sorry I am. ;)

      LOLOLOL, Cate. I lived near Leominster and that name was a fun one to learn. Lemonster. Who knew? Well maybe Ben Affleck and Matt Damon do.

      Delete
  43. That was a fun and interesting post. The test placed me in Mesa, Arizona. I've never lived there, although many people from Southern California, where I grew up, migrated there. But I live dead center of the country now in Nebraska, so go figure.

    So, I finished reading Rocky Mountain Cowboy and wrote a review. But Amazon won't allow me to post it until the first. Is there a trick to posting them before Amazon's release date? I noticed there are already two other reviews posted.

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    1. Mesa!!! Near me!! What fun, Renee.

      You are on the Kindle version trying to leave a review. The version releases Jan1. Make sure to click on the print version. And thank you, mucho!

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  44. TINA, thank you for this fun post! I do enjoy sweet tea when I eat out.

    Please enter me in the drawing for an Out of Print Tote.

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    1. You are entered, Caryl. I think you won Rocky Mountain Cowboy last weekend. Did you claim it? Okay, confession. Not going to the post office until after deadline next week.

      Delete
  45. I love that library due card bag! The quiz matched me with my birth town -- Grand Rapids, Michigan -- and I live within an hour of there currently. Michigan has some interesting pronounced cities, too, but my pastor's brother is a pastor in Puyallup, WA :)

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    1. Can you pronounce Puyallup, Becky? I went there for the fair a few years ago and boy for some reason that was a tongue twister. I still have to burn brain cells to get it right.

      Delete
  46. Holy cow that was accurate!!! The cities that speak most like me are Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky. I grew up in Georgetown just 20 minutes from Lexington. I thought for sure I would throw it off with the fact my dad is from Upstate New York, my mom is from backwoods Idaho, and the fact I took after my Appalachian preschool teacher and STILL have an accent that I can't shake, especially when I'm tired! I will definitely bookmark this! Thanks for the share, Tina!

    I have always struggled with dialects in my writing. How does one research a dialect that you have minimal experience with? Often the way I speak is different than how I write. I am so glad for the resources. Does anyone know of other good resources?

    Do you have any words that are local?

    We always called the rain falling while it was sunny - "The devil's getting married." And I say easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.

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  47. Test of Southernness: How do you pronounce Natchitoches?

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    1. I'm game to try this, Myra.

      When I came across it in a novel, I always pronounced it Natch (like match) - i - toe - cheese

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    2. Um . . . no. It's . . .

      NAH-ka-dish

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    3. SERIOUSLY????

      That's as bad as Massachusetts.

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    4. Didn't know there was a Natchitoches, LA. Natchitoches, TX is pronounced more like Cate's version. So, Cate, you aren't that far off!

      DH and I started saying Natchitoches and I got it right the first time, then after that, started butchering it like crazy!

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  48. First to Crystal: We always called the rain falling while it was sunny - "The devil's getting married." And I say easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.

    Love that. We say rainshower and easy peasy.

    As for research. Find someone from the place. Easiest way. Put a call out on FB.

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    1. I learned "easy-peasy" while living in Oklahoma. :)

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  49. Natchitoches?

    Is this a food? Chips with cheese melted on top?

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    1. LOL!!! It's a city in Louisiana!

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    2. It's lovely. A river runs through it. What's the food that started there. Moon Pies? I can't remember.

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  50. Hi Tina:

    That test said my three most likely cities were: Yonkers, Jersey City, and Newark. That's not much of a spread! I grew up in Long Island and New Jersey both not far from Newark. Not bad since I have not been back there since 1961!

    This word use thing is a very powerful concept for writing. I believe you can unpack the concept for dozens of useful outcomes.

    It's not just different words being used in different locations. People might use the same word but pronounce it differently. They might only use that word or pronounce it the old way when under undue stress. The same word could be used in two locations but in one it has a different color (it could impart sarcasm, skepticism, or derision not imparted in the other location.) The same word might be used in different locations but in one of them the higher class or better educated would use a different word.

    A word can also perform several objectives at the same time: it could reveal some backstory, show a prejudice, set up an anticipatory event, act as a clue or red herring, create doubts, provide conflict or misunderstanding (tabling an offer in England means considering the offer while in the U.S. it means killing the offer. This difference once caused a serious problem between Churchill and Roosevelt during WWII).

    I think that any time you know of a difference then that difference should be unpacked for uncovering many additional uses that that difference can be put to. It could be like having three or more layers working for the story all in the use of a single word!

    True story:

    My first day in California, after the family moved from New Jersey, I went into a convenience store and asked where the sodas were. The clerk said, "Do you have a stomach ache?"
    "No, I just want a Coke."
    "Oh, it's a pop you want."
    "No, 'pop' is a grandfather on the mother's side while papa is on the father's side."
    "Well not in California."
    I went and got the Coke and came back to pay for it.
    "Would you like a sack for that?"
    "Why would I want a sack to put a Coke in?"
    The clerk held up a paper bag.
    "That's a paper bag. A sack is made of burlap and much bigger and you put potatoes in it."
    "You're not staying here long, are you?"

    That was in 1961 and I still remember it like it happened yesterday...in fact, I remember it better than what happened yesterday! : )

    Vince

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  51. LOLOLOL, Vince, that story cracked me up. Love it. You're not too literal either, are you?

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    1. Hi Tina:

      You wrote:


      "You're not too literal either, are you?"



      And I've been thinking about what this might mean all night and this morning but I give up!!!

      It seems that a statement in the form of 'not too x' can sometimes mean the opposite of itself. (Auto-antonym)

      For example:

      "He's not too smart..." can mean he is not very intelligent or even he's a dummy.

      However,

      "He's not too smart..." can also mean that he's smart, that is intelligent, but he's not too smart in the way that some smart people are which make them annoying and often gets them in trouble for seeming arrogant.

      I guess not being too literal may mean I was not being literal at all. Are there degrees of literal? As if one is either being literal or not being literal -- like pregnancy? I'm not sure there are degrees of being pregnant or of being literal.

      Did you mean perhaps that everything I wrote was exactly as it happened or that it seemed embellished in a figurative way? Like James Patterson said the other day: "I don't write realism" but then goes on to say how important it is to be creditable. That is, the make the non-realism seem real?

      I know this may not be important but as a great philosopher once said, "I'm not sure importance is important, truth is."

      Can you see why I love 'crystal clear' writers? They don't set me off on metaphysical analytical philosophical investigations.

      Delete
  52. Oh man, I just love talking about how we all say stuff differently! I'm from Michigan and am told we have a dialect all our own! When we traveled to TN a few years ago you should have heard a waiter teasing us about our accent. We all had a good laugh when we kept asking HIM to talk so we could hear his. ;) My mom was born in Iowa but moved when she was only 6. On the phone at her job once (about 40 years later) she said the man asked if she was born in Iowa!! He said he could tell by her accent! Who knew?! We still talk about that time and have no clue what her "accent" is and how an Iowa accent is supposed to sound.
    As for the questions, we say firefly AND lightning bug here, depending on mood.

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  53. Susan P! Love that story. I can freely admit to being able to hear a Buffalo nasal twang in a crowd and it makes me smile as I miss home. No doubt no one else would hear what I hear.

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  54. Ok, so the quiz suggested my actual town! That is crazy. LOL

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  55. This was so much fun and the map coordinated with my "talk". My in-laws are from Iowa and whenever we have dinner/supper which is the same thing to me but means lunch/dinner to them, we have to elaborate which meal we're talking about everytime :)

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    1. The only character I know who actually says supper is Snoopy! LOL.

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    2. Sharee -- I grew up in Iowa and I STILL say supper for the evening meal! Dinner was noontime. :)

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    3. Supper is the evening meal around the kitchen table with everyday dishes. Dinner is noon or evening meal with china and silver--LOL!

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    4. Ok help me, how does all that work with the lunch menu at a restaurant? Giggle

      Delete
  56. I can remember sitting in a truck stop in Arizona and the waitress had a "southern" accent. I told the guy I was with that I was sure she was from the Dallas area. He didn't believe me. So we asked her, and sure enough, she was. But I grew up with family from the area and I knew that accent!!

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    1. Funny how the ear can pick up those hometown sounds.

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    2. So true--the Dallas accent is unmistakable! I remember when our family first moved to the Dallas area. Even though we're all (mostly) native Texans, it was like landing on another planet!

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    3. I used to be able to tell which part of Tennessee someone was from -- east or west. And could distinguish a St. Louis native as well.

      Delete
  57. I like the new photo, Tina! I got New England, no surprise there. I didn't know you've won over TWENTY RWA contests. That's awesome, Tina. That tote bag is seriously cute and I'd like to be entered, please.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Yup!Let's see, The Maggies twice, Heart of the Rockies twice, Fire and Ice, FHL, Laurie, Beacon, First Impressions, Put Your Heart in a Book, Winter Rose, Desert Dream, Jasmine, NEORWA, Heart of Dixie, Linda Howard, Ticket to Write, Stepping Stone, Barclay, Lone Star, Golden Acorn..and so on..I ate a lot of peanut butter and jelly in those days. I also entered and did not win twice that many.I'm so old some of those contests don't even EXIST anymore.

    This is how the Seekers met. Competing on the contest road. I never met a contest I didn't want to enter. Hey and Great Expectations was extended to January 4.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. It's actually sort of pathetic. LOL.

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    2. I'm impressed you kept track. That's one difference in our personalities. My certificates are in a file cabinet somewhere, but I only remember a few. Southern Heat, Duel on the Delta, Fool for Love. I'm pretty sure most of mine don't exist any more. LOLOL But then I remember being on the AOL contest boards with you.

      Delete
    3. I have a spreadsheet. I can't remember squat. But the puter recalls all.

      Delete
  59. Great post, Tina. I can officially say, I'm from the South and proud of it.

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    1. He he he! Thanks for stopping by Mary Alford!!! Happy New Year!!!

      Delete
  60. My Texas way of talking seems to be a mixed-up mish-mash: lightning bugs, cokes, car-mel, puhkahn and subs. When I was a kid, we didn't wear sneakers, we wore tennie shoes, I was a teenager before I realized that they were actually tennis shoes (no joke). And that when someone asked how our "Mom and Nem" were doing they were saying "and 'em (them)" meaning our family in general. I was shocked to learn we didn't actually a relative named "Nem". I do not drink sweet tea, only unsweet. Thanks for such a fun post, TINA! And congratulations on all those contest wins!!

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    1. Mom and Nem. This would be perfect for a story!!Laura!!!!

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  61. Man, I wish I had time to read ALL these comments. I might have to come back and spend some time.

    But... I do want to meet the person who manages to pronounce caramel in ONE syllable. Now that would be a feat for sure!

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  62. Too funny! I'm most like Kansas and Nebraska, two states I've never lived in. I grew up in Springfield, MO, and Dallas, TX, and lived in California for years...all because I call a carbonated beverage "pop." lol

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    Replies
    1. LOL, Barb. I am states I've never lived in as well. We are becoming homogenized.

      Delete
  63. What a fun post, Tina! I grew up in California but was born in and spent summers in Oklahoma, so I'm used to switching up the lingo depending on where I am (or "where I'm at" if I'm talking to my Granny :-). It's soda in Cali and pop in Oklahoma. And since I've never seen lightning bugs out west, they're still lightning bugs. My sister moved to Boston a little over ten years ago, and it's been fun hearing her dialect and dialogue shift as time passes. Great post!

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    1. Tanara, I could listen to Boston accents til the cows come home.

      Delete
  64. I don't know about the rest of you guys, but I am definitely a Yankee (who calls a grocery cart a buggy anyway- I have never heard of it called that- and what else would you call a car accident other than a car accident?). Though, I have never called my pizza a pie, and I probably never will.

    I took the test, but it placed me in the west of the USA (where I have never been) saying that I might be from California or Washington, or possibly (more east) Minnesota which is the closest to where I live, but still pretty far away. Actually they said that it was not as likely that I am from Ohio which is where I live!

    Thanks for this fun, interesting post. Also I would like to be entered for your book Rocky Mountain Cowboy

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    Replies
    1. Southerners call a car accident -a wreck.

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    2. A wreck, of course! Thank you. I could not for the life of me remember any other ways people could refer to a car accident (even if I call them a car wreck myself sometimes). My brain was tired last night.

      Delete
  65. TINA!!! I always know your posts right off the bat, my friend, because they're always fun, unique, and a little bit quirky, which I LOVE!!

    OH. MY. GOODNESS!! I took the test and it nailed my butt to the wall as a Missourian!!! Wow, that's pretty darn good.

    I generally write historicals so in a small way, that's a little bit like your post above in that you have to know the dialect/vocabulary of the day or you're dead in the water.

    I cannot tell you HOW many times I have the following phrase in a historical or Western:
    He couldn't wrap his brain around it.

    SERIOUSLY???

    Anyway, GREAT post, Teenster, and WAY more fun than a post should be!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. Thank you, Julies. So you're one of those MoZark folks?

      Delete
  66. Tina, Thanks for the fun post. Not surprisingly, it pegged me as being from the South where Coke is Coke, and Sprite is Coke, and Fanta Orange is Coke. I hope my characters sound Southern as most of them are from the South. I already won your book, and I'm excited about reading Joe's story and right now, I'm enjoying The Christmas Angel on my Kindle.

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  67. LOLOL. Want a coke, Tanya???? (Is Dr. Pepper Coke too?????? Surely not!)

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  68. Tina, thank you for this fun post. I have lived all of my life in rural Kentucky and my answers reflect my cities as Winston Salem and Greensboro. Pretty much on the mark. All of my young life the noon meal was known as dinner and our evening meal was supper. When I began working with a lady who grew up in Louisville I converted to saying lunch but I never did have dinner for my evening meal. Now that I am retired I have reverted back to dinner/supper 😀
    Thanks again and Happy New Year!
    Connie
    cps1950(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    Replies
    1. In truth, the only time I have said supper is when I lived in Germany. Supper was the biggest meal of the day and dinner was a small meal. Which really is how it should be.

      Delete
  69. This was fascinating! The quiz was super fun, and pegged me for three California cities, one was Oceanside which is in my county of San Diego! Pretty accurate.
    I love reading books that include regional dialect in a subtle way, as long as it's not distracting but rather enhances the flavor of the setting :)
    I'd love to be entered in the reader giveaway!

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    1. Exactly, Heidi. A little does go a long way in a book.

      Delete
  70. I love this post! Quizzes, color-coded maps, and regional quirks! #bestillmynerdgirlheart Hugs, Tina! I have to go take all these fun quizzes now...

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    Replies
    1. When you have a minute, stop by and let us know the results, Beth Erin!

      Delete
  71. This was such a fun post. I know of a couple words that are different in different parts of the country. Bologna in Pennsylvania is pronounced baloney, in MN it is pronounced baloena. Color in PA is kelor vs kalor. In MN when talking about people it is yous guys. I grew in PA asking for a tissue, in MN nobody knew what I was talking about because it was kleenex. Now I'm in MO and still learning the right way to say things.

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    1. OH MY GOSH. I forgot about baloney sandwiches. Good one!!!!

      Delete
  72. Tina, this was an interesting post. I must say thought I've lived in the Midwest most of my life. And your examples for Midwest dialect have never crossed my lips or been heard by my ears.I live in Aurora, IL and have for the past forty plus years. I've heard go with for go with me. We have a large ethnic population from all over the world so accents abound. We are close enough the Chicago to hear it referred to as "She cog go" or "Che ca go." Many southerners have trans planted here so sweet tea is on our fast food menu offerings. It is soda here, unless your from southern Illinois then it's pop. My friend's mother offered tonic. She was from Boston. I grew up as a military brat so we lived in different regions. Depending on the decade the speech patterns will vary. I call the long comfortable chair in my living room a couch. I've heard it called a sofa, divan and a chesterfield. We say you guys here but I often revert to my southern Illinois roots and say y'all. Illinois has lots of dialects. The further north toward Wisconsin picks up the almost Canadian accent. West toward Iowa or east toward Indiana the accents are the same. Around Chicago has it's unique sound. Central Illinois is a mixture and the southern tip sounds more country as it borders Kentucky. Fun post.

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  73. I just took the quiz. Hilarious. I got Denver Colorado, Aurora Colorado and Wichita Kansas. I was born in Wichita but moved while I was a baby.

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  74. Tina, sorry I missed this yesterday. What fun. And what a hoot. You're so right that we need to use those dialects and pay attention to them.

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  75. What a funny post! I also say dinner and supper (some folks say lunch and dinner). But I am from South Mississippi! Haha. Love the book bag.

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    1. You are in, Patsy! Thanks for stopping by!

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  76. Awesome blog! I'm from Arkansas where all carbonated beverages are cokes, grocery carts are buggies, we're always "fixin" to do something and piddling does NOT mean what it sounds like! Lol

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    1. Thanks, Tara. In my experience, Arkansas terms are very similar to Tulsa, OK terms.

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  77. How fun! We sure do have different words. My cities: Reno, Wichita, and LOL (I live 30 minutes from) Lincoln, NE. & Supper is our evening meal :)

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  78. Tina, I enjoyed your post! One of the many reasons I love reading books is to get a "regional" idea of words and sayings of people! It fascinates me! I've traveled around the country and love hearing what different states and regions use for different words! I'm from the West Coast so I enjoy hearing what other parts of the country use to describe even common things we use - like tennis shoes (for me)!!!

    Please add me to your drawing! I love your series!

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    1. I feel the same way, Valri. I think it's totally cool.

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  79. What a fun post, Tina!! I'm so sorry I missed it yesterday. I was traveling.

    I took the quiz and came out with 3 possible locations: Chattanooga, TN, Birmingham and Huntsville, AL. I thought that was really interesting! Because they're pretty much in between where I was born and raised (Kentucky) and where I've lived as an adult (Georgia). :) So maybe I've become a mix of somewhere in between.

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  80. So, I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio - and moved to SE Alabama 5 months ago -- the culture shock was intense.
    I had never heard some of the stuff I heard now.

    Now the following has been incorporated into our vocab:

    Y'all.
    Soda
    mashing (in replace of pushing)
    Fixing to

    those are just some of the ones.

    My 5 year old and 3 year old will prob develop accents since their teachers have them.

    OH, and Alabama football is like an epidemic (and I thought Cleveland Sports fans were passionate)

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

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    1. LOL Connie Tillman. I hear you re the sports. College sports too is like a religion in the south.

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  81. I love this post. And, it's really ironic timing, too. Wednesday night I met up with some friends for supper (as in the evening meal, lol!), and we were discussing this very topic!

    The quiz listed three cities I've never even visited. I have lived in the vicinity of one of them, but it's not where I'm from. My friend is actually from one of the areas, and she uses the same terms (though we're from totally different parts of the country).

    If it's not too late, please enter me in the drawing for the really cool bag. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete