StarTropics was so fucked up, but totally cool...

StarTropics was so fucked up, but totally cool…

Ah, welcome to The Nest on this fine Sunday morning!  Thirsty?  Here, let me pour you a nice, refreshing carbonated beverage….



Now, while you sip your cola, let me tell you about a neat phenomenon I wasn’t really aware of until I entered the internet age a little over a decade ago.  You see, it appears that even though in the United States we all speak the same language (well, most of us anyway), we don’t speak it the same way.  Of course, each region has its own accent… the way people from that area pronounce certain sounds.  Even here in St. Louis, there’s a local tendency to turn the “or” sound into an “ar” sound (example: “I’m stuck in traffic on Highway Farty”), though that has begun to die out over the last generation or two.

Could you pass the arnge juice?

Could you pass the arnge juice?

But besides the fact that we say words differently, there is also a regional tendency to use different words to describe the same thing.  One of the best and probably most infamous example involves that drink I just poured for you.  What do you call it?

cats in candy

Liquid Candeeeeee!!!!

Well, that again depends on what part of the country you are from.  There seem to be three different common generic terms for a carbonated soft drink in this country…. soda, pop, and coke.  Below is a fascinating map a friend from my message board put up about 10 years ago illustrating the results of a survey on which word is most popular in each particular county in the US:

No, not an election map...

No, not an election map…

You will notice right away that the word “pop” predominates throughout the Northwest and Midwest parts of the country, while “coke” rules in the South, and “soda” is the word along the upper East coast and the Southwest.  But there are a few anomalies to the pattern that can be found, and probably the biggest is centered right over where I live….

St. Louis is an island of “soda” in “pop” territory.

Pop is not amused...

Pop is not amused…

This has led to a couple of interesting bad assumptions on the part of people who have judged me by the words I say on the internet.  One of the people on my message board once jumped on the fact that I always said “soda” and mentioned that us “east coast types” need to get with the program and start calling it pop.

Who are you calling an "east coast type"?

Who are you calling an “east coast type”?

For whatever reason, St. Louis put a cork in pop and decided to refer to their drinks as soda…. actually, a lot of older native St. Louisans call it “sodee” (rhyming with Cody).  There is a guy I work with who grew up here, but spent most of his adult life in Northern Indiana and around Chicago before moving back to town, and he always calls soda “pop”… and that word is like nails on the chalkboard to me for some reason.  It just sounds so out of place and wrong to call it pop….

You’re back in St. Louis, dude, call it what it is…. SODA!!!!

I need to put a fresh box of baking pop in the icebox...

I need to put a fresh box of baking pop in the icebox…

Wait a minute… what did I just say?  Icebox?  What decade am I living in, the 1920’s?

When you hear the word “icebox” these days, you probably think of something that had to be filled by these men…

Curly, you blockhead!

Curly, you blockhead!

But that’s just another regionalism of my area.  It doesn’t matter how modern it may look, everyone here will refer to your refrigerator as an icebox…

There's some pop in the crisper... help yourself.

There’s some pop in the crisper… help yourself.

I had no fricking clue until the folks of the internet again started looking at me funny that most people outside of St. Louis didn’t call their fridges “iceboxes”.  It still doesn’t seem right to me to call it a fridge… refrigerator’s just some fancy name made up by Sears or Maytag, right?

Well, I have nothing better to do than come up with 8-bit words for the appliances.

Well, I have nothing better to do than come up with 8-bit words for the appliances.

This regionalism is getting awfully confusing and frustrating.  Oh, you’ve finished your soda?  How would you like to top it off with a nice hot fudge sunduh?

What do you mean you have no idea what that is?  A sunduh!!!  Everyone’s had a sunduh before, right?

I taste even better when I'm pronounced correctly.

I taste even better when I’m pronounced correctly.

Sigh… it turns out most people pronounce the ice cream treat you see above the same as the current day of the week.  But around here, a lot of people turn the “dae” into a “duh”, and this is one local variation even I’ve begun to evolve out of since it’s begun to fall out of favor here… and I’m not very proud of it.  I still want to go to Dairy Queen and order one of their grossly overpriced sunduhs.  I hear they even have rainbows on fire…

Each area of the country has its own regional vocabulary, and sadly these local curiosities are becoming a victim of the booming internet and particularly social media… slowly forging one homogenized language that will be spoken by everyone from sea to shining sea.  But it may take some time to break down the soda/pop/coke walls that divide us… and that’s a good thing, because we should maintain some semblance of representing where we come from.

alien possum

Take me to your carbonic acid!

So, what terms are specific to your area of the country that aren’t in common usage elsewhere?  Feel free to educate me in the comments section!

fun in the freezer aisle

It’s a cart, not a buggy dammit!


About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
This entry was posted in Squirrel Droppings and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to Radicola!

  1. Juliette says:

    My mother is from the Deep South. I am frequently called upon to translate.
    I’m from the land of soda…but right outside of my window are oak trees filled with squirrels.

  2. acuriousgal says:

    It’s pop….what’s wrong with pop? It’s only 3 letters and one syllable, meaning less time to get what you order. My sister lives in KC and when I was in college, I worked as a snack girl at their local country club. All those KC kids would make me say pop over and over, they thought it was soooo funny…..you know, the word and my Minnesota accent(which is not an accent it is how everyone sounds like on TV)

    • LOL, I always heard everyone on TV speaks with an Ohio accent! Definitely Midwestern, though….

      I don’t know why “pop” seems to give my brain fits,… it’s a subconscious thing, for sure. I guess because I am so obsessed with soda (Which is always Pepsi around these parts), and to hear it called by another name triggers some inner alert system. Now I never have that reaction when someone says “soda pop”….

  3. Interesting. I understand where soda and coke names originated from. But why “pop”? Over this part of the world we sometimes use “fizzy drinks”.

    • Could you pour me another fizzy, please? I kinda like that…

      I’m not sure where the phrase “soda pop” came from, but if it preceded the use of just plain “pop”, I’m guessing that might be the genesis…

  4. Twindaddy says:

    As long as I know what you’re talking about, I don’t normally care what you call it.

  5. Blue62 says:

    Not only a term, but the item itself….a bag of milk. Apparently exclusive to Ontario out of the entire world.
    Not to mention the common names for many trees. a ‘box elder’ or ‘boxelder maple’ to some people is a ‘Manitoba maple’ to me. Still the same weed tree Acer negundo (aka Acer no-good)

  6. merbear74 says:

    Um, ES? It’s pop. It has always been pop, and always will be pop.

    I’m gonna grab a pop from the fridge, want one? 🙂

  7. draliman says:

    It took me years to work out that “soda” was a generic name for a fizzy drink. The only fizzy drink I’d heard of with “soda” in the title was “cream soda” and that’s a mixer, usually. It doesn’t taste great on its own. I thought Americans were nuts, drinking it all the time!
    Here’s a good regional word for you – “emmet”. It refers to tourists and is commonly thought to derive from the Cornish language word for “ant”. It’s only used in this context in Cornwall!

  8. Lynda says:

    I’m a soda girl stuck in the land of coke. But there are a couple of things I have encountered over the years that took me aback… sum’ut.

    In the Navy years ago one of the girls came bounding into the lobby of the woman’s barracks and going on about going to the ‘potty’. (Personally, I thought she was nuts announcing to one and all that she had just been to the head. (Head = Navy speak for bathroom)) She asked me if I was going to the potty too, and I replied: What’r you talking about?
    “The potty, the potty tonight, lots of us are going, aren’t you?” She was from Boston and was referring to a party that night. Of course.

    I having been stationed in Pensacola, FL had picked up the expression “carried me”, as in he or she carried me to the store. This is not a literal term, but simply means that someone “gave you a ride”. First time I let slip with that one back home in California I became a laughing stock of my friends. “CARRIED YOU? Like they just picked you up and carried you all the way to the store, huh? YUK-YUK-YUK!”

    Yup, aren’t colloquialisms fun? :mrgreen:

    • Colloquialisms! There’s the word I was looking for!

      Of course, the military is full of these terms! We have a guy at work who loves to throw out terms for things he learned during his Army days. The term “carried me” doesn’t seem to throw up the same stop signs in my brain as “pop” does, but I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever heard anyone actually use it in the context of giving someone a ride before…

      • Lynda says:

        Carry me is a deep south term, and probably on old one at that. The lady I learned it from was in her late 70s or early 80s when I picked it up from her. Although I seem to remember others using it too. (It was about 1973 or ’74) I was just introduced to it when I was stationed there in Pensacola. Sorry to confuse you! 😉

      • Oh, I wasn’t confused…. I just squished two trains of thought into the same paragraph. I knew that wasn’t a military term…. it wasn’t obscure enough! 😉

  9. In New Jersey everybody refers to the beach as “the shore.”

  10. youngatfifty says:

    Interesting coke/soda/pop map !
    guess what soda is in my part of the world …..not coke, not pop, not any fizzy drink !
    just plain sparkling water in a bottle is soda !:) I am not joking.

  11. Teepee12 says:

    I drink soda. But then again, I’m from New York.

  12. gentlestitches says:

    the aussie colloquialisms would make you laugh! We have a reputation for being tough and stoic yet our slang sounds like a little kid made it up. Aussie rules Football “footy”. Soft drink, well “soft drink” “lolly water” or “fizzy drink”. “lollies” for candy. “Cuppa” for cup of tea.”Bikie” chap who identifies with a motor cycle gang. “freshie” fresh water crocodile and my favorite “moggie” which is a pussy cat of mixed breed. Speech patterns also vary according to proximity to large city, educational opportunity and age group. 🙂

    • You mean you don’t all sound like Steve irwin!?!?!? 😉

      I think Merbear and Twindaddy would love your Aussie colloquialisms, because they could turn every one of them into a -eh word! (footeh, lolleh, moggeh!)

  13. djmatticus says:

    My family always called it coke… but, we picked that up from our grandparents generation that moved to the west coast from the midwest, which means we are all kinds of mixed up, since we should be saying pop then.
    Or, it could be that we only ever drink Coca-Cola, and so when we say coke, we mean Coke. 😛

    • I run into that problem a lot when I go to the ballgame for some reason… the stands only sell Coke products, so I ask for a Coke. Sure, what kind? Ummm.. a Coke coke? Sheesh, this is soda country not coke territory!

  14. reocochran says:

    My siblings and I call the drink above, “pop.” But my Dad would sometimes ask, “Do you want a carbonated beverage?” Where did he come from? Cincy! But I think he was just being funny. Most of the time he would say to the server at restaurants, “cola.” My Mom (from New England and her parents were from Germany and Sweden) called that drink a “soda” She would also say “cah” for “car.” All h’s are like the Kennedy’s said them. And an actual “soda” was sometimes with ice cream and called a “frappe” but they did not pronounce the last “e,” it came out rhyming with flap. Oh, and my Dad’s cousins and family from Cincy. called the smallest water tributary, a “crik” and my brothers, Mom and I called it a “creek.” My ex-boyfriend called his “glove box” what we call the “glove compartment.” My Dad called his shaving kit a “dop kit.” My Mom called the word “pecan” like “pee-can” and my Dad called it “puh-cahn.” So, there are a few weird language idiosyncracies!

    • Thank you for providing many more good examples of this! I’m a creek, glove box, puhcahn guy, and I had never heard of dop kit until it came up in a trivia question on a game show a few years ago….

      • reocochran says:

        Are you also an aunt person who says, ahhnt or ant? If that makes sense… when my Mom called the pie “pee-can” she would also say “ant” for my aunt. But Dad (we teased him about this) would say “ahhnt” and we accused him of putting on airs! Sending you smiles this evening!

      • Just plain “Ant” for me. Ahhnt sounds more European, like vahhhse for vase…

  15. C.K. Hope says:

    Soda. New York of course! My Grandfather called it pop, though my Grt. Grandparents called it Soda pop (pronounced Sodday Pop – god knows why they were all born and raised in NY). I call it Fizzy Drinks just to be annoying when people call it Pop or all soda “Coke”, which seems to be prevalent in upstate NY. As is calling a roof a ruff and a creek a crick. And I still say dwag and twalk like a good NYer and upstate peeps still laugh at me.

    My Grandmother and Father are more from the Brooklyn area and they say Metal and Robot all sorts of weird. Met -Hal and Rowbut, those are the most annoying ones …

    • Thanks for some enlightenment on the state of New York linguistics!

      Ha, I remember “rowbut” from some old science fiction shows! I thought they were just saying it that way to be funny….

  16. Mental Mama says:

    I know I’m getting into this conversation incredibly late, but cut a girl some slack. In Omaha it’s almost always called “pop” though we don’t tend to cause a fuss if someone refers to it as soda. The only other thing I can think of that might be odd here is that we call loose meat sandwiches that are drowned in a BBQ-esqe sauce Sloppy Joes – the kind of thing lazy housewives use Manwich to make. Not sure what those are elsewhere, other than hopefully yummy.

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