Rachel’s Report: How do y’all say…

By Rachel Pasker – Chief Copy Editor

The quizzes have been shared so many times on Facebook that everyone knows what I’m talking about when I say I should be from a different part of the country. The Buzzfeed and New York Times quizzes ask a series of questions about how you refer to a certain object or situation, and the questions are based off of the Harvard Dialect Survey put together by a group of linguists. For example, whether you say pop or soda determines if you are from the Midwest or New England. The New York Times quiz I took called “How Ya’ll, Youse and You Guys Talk,” by the way, was almost spot on when it said I was from somewhere between Des Moines, Rockford and Madison.

Why are we so fascinated with these quizzes, though? They are simply stereotypes of where we live. Not everyone who lives in a small farm town loves country music and wears cowboy boots on a daily basis, just as not all kids from the city listen to rap music and don’t like to get their hands dirty.

Maybe you like to listen to other people talk because they don’t say anything the same as you do, and half of the words they use don’t make any sense to you. If the driver of the car you’re in complains about the rubberneckers that are slowing traffic down, you might be confused until you realize they are talking about the people gawking at the accident on the side of the road. For them, though, it makes perfect sense because that is the norm. Talking a certain way may tell people exactly where you’re from, but it may be in no way an accurate description of who you are. Some words you may use or pronounce interchangeably or differently depending on where you are or who you’re with.

As much fun as these quizzes are, they are not 100 percent accurate, so don’t be disappointed when you are not placed correctly or fit into your area exactly. For some of the questions, you may find yourself saying more than one of the answer options on a regular basis but are forced to choose only one. You might pronounce caramel differently than how you read it, but in these quizzes you must pick just one thus possibly changing where it thinks you are from.

These certain words could help us to easily identify where a person is from, or at least has lived. Whether this knowledge will help you through your college career and beyond is to be determined, but in the meantime these quizzes serve as the perfect procrastination tool. The best part is that there are students from a variety of areas at St. Ambrose, so these quizzes will serve as some explanation for why the kid next to you in class talked about what they did for dinner last night while you were eating supper.

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