I had so much fun with the last two posts that I couldn’t resist adding this one. I am not sure how applicable it is around the world, but it causes great confusion in the United States. When I first moved to New England and requested a “pop” the waitress looked at me with confusion. She really didn’t know what I was asking for. It turns out that “soda” was proper way to ask for a carbonated beverage. Meanwhile I only knew “soda” to refer to a flavorless seltzer added to whiskey as in “whiskey and soda.” In Oregon if I had wanted a whiskey and Coke, I would have had to specify the beverage. Otherwise I would have received club soda.
There are some puzzling aspects to the map showing the distribution of the word for carbonated beverages. In the South, for instance, it appears the default word is “coke,” a reminder that Coca Cola originated in Georgia, part of the South. That reminds me that there are many people who insist on either Coca Cola or Pepsi Cola and find the other intolerable. I drink neither, but could never tell them apart when I did.
At the gym this morning I enjoyed hearing other people pronounce apricot, pajamas and tomato. I also tried to see if anyone could differentiate between Mary, marry and merry. That would be a little harder to ascertain from reading about the distinctions, but they existed. Interestingly each person believed that the way she pronounced a word or the name she gave to a drink or a shoe or a blinking bug was the CORRECT way and any other way was WRONG.
So much for embracing diversity!