Have you ever seen a sign on Cape Cod advertising "Pizza and Grinders"? Did you think you'd get a metal fabrication device served up with your pizza? Or did you know grinder is the eastern New England word for sub?
It's one of the regional quirks of the English language. Two Harvard University researchers conducted a survey of these regional differences and they offer their findings in a super entertaining online quiz. It determines with scary accuracy the place where you grew up and learned to speak.
It nailed me, no problem. I spent the first 18 years of my life in New England and the next 32 in Syracuse, NY. Which was the greater influence on the way I spoke? According to the map, my speech originated from Worcester - Mass, Boston, or Providence, R.I. Boom. I was born in Worcester.
My children grew up in Syracuse but they had New England pronunciation drilled into them from the enunciation drill sergeant who was their mother. I would not allow them to pronounce "aunt" as "ant" as their friends did. As a result the dialect tool determined my daughter came from either Springfield, Mass -- birthplace of her dad, or Worcester--the birthplace of her mom, but not Syracuse, the birthplace of herself.
Take the quiz via The New York Times, here.
A more detailed map and explanation comes from Dr. Vaux's own website here.
Once you take it you'll want to pass it along to everyone you know.
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