The long awaited dispute of what is the ‘right’ way to say a sweetened carbonated beverage is in, finally. Could it be soda, pop, or coke? And the answer,according to one graduate student’s American dialect research is:
All of the above! That is, depending on where you are in America-due to one’s American dialect they speak. You can thank the statistics graduate student, Joshua Katz, at North Carolina State University for putting all of the American dialect confusion to a rest. Joshua has created 100+ maps of different lexical and phonological phenomena in English.
Those different lexical and phonological occurrences are created by the use of a different American dialect based on certain regions across the U.S. According to dictionary.com, a dialect is “a variety of a language that is distinguished from other varieties of the same language by features of phonology, grammar, and vocabulary, and by its use by a group of speakers who are set off from others geographically or socially.”
The grad student’s main focus was to use an American dialect based on his geographical location.
Lexical Differences in American Dialect
Using the sweetened carbonated beverage example of American dialect, one can clearly see that the majority of the northern part of the country (excluding Northeastern states) prefer the use of the word ‘pop’. The “soda” users tend to fall into the East and West coast and in the Southern Illinois/Missouri area. Last but not least, is the least common, ‘coke.’ To seem like a true native, use this term in the Southern region of the U.S.
Fun fact: Opposite the American dialect, the people in the U.K. call a sweetened carbonated beverage a ‘fizzy drink’.