I recently had occasion to read the Wikipedia entry for colloquialism. The entry itself was brief but included an illustration I’d never seen before, a U.S. map showing the use of the synonyms coke, soda, and pop across the country:
I grew up in Oklahoma City and pop was our word of choice. When we said Coke, we meant an actual Coca Cola. I still can’t imagine saying “coke” if you mean anything other than a real Coke.
When I moved to upstate New York for a few years, I was very conscious of everyone’s use of the word soda and adapted, just to fit in. When I moved back to Oklahoma and then to Colorado, I retained soda to a large degree, perhaps because it seemed more dignified than pop. Of course, the origin of both terms was soda pop, which I used at one time or another, along with soft drink.
So, is the map accurate for you and where you live? We’re such a mobile society, it’s amazing to me that any of these regionalisms survive. If you live in one of those areas marked “other,” what term do you use?
Wikipedia has another entry on “names for soft drinks” which details terms used all over the world, in addition to names and usages in the U.S. (note the “others” category on the map.)
Now I’d like to see a map on hoagie, gyro, hero, submarine, and poor boy.