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What your dialect says about you


My test results. My accent most closely matches the dark red areas and is least like the dark blue areas.

The New York Times today features a test that will show what your dialect says about where you’re from. Or perhaps where you’ve previously lived.

Both the questions and the associated “temperature maps” probably look familiar because I’ve written about the test before. This time, however, the test matches your dialect to US cities. It linked me to Wichita, Albuquerque, and Louisville, Ky.

As many of you know, I grew up in and spent most of my life in Oklahoma City; I moved to Denver eight years ago. It seems logical that my speech would be a lot like Wichita and Albuquerque dialects. Not sure how Louisville crept in, but I have also lived several years each in Atlanta, southern New Jersey, Connecticut, and upstate New York, so that probably muddied the waters — or dialect — a bit.

MydialectcitiesMy answer about drive-through liquor stores, shown above, is less likely a regional thing than a reflection of my simply not being a drinker and rarely thinking or talking about local liquor stores. I should go through the test again and see if other answers also tie me to the Louisville area.

It’s a brief test but interesting for fans of dialect and language. Check it out and see how accurately it identifies your dialect/accent. (It takes a while for the final map to compile and display, so be patient.)

If you take the test a second time, you’ll get a different mix of questions from the original, longer test. I did it a second time and came up with Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Fort Worth. Now that’s accuracy!





    • Maybe someone in England will do a similar study. These authors had their hands full with just the US. There are some poor questions on the test, with some assumptions about terminology that are probably a result of the authors’ own regionalism or ignorance about other parts of the country.

  1. Interesting. My first time through, the 2 of the 3 places (I don’t remember the 3rd) were Santa Rosa CA and Overland Park, KS. Then I did the test a 2nd time and was a bit more careful on some of the answers as the first time, I was quick to select and didn’t read through all the selections a few times. The 2nd time I got Indianapolis (where I’m from), Albuquerque (where I live now) and I think the 3rd was around the Chicago area. It was near Indy, I remember that. Then I went though and just selected oddball answers because I wanted to see where some of those were used as I had never heard of several. Many of them showed the country all blue, so I’d like to know how those words were selected as an option. Were they made up? Or are they actual terms used in a very small area?

    It was interesting nonetheless. Thanks!

    • I noticed that too. It looked like some words weren’t used anywhere, or maybe only in one tiny town or something. As I mentioned to Kate, I think the author’s own dialect influenced some of the test answers or lack of answers. Or possibly some non-existent words were included as some sort of statistician’s test for validity or something.

    • Oh, I forgot about that. Yes, it took my results map so long to come up that I thought something was wrong, was looking for something else to click on, etc., and almost left the page. But it did finally show up, so you might want to try again.

      I’d better add a note about that.

  2. Hi PT- I had not taken this test before… i scored Omaha, KC, and Wichita… and i live in St Joseph. Thanks for fun on a snowy, cold evening!

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