22 maps that show how Americans speak English totally differently from one another

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united states dialect map languagePhoto credit: Joshua Katz

Everyone knows Americans don't agree on pronunciations.

That's great, because regional accents are a major part of what makes American English so interesting.

Joshua Katz, a Ph.D student of statistics at North Carolina State University, just published a group of awesome visualizations of Professor Bert Vaux and Scott Golder's linguistic survey, which looked at how Americans pronounce words (via detsl on /r/Linguistics).

His results were first published on The Abstract, the NC State University research blog.

Katz gave us permission to publish some of the coolest maps from his collection.

The pronunciation of "caramel" starts disregarding vowels once you go west of the Ohio River

Joshua Katz, NC State University

Residents of the far north have an oddly Canadian way of pronouncing "been"

Joshua Katz, NC State University

For whatever reason, it's a "boo-wie" knife in Texas and D.C.*

Joshua Katz, NC State University

UPDATE: Enthusiastic Marylanders have alerted us that there is indeed a town named "Bowie, Md." that is pronounced "Boo-wie." That solves that. No word yet from Texans.

UPDATE 2: From a Texan: "It's pronounced Boo-wie because it's named after Jim Bowie (pronounced Boo-wie), who played a major role in the Texas revolution. That explains why we're the only ones who pronounce it correctly."


Americans can't even agree how to pronounce crayon.

Joshua Katz, NC State University

The South is the only place where you'll try to call your "law-yer" instead of your "loyer"

Joshua Katz, NC State University

The South is also really into slaw. The North and West call it coleslaw.

Joshua Katz, NC State University

This is the deepest and most obvious linguistic divide in America. It's also an example of how everyone in south Florida pronounces things in the northern U.S. style.

Joshua Katz, NC State University

We are a nation divided over mayonnaise.

Joshua Katz, NC State University

Some of the deepest schisms in America are over the pronunciation of the second syllable of "pajamas"

Joshua Katz, NC State University

Okay, this one is crazy. Everyone pronounces "Pecan Pie" differently.

Joshua Katz, NC State University

Everyone knows that the Midwest calls it "pop," the Northeast and West Coast call it "soda," while the South is really into brand loyalty.

Joshua Katz, NC State University

Tiny lobsters are tearing this country apart.

Photo credit: Joshua Katz, NC State University

So are traffic circles.

Photo credit: Joshua Katz, NC State University

The Northeast corridor puts "sear-up" on their pancakes.

Photo credit: Joshua Katz, NC State University

Philadelphia is just making it up as it goes along.

Photo credit: Joshua Katz, NC State University

Let's ignore the East Coast/West Coast split and notice that Wisconsin and Rhode Island call a water fountain a "bubbler."

Photo credit: Joshua Katz, NC State University

The Northeast [and south Florida] puts on sneakers, everyone else finds a pair of tennis shoes.

Photo credit: Joshua Katz, NC State University

The West Coast is really into their freeways.

Photo credit: Joshua Katz, NC State University

Seriously? Alabama and Mississippi that is terrible.

Photo credit: Joshua Katz, NC State University

Most of America realizes that New York really is "The City."

Photo credit: Joshua Katz, NC State University

These exist?!

Photo credit: Joshua Katz, NC State University

Massachusetts, Long Island and Jersey are the only places that see a difference between Merry, Mary and marry.

Photo credit: Joshua Katz, NC State University


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Maps are great.

Photo credit: Walter Hickey/BI

Watch these actors fumble over their accents:
Another Top 10 Worst Movie Accents

Click here to see all 122 linguistic maps on Katz's site >

And also check out: The 12 Most Controversial Facts In Mathematics >

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