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Via ljgeoff, an open-ended U.S. regional vocabulary (and behavior) quiz. I think it works best if you fill the quiz out before looking at other people's answers. My answers are under the cut.

1. A body of water, smaller than a river, contained within relatively narrow banks.

2. What the thing you push around the grocery store is called.

3. A metal container to carry a meal in.

4. The thing that you cook bacon and eggs in.

5. The piece of furniture that seats three people.

6. The device on the outside of the house that carries rain off the roof.

7. The covered area outside a house where people sit in the evening.

8. Carbonated, sweetened, non-alcoholic beverages.

9. A flat, round breakfast food served with syrup.

10. A long sandwich designed to be a whole meal in itself.

11. The piece of clothing worn by men at the beach?

12. Shoes worn for sports.

13. Putting a room in order.

14. A flying insect that glows in the dark.

15. The little insect that curls up into a ball.

16. The children's playground equipment where one kid sits on one side and goes up while the other sits on the other side and goes down.

17. How do you eat your pizza?

18. What's it called when private citizens put up signs and sell their used stuff?

19. What's the evening meal?

20. The thing under a house where the furnace and perhaps a rec room are?

21. What do you call the thing that you can get water out of to drink in public places?

my answers
I list all the terms I use, in order of how often I use them. For reference, I grew up mostly in Michigan near Detroit, but my relatives all come from Illinois. Then I spent 10 years in Connecticut and after that 20 years in California.

1. A body of water, smaller than a river, contained within relatively narrow banks.
Stream, creek

2. What the thing you push around the grocery store is called.
Cart, shopping cart, grocery cart

3. A metal container to carry a meal in.
Lunchbox

4. The thing that you cook bacon and eggs in.
Frying pan

5. The piece of furniture that seats three people.
Couch

6. The device on the outside of the house that carries rain off the roof.
Gutters, downspouts

7. The covered area outside a house where people sit in the evening.
Porch

8. Carbonated, sweetened, non-alcoholic beverages.
Soda (I used to call it pop, but changed to soda when I moved to the East Coast and never went back)

9. A flat, round breakfast food served with syrup.
Pancake

10. A long sandwich designed to be a whole meal in itself.
Sub (I called it a grinder when I lived in Connecticut)

11. The piece of clothing worn by men at the beach?
Depending on the kind of item it is: Swim trunks, board shorts, briefs

12. Shoes worn for sports.
Tennis shoes, running shoes, high-tops, cross-trainers (IOW, I mostly don't use a generic term for them; I identify them by the type of sport they're associated with. In Michigan when I was growing up, they were tennis shoes or tennies.)

13. Putting a room in order.
Tidying

14. A flying insect that glows in the dark.
Firefly

15. The little insect that curls up into a ball.
Pillbug

16. The children's playground equipment where one kid sits on one side and goes up while the other sits on the other side and goes down.
Teeter-totter

17. How do you eat your pizza?
Pick up a piece with my right hand, supporting bottom with my left hand. If it's a wedge shape, I fold in half lengthwise, eat from point back. If it's a square shape I eat from one corner without folding.

18. What's it called when private citizens put up signs and sell their used stuff?
Garage sale, tag sale, yard sale

19. What's the evening meal?
Dinner

20. The thing under a house where the furnace and perhaps a rec room are?
Basement.

21. What do you call the thing that you can get water out of to drink in public places?
Drinking fountain, water fountain,

Comments

( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
gramina
Apr. 2nd, 2008 08:42 pm (UTC)
Interesting -- I think it shows that I've moved a fair bit (I grew up mostly in Wisconsin (5-9) and Arkansas (0-4, 9-adult), and that I tend to absorb other people's words, but here you go for what it's worth:

1. A body of water, smaller than a river, contained within relatively narrow banks: Creek or Stream (assuming from context it's moving)

2. What the thing you push around the grocery store is called: Cart

3. A metal container to carry a meal in: Metal - lunch pail or lunch bucket; any hard-sided - lunch box; soft-sided - lunch bag

4. The thing that you cook bacon and eggs in: pan or skillet (pan is more general, and includes skillets and saucepans)

5. The piece of furniture that seats three people: couch, sofa, or davenport (couch usually, sofa at random, davenport for a specific piece of family furniture that is always referred to as "the davenport.")

6. The device on the outside of the house that carries rain off the roof: Gutters carry off the rain; gutters are attached to the eaves.

7. The covered area outside a house where people sit in the evening: Porch.

8. Carbonated, sweetened, non-alcoholic beverages: Soda mostly, occasionally soft drink or pop

9. A flat, round breakfast food served with syrup: Pancakes, generally. Variants include crepes (very thin), griddle-cakes (fairly thick), or flapjacks (just an alternative word)

10. A long sandwich designed to be a whole meal in itself: Sub, hoagie, grinder -- those are the first words to come to mind anyway. I think there are several others I recognize. Oh, and a poor-boy is a particular type of these sandwiches, involving the protein in the filling being breaded and fried. Sub is probably the most common word for me, with hoagie coming in second.

11. The piece of clothing worn by men at the beach: trunks, swim trunks.

12. Shoes worn for sports: sneakers, tennis shoes.

13. Putting a room in order: straighten, tidy, ret up (no idea where that last one comes from).

14. A flying insect that glows in the dark: Lightning bug or firefly.

15. The little insect that curls up into a ball: Pill bug or roly-poly (also potato bug, but I think that's more a "real" name and the other two are what I *call* them.)

16. The children's playground equipment where one kid sits on one side and goes up while the other sits on the other side and goes down: Teeter totter -- also see-saw. Teeter totter is probably what I think first, though.

17. How do you eat your pizza? Point to crust. By hand.

18. What's it called when private citizens put up signs and sell their used stuff? Sale -- garage, yard, or rummage.

19. What's the evening meal? Dinner or supper -- supper is light, dinner is a more major meal.

20. The thing under a house where the furnace and perhaps a rec room are? Basement -- but I grew up with Cellar, too. Ah -- Basements are more likely to be finished than cellars are -- and cellar is also storm cellar or a cellar where you store food over the winter.

21. What do you call the thing that you can get water out of to drink in public places? Water fountain, drinking fountain, bubbler. (Bubbler in Wisconsin; I think some place I was just called it a fountain, but to me that's a public water display or some sort. Water fountain or drinking fountain are clearer.)
(Deleted comment)
sarahmichigan
Apr. 2nd, 2008 09:53 pm (UTC)
I'm posting without looking at yours or anybody else's answers first:

1. A body of water, smaller than a river, contained within relatively narrow banks. creek (occasionally pronounced as "crick")

2. What the thing you push around the grocery store is called. Shopping cart

3. A metal container to carry a meal in. Lunchbox

4. The thing that you cook bacon and eggs in. frying pan

5. The piece of furniture that seats three people. sofa

6. The device on the outside of the house that carries rain off the roof. rain gutter?

7. The covered area outside a house where people sit in the evening. patio? deck?

8. Carbonated, sweetened, non-alcoholic beverages. I grew up saying "pop" but I lean toward "soda" now

9. A flat, round breakfast food served with syrup. pancakes (though I like the term flapjack)

10. A long sandwich designed to be a whole meal in itself. sub

11. The piece of clothing worn by men at the beach? shorts or swim trunks

12. Shoes worn for sports. tennis shoes (or tennies)

13. Putting a room in order. de-cluttering? neatening?

14. A flying insect that glows in the dark. firefly

15. The little insect that curls up into a ball. pill bug

16. The children's playground equipment where one kid sits on one side and goes up while the other sits on the other side and goes down. see-saw or teeter-totter

17. How do you eat your pizza? pointy end first

18. What's it called when private citizens put up signs and sell their used stuff? rummage sale or garage sale

19. What's the evening meal? dinner or supper

20. The thing under a house where the furnace and perhaps a rec room are? basement

21. What do you call the thing that you can get water out of to drink in public places? drinking fountain
sarahmichigan
Apr. 2nd, 2008 09:55 pm (UTC)
Oh, duh, I was over-thinking #7. I call it a porch. (Though I like the word "veranda".)
19_crows
Apr. 2nd, 2008 11:41 pm (UTC)
My grandfather would say "redd up" for tidying a room. He was from Ohio.

I eat pizza with a knife and fork, sometimes from the point and sometimes from the crust. I'm curious if there's a regional difference in methods.
firecat
Apr. 2nd, 2008 11:43 pm (UTC)
Where are you from?

The only regional difference I know about is that some regions are more likely to fold the wedge in half.
19_crows
Apr. 3rd, 2008 12:44 am (UTC)
I'm a California native. I've never seen anyone fold their pizza.
firecat
Apr. 3rd, 2008 01:57 am (UTC)
I think it's an East Coast thing but I'm not sure.
mjlayman
Apr. 3rd, 2008 03:26 am (UTC)
I know "redd up" from Pennsylvania, but this is what we have Google for:

http://www.word-detective.com/121800.html

Skip down to the bottom one.
aquaeri
Apr. 3rd, 2008 04:51 am (UTC)
Was your grandfather of Scandinavian extraction? Because that's almost identical to the Danish.
19_crows
Apr. 3rd, 2008 08:44 pm (UTC)
No, Scottish! Interesting.
aquaeri
Apr. 3rd, 2008 11:17 pm (UTC)
I followed Marilee's (mjlayman) link, and yes, it looks like "redd up" is Scottish, but it traces back to a word "rede" - "save, prepare" (which "ready" also comes from). And this word is still used in Danish with the same meaning.

I've noticed a lot of Scottish is similar to Danish - "kirk" is "kirke" (church), "baern" is "barn" (child). I don't know if it's just that English has changed more quickly and left the other languages behind :-).

Edited at 2008-04-03 11:18 pm (UTC)
firecat
Apr. 4th, 2008 12:16 am (UTC)
More invasions?
jinian
Apr. 3rd, 2008 02:08 am (UTC)
1. A body of water, smaller than a river, contained within relatively narrow banks.
Stream or creek (pronounced "crick" in childhood dialect, which pronunciation I have not yet defiantly reclaimed).

2. What the thing you push around the grocery store is called.
Shoping cart.

3. A metal container to carry a meal in.
Lunchbox.

4. The thing that you cook bacon and eggs in.
Frying pan or, if heavy cast iron, skillet.

5. The piece of furniture that seats three people.
Couch. "Sofa" is not actually a different thing to me; my people just don't use the word much.

6. The device on the outside of the house that carries rain off the roof.
(Rain) gutters.

7. The covered area outside a house where people sit in the evening.
Porch.

8. Carbonated, sweetened, non-alcoholic beverages.
Pop (defiantly claimed despite opposition), soft drink if formal.

9. A flat, round breakfast food served with syrup.
Pancake.

10. A long sandwich designed to be a whole meal in itself.
No set term.

11. The piece of clothing worn by men at the beach?
Swimsuit or swim trunks.

12. Shoes worn for sports.
Tennis shoes, tennies, trainers.

13. Putting a room in order.
Tidying?

14. A flying insect that glows in the dark.
Firefly, not that we have them.

15. The little insect that curls up into a ball.
Pillbugs are not insects; they are isopods.

16. The children's playground equipment where one kid sits on one side and goes up while the other sits on the other side and goes down.
Teeter-totter.

17. How do you eat your pizza?
IN TRIANGLES YOU CRAZY MASSACHUSETTS FREAKS

18. What's it called when private citizens put up signs and sell their used stuff?
Garage sale, yard sale. Lately I have seen "G-sale" signs, which amuse me.

19. What's the evening meal?
Dinner.

20. The thing under a house where the furnace and perhaps a rec room are?
Basement.

21. What do you call the thing that you can get water out of to drink in public places?
Drinking fountain for the usual kind that shoots an arch of water. Occasionally I encounter bubblers, which push the water straight up.
necturus
Apr. 3rd, 2008 02:51 am (UTC)
5. The little insect that curls up into a ball.

It's actually a crustacean.
firecat
Apr. 3rd, 2008 02:57 am (UTC)
Yay! I wonder how many geek-specific "regionalisms" there are.
mjlayman
Apr. 3rd, 2008 03:15 am (UTC)
Well, I'm from a lot of places, so I'll just give all the answers I have:

1. A body of water, smaller than a river, contained within relatively narrow banks.

stream, crick, branch, creek

2. What the thing you push around the grocery store is called.

Grocery cart, shopping cart

3. A metal container to carry a meal in.

Lunchbox

4. The thing that you cook bacon and eggs in.

Microwave. Okay, okay, skillet.

5. The piece of furniture that seats three people.

Sofa, divan, couch

6. The device on the outside of the house that carries rain off the roof.

Gutter

7. The covered area outside a house where people sit in the evening.

Pergola, folly, gazebo

8. Carbonated, sweetened, non-alcoholic beverages.

Pop, soda

9. A flat, round breakfast food served with syrup.

Pancake.

10. A long sandwich designed to be a whole meal in itself.

Sub, gyro/hero, hoagie, po'boy, grinder

11. The piece of clothing worn by men at the beach?

Swimsuit, swimshorts, Speedo

12. Shoes worn for sports.

Athletic shoes (sometimes called sneakers, but sneakers aren't actually proper for sports)

13. Putting a room in order.

Redding up, neatening, picking up

14. A flying insect that glows in the dark.

Firefly, lightning bug

15. The little insect that curls up into a ball.

Caterpiller, wooly worm

16. The children's playground equipment where one kid sits on one side and goes up while the other sits on the other side and goes down.

Teeter-totter, seesaw

17. How do you eat your pizza?

Depends where I'm eating it. Here, the crusts are the right thickness to pick up. In Chicago, you use a knife and fork. In NYC you fold it over.

18. What's it called when private citizens put up signs and sell their used stuff?

Yard sale, garage sale

19. What's the evening meal?

Dinner, supper

20. The thing under a house where the furnace and perhaps a rec room are?

Basement

21. What do you call the thing that you can get water out of to drink in public places?

Water fountain
fauxklore
Apr. 3rd, 2008 05:58 am (UTC)
1. A body of water, smaller than a river, contained within relatively narrow banks.

Creek or brook is what I thought of. A very local word in Virginia is "run." I remember when I first made the connection to the Battle of Bull Run. (Except that it's known locally as the Battle of First Manassas or Battle of Second Manassas, but there is still Bull Run Regional Park.) I also regularly walk around Four Mile Run and Difficult Run among others.

2. What the thing you push around the grocery store is called.

Shopping cart.

3. A metal container to carry a meal in.

Lunch box.

4. The thing that you cook bacon and eggs in.

I don't actually cook bacon and eggs, but if I did, I'd use a skillet or possibly a griddle.

5. The piece of furniture that seats three people.

I normally say sofa, though couch is also a reasonable word.

6. The device on the outside of the house that carries rain off the roof.

Rain gutter or rain spout.

7. The covered area outside a house where people sit in the evening.

Nobody really had these where I grew up, but those in other places are called porches. We sat outside on the patio, but that isn't covered.


8. Carbonated, sweetened, non-alcoholic beverages.

Personally, I call them undrinkable, but the word is soda.

9. A flat, round breakfast food served with syrup.

Pancakes.

10. A long sandwich designed to be a whole meal in itself.

Hero is the most natural term for me, with sub a close second. Grinder is used specifically for ones filled with meatballs.

11. The piece of clothing worn by men at the beach?

Swimsuit or bathing suit.

12. Shoes worn for sports.

Sneakers. I used to hear tennies, but haven't in years.

13. Putting a room in order.

Straightening up or neatening.

14. A flying insect that glows in the dark.

Firefly is the term I grew up with, but I also use lightning bug nowadays.

15. The little insect that curls up into a ball.

pillbug

16. The children's playground equipment where one kid sits on one side and goes up while the other sits on the other side and goes down.

seesaw. I think the more revealing term I use is for a different piece of playground equipment, which I call a sliding pond, a term unique to parts of New York (and which, apparently, derives from the Dutch word "bahn", meaning "track").

17. How do you eat your pizza?

You fold it in half, let the oil drip down the middle and off the slice, and eat from the point to the crust.

18. What's it called when private citizens put up signs and sell their used stuff?

Garage sale or yard sale. A rummage sale is always sponsored by a charitable organization.

19. What's the evening meal?

If it's the main meal of the day, it's dinner. Otherwise, it's supper.

20. The thing under a house where the furnace and perhaps a rec room are?

the basement

21. What do you call the thing that you can get water out of to drink in public places?

a drinking fountain
mjlayman
Apr. 3rd, 2008 11:58 pm (UTC)
Oh, another very local word for #1 is branch -- Winter's Branch North is just behind my condo building here in Manassas. And you have someone in your storytelling group who spells Marilee wrong.
aquaeri
Apr. 3rd, 2008 08:08 am (UTC)
I think Australia is perfectly summarised by my reaction to two of these questions: "How many words for swimwear do you want?" and "Furnace? Under a house?"

11: Togs, swimmers, cossie, speedos, boardies, budgie-smugglers

20: Many of the older houses here are basically built on stilts, to catch summer breezes, deal with the slope, and possibly also to reduce flood damage. The area under the house often has all kinds of junk, but it's not enclosed. I think it's just called "the area under the house", or possibly "the garage" since that's often where the car is parked - in this case there's often wooden pailings around, like a striped wall.
firecat
Apr. 3rd, 2008 08:48 am (UTC)
We have a crawlspace, and the furnace is in the attic.

I love the word "budgie-smugglers".
aquaeri
Apr. 3rd, 2008 09:20 am (UTC)
Almost nowhere in Australia gets cold enough to justify an actual furnace in a home.

"Budgie-smugglers" is an example of that notorious australian sense of humour. There's also "Technicolour yawn" (vomiting), "Flat out like a goanna drinking" (busy), "the rough end of the pineapple" (the worse side of a deal).
bastette_joyce
Apr. 4th, 2008 11:44 pm (UTC)
1. A body of water, smaller than a river, contained within relatively narrow banks.

Stream.

2. What the thing you push around the grocery store is called.

A cart or carriage.

3. A metal container to carry a meal in.

I'm not sure I've ever carried a meal in a metal container. But maybe a pot? (Like bringing a pot of soup to someone?)

4. The thing that you cook bacon and eggs in.

Frying pan.

5. The piece of furniture that seats three people.

Couch

6. The device on the outside of the house that carries rain off the roof.

Gutter

7. The covered area outside a house where people sit in the evening.

Porch

8. Carbonated, sweetened, non-alcoholic beverages.

Soda

9. A flat, round breakfast food served with syrup.

Pancake

10. A long sandwich designed to be a whole meal in itself.

Sub

11. The piece of clothing worn by men at the beach?

Bathing suit or trunks

12. Shoes worn for sports.

Running shoes. But that's a function of time, not place. Years ago I would've said sneakers.

13. Putting a room in order.

Cleaning up

14. A flying insect that glows in the dark.

Firefly

15. The little insect that curls up into a ball.

What does it mean when you have no name for this? Never seen one. (It sounds cute. :))

16. The children's playground equipment where one kid sits on one side and goes up while the other sits on the other side and goes down.

See saw

17. How do you eat your pizza?

One slice (ie, wedge) at a time. If it's really hot, with a fork and knife. When it's cooled off, I'll hold it in my hand and start at the pointy end and eat toward the crust.

18. What's it called when private citizens put up signs and sell their used stuff?

Yard sale (at a private home) or flea market (people get together and sell them in a public place).

19. What's the evening meal?

Dinner. As a kid I called it "supper", though.

20. The thing under a house where the furnace and perhaps a rec room are?

Cellar

21. What do you call the thing that you can get water out of to drink in public places?

Fountain

What do I win?
firecat
Apr. 4th, 2008 11:53 pm (UTC)
Carriage! I've never heard it called that.

You didn't have lunchboxes as a kid? With cartoon characters on them, and glass thermoses inside that always broke at inconvenient times?

http://www.jessiesbrooklynkitchen.com/lunchbox.jpg
http://www.paydirtmedia.com/vision/lunchbox/lunchbox_main.jpg
bastette_joyce
Apr. 5th, 2008 04:44 am (UTC)
We had hot lunches in school - the good old days, eh? I don't remember bringing a lunchbox. But also, that just didn't occur to me. It's not like I've never heard of them. :) Maybe if the question had said "...to carry the middle meal of the day" I might've had a clue.
firecat
Apr. 5th, 2008 08:33 am (UTC)
We brought our lunches when I went to school in Chicago. Having the coolest lunchbox was one of those things that was vitally important and I always failed at.
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )

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