Since hundreds of you guys got in on the fun with this American accent quiz, we couldn’t help but share the latest in online linguistic diagnostics – especially since this one seems to be pretty darn accurate. Which you’d hope, considering this quiz comes from the New York Times (and is adapted from some data from Harvard).
Like the last one, it asks how you pronounce certain words…
…but it also asks about what terms you use (firefly or lightning bug? semi-truck or tractor trailer? yard sale or garage sale?) to help pin down what area of the country your dialect is from.
It generates a dialect “heat map” of the United States, and pinpoints the 3 cities your dialect is most similar (and least similar to). It was pretty much spot on for both me and Sherry. For instance, I was born and raised right outside of Washington DC (and near Arlington, VA).
And Sherry grew up in northern New Jersey, right where her map is red hot.
We also thought it was interesting how much “warmer” my map was than Sherry’s – which is a way of saying that my dialect is more generic, while Sherry’s is pretty specific to the NYC/NJ area.
So here’s the link to the quiz if you want to take it for a spin yourself. It may ask some different questions each time, so results may vary if you take it more than once. One time my results even included Richmond!
Wow! Yeah, that was pretty accurate! I love this kind of stuff.
Mine was dark, dark red around Toledo, Ohio, and Detroit. I live in Cincinnati and have for the past 15 years. But guess what? Born in Toledo and lived there until I was 27.
That is funny! I have lived in Cincinnati my whole life however my parents and extended family are from Louisville. The 3 dialects most similar it chose were Cincinnati, Louisville, and Lexington.
I was born and raised in Cincinnati but I got Witchita, Los Angeles, and Bethesda, Maryland. So I guess I’m all over the place!
My map looks exactly like Sherry’s with the addition of Baltimore. Funny seeing as I grew up in NoVA just like John. But I guess my entire family being from the Jersey Shore (Wildwood…not the show!) might have influenced me.
My boyfriend linked me to this one this morning! I was raised in Orlando, and it pinpointed that and also gave me Jacksonville, but then it also popped up Baton Rouge! Never been to Louisiana in my life. It did peg his Panhandle/South Georgia accent perfectly tho…
Lindsey d. says
I’m a born and raised Baton Rougean. The accent is much more generically Southern than other parts of Louisiana, so maybe that’s it showed up for you.
I took the quiz and it pinpointed Irving, TX which is next to my small hometown. Crazy accurate and so fun! Thanks for sharing.
this is ridiculously good–it pinpointed me as Arlington, VA which is where I grew up/live/work now! If I were more skeptical (and knew anything about technology) I would say its taking like my computer IP address location or something!
Love these quizzes! But being from Boston makes for very predictable results- it’s a very specific accent!
Lindsey d. says
My fiance and I took it several times over the weekend. So much fun. I was pretty much dead on for the South (born and raised in Louisiana), while my Ohio-raised but has lived in Louisiana for the past 13 years fiance was all over the map. A linguistic chameleon, he now calls himself.
I am pretty sure they use black magic. It said I am most similar to Cincinnati and Detroit, both places I have lived in my life. Total sorcery.
Young House Life says
[email protected] says
Such a fun quiz! It proved that I’m a “Mass-hole” through and through, despite the influence of my California-bred husband. :)
I took it and I got some really interesting results: Massachusetts and above. I lived in Philly four years when I first got to the US and except for a 6-month stint in NC and 2 years in Northern VA/DC, have lived in Northern NJ ever since. Maybe since I grew up with English as a second language it’s not that surprising; I have probably picked up a lot of different words and pronunciations along the way. DC was the second “hottest” area so that at least makes some sense!
That is crazy! It picked the town I was born in, the town I lived most of the time I was growing up, and then the area my grandfather was raised!
Danielle Purtle says
Yep! Mine was red hot in the deep Southeast, especially Tennessee. I am from Nashville. Some of those words that were options I’ve never in my life heard! Catty wampus for diagonal….and the bug that curls up’s names (we say roly poly lol)! So neat!
That was fun! I am from SoCal but have lived in PHX since 1996 so it was so accurate!
Spot on with Milwaukee/Madison, WI for me! I think it was the bubbler question that did me in! lol
What a fun quiz!! My 6 cities are the exact same as Sherry’s but flipped! But it’s spot on, I was raised in Washington (near Spokane) and live in Boise now. It makes me wish I could have a conversation with Sherry just to expand my dialect a little more ;)
Young House Life says
So funny! We’re accent opposites.
Pretty good, though I was hoping for Brooklyn specific, but New York/Yonkers/Patterson (?) will do!
I loved this quiz! Both my husband and myself took it… we’re from Wisconsin and are looking to move out to the east coast next year. It made us realize we’re really going to stick out like sore thumbs when people hear us talk! Haha. Thanks for sharing.
My dad was from New York, my mom from western Canada, and I grew up in the south, so my map had almost no blue1
Angela L says
That was fun! It seems to be pretty accurate. My map’s reddest spots were north-western Wisconsin and central Minnesota. I grew up in north-western WI and lived in MN for 8 years. :)
I found this interesting since I’m from Canada but this is for the States. It says I’m most similar to Seattle with a close second of San Jose, CA. Interesting! It was funny when I answered a question and my whole map went dark blue…I guess that means it was a total “canadian” choice haha
Erin C says
I’m from Canada too and thought it was hilarious how often the map went completely blue! But in the end most of my map ended up red with Minneapolis the darkest.
I thought it might pinpoint me in Buffalo since I live so close!
Erin C says
lol…I spoke too soon! Did it once more and it picked Buffalo!! (thank you potato bug)
Funny how the colors look very similar both times, but it chose different cities:
Try 1: http://i658.photobucket.com/albums/uu310/morality28/dialect-map.png~original
Try 2: http://i658.photobucket.com/albums/uu310/morality28/dialect-map2.png~original
I thought this was absolutely hilarious as well since I’m from Canada. My mosts came up as Boston, Springfield, and Providence. But the real question is what part of Canada. I’m from Nova Scotia, and our accent is very distinct in terms of accents in Canada.
There was a few answers that the map went completely blue as well! It would be super cool if they had this for the whole world, or North America. I also noticed there was a few United Kingdom answers in there as well.
My map went completely blue a few times, too! I live about an hour east of Vancouver and it pinpointed me as Tacoma/Seattle, so pretty darn close!
I’m from Saskatchewan, Canada and my accent was most similar to Buffalo, NY (must speak like an Ontarioan).
Funny enough my LEAST similar accent was Richmond, VA!
Cheryl L. says
It is spot on….main city is St. Louis….I was born and raised about 30 minute south of St. Louis….and I now live about and hour and a half north of St. Louis…..how fun!!!!
This survey was great fun, thanks for sharing! It had me pinned down to northern suburbs of Chicago… And that’s where I was born and raised.
I did have a hard time with some of the questions though. For example, there were terms that immediately registered with me but I may or may not use those terms myself… Or there are words I use interchangably but they didn’t offer the option to use both.
i think your link may have broken the site…my map won’t come up…
Young House Life says
Weird! Anyone else having that issue? Maybe updating your browser and restarting will help it pop right up?
Doesn’t work well in Chrome I noticed.
Spot on! One of the cities it picked was where I was born and raised and the other was close to where I am living now! crazy!
I think all your readers sent the system into an overload. It’s experiencing difficulty generating maps and I need to come back later.
Young House Life says
Oh no! Anyone else having an issue? I hope it’s running again soon!
WOW that was spot-on…It pinpointed the exact city where I was born and raised!
Wow this is pretty accurate! I grew up in NM and Albuquerque was in the mix for most similar. My map was pretty much all red with just a bit of blue in the northeast though…so I guess I have an extremely generic accent.
Ha, that’s funny. Last time, I got about 70/30 AZ (where I’m from and live) and NY (where my mom is from and I’ve visited frequently). This time, it’s 100% West Coast and specifically the metro area I live in – 100% due to the fact that we don’t have a special word for drive-through liquor stores (based on the explanations of the top 3 cities).
I had to take the quiz 3 times before it would generate a map.:) Looks like the YHL followers have broken the internet again. :P
Young House Life says
Oh no, so sorry guys!
I came out with Boston, Worcester and Providence – which is DEAD accurate for where I grew up the majority of my life, which was about halfway between Boston and Providence! I still call a “water fountain” a bubbler (bubblah) but I now call the place you get booze the “liquor store” versus the “packie” which is what I grew up calling it.
Also, the first time I ever saw a drive up liquor store in Ohio I was like, “WHAT THE F*$% IS THIS?!” It still blows my mind you can drive through a convenience store at all, let alone get booze.
Oh and according to the map it was the “bubbler” and “rotary” that nailed me to Boston, Providence and Worcester. It makes sense. I don’t know a single person outside that area that refers to it as a “bubbler” which I DID NOT KNOW until I went to college and asked where the “bubblah” was.
Rotary nailed me to those cities as well (I currently live in Boston). I grew up in Maine and some of my high school friends used the term bubbler and the first time I was like “um what?”
I didn’t see that sliver of the east coast when I took the quiz the first time. I’m from the Milwaukee area, and that’s the only place I’ve ever known to call it a “bubbler”. Very interesting!
Haha that’s funny, Kristen! I live in Maine now (born here, raised in MA, came back for college and never left!)My three cities remain the same, but my map is actually bright bright red in the Boston area, and all of Maine! It must be the “Italian (Sandwich)” thing :)
That was crazy accurate for me too. My map was pretty red, so I guess I dont have a very strong accent, but it pinpointed Louisville, which is home.
Casey @ Waffling says
Some of those terms had me giggling! the devil is beating his wife? hahahahaha
Lauren E says
I live in west Georgia — I’ve only ever heard it referred to as “the devil beating his wife” ;) Now that I think about it, that IS pretty odd. This map was crazy accurate though (once I fought through all the other YHL love readers and got it to work!) — pegged me as Birmingham, AL; Chattanooga, TN; and Columbus, GA, which are all situated in a triangle around the small town I grew up in! Cray-Cray. (Or should I say ‘Cray-Fish’… although we call them ‘crawdaddies’ haha).
I’m from New Orleans, and we totally say that! My map was deep deep red for New Orleans (as expected), and then Baton Rouge and Shreveport followed. I love seeing how different the accents are throughout the country.
“We are currently experiencing many requests…” Guess they weren’t ready for traffic a la YHL!
Young House Life says
Oh man, hope it’s back up and running soon. So sorry guys!
My map came up, but it took a really long time. I am a Jersey girl.
Tina R says
This quiz was spot on! It gave me Houston, Tx as my hotest spot and it was exactly right! Born and raised (and still here)! The last quiz yall posted wasn’t even close to anything Texas for me. Weird.
Nichole K says
I love that one of Sherry’s “least similar” cities is where I grew up and still live: Spokane! So opposite! Although, if I watch enough Snooki and Jwow, I do get a little Jersey-ish for a while :)
The website gave me a warning that it’s experiencing a LOT of traffic right now, so results might be pretty slow. I’m pretty amazed at the results! It’s darkest red right over my hometown in Pennsylvania, and my 3 closest cities are Philadelphia (lived there for a few years), Baltimore (live an hour away from there now), and Arlington (about 1.5 hours away, currently). Guess I should get out more ;)
Mine came out with the darkest red part right over St. Louis! Dead on :)
I took it twice. The first time my hot spot was Salt Lake, the second time was Portland. Crazy that I grew up near Portland and now live near Salt Lake. Definitely more spot on than the other quiz.
This is so cool! Mine said Grand Rapids, Michigan and I’m originally from Kalamazoo, Michigan, about 45 minutes from GR! So cool. I live in Florida now and just yesterday someone asked me if I’m from Canada because of my “accent” :)
Mine was dark dark red for Maine and the rest of New England.. I grew up in Maine and now live in Boston. This is creepy accurate. I agree with sorcery.
My map was dark red EVERYWHERE except for a few southern states. I live outside of Orlando, which was red too, but the cities the map specified were all in Colorado.
This was really fun! Thanks for sharing!
Steph Nelson says
My map was 95% red or yellow, hardly any blue. How weird is that. It said mainly towns in the midwest but I grew up (and still live) in Tampa.
It did the same thing for me, and I’m outside of Orlando. Maybe Florida confuses it.
Nailed it. Got San Francisco as one of my three.
I’m always really interested in taking these because I’m not American at all, I’m from London, England.
Apparently my dialect means I’d fit in well in Los Angeles or San Francisco, but Texas and Arkansas would probably be troublesome for me.
In reality, I am VERY British and often have trouble in the US when I ask where the ‘loo’ is, talk about being ‘bladdered’, or talk about something that’s happening in a ‘fortnight’. I always get confused responses!
Mine was totally accurate! Born and raised in Richmond, VA and two pinpointed cities were Richmond and Virginia Beach. The third was Atlanta (and all of the South was red!). I’ve never been to the deep South. Interesting!
Sam M says
I’ve lived in various parts of TN my whole life, but the quiz placed me much further south in Jackson, MS, Birmingham, AL, & Montgomery, AL.
This is wildly accurate. My map included Wichita, Kansas where I lived until age 10 and Indianapolis, where I’ve lived ever since!
Emily R. says
Toledo, Ohio, and Detroit and Grand Rapids, Michigan, topped my list, which makes sense considering I was born and raised 45 minutes NW of Detroit and an hour from Toledo. Sadly, I’m pretty sure my use of “devil’s night” and “pop” (which I’ve trained myself not to say but is still my first instinct) is what sealed it!
Thanks for posting this! I am originally from the NYC area and my map was red hot over NYC and northern NJ like Sherry’s! Very accurate!