I took a fun dialect quiz yesterday. You answer about five minutes’ worth of questions about how you pronounce certain words or what you call certain objects (those things you run in, are they tennis shoes or sneakers?) and at the end it tells you where your dialect is from. My map shows that my dialect is heavily East Coast, specifically down to Jersey City, the city in New Jersey right next to the one where I went to high school. (It’s the nearest biggest city). Not surprising, since I have lived in New Jersey my entire life, but still a little amazing that an accent can be pinpointed that locally. I interact with people from around the country regularly. You’d figure some of that would rub off on me. But nope.
The quiz is based on the Harvard Dialect Survey and the results are based on over 350,000 quiz results collected by the New York Times. It’s funny, because I always just assume I speak THE English until someone from the Midwest makes fun of how I say coffee. Yes, people, it’s caw-fee.
Here’s my map, based on my replies. Take the dialect quiz yourself by clicking here.