Fascinating Dialect Quiz from NY Times based on Harvard Linguist

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Fascinating Dialect Quiz from NY Times based on Harvard Linguist

December 29, 2013 - 22:58

I took this quiz and it told me I talk like I am from Buffalo.
 I've never been to Buffalo but my Mom is from St. Louis, MO and my Dad is from Elgin, IL; I was born in Washington, DC and learned to speak in Virginia. So, maybe that makes some kind of sense.
 NY Times Dialect Quiz
 Give it a try and add a comment where it says you sound like you are from when you talk.

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It told me my dialect was similar to Newark, Patterson, Jersey City, Philadelphia.

I was born and raised in New Rochelle.

My Mom was born and raised in the Bronx, My Mom's parents were born and raised in Manhattan. My maternal Grandfather's paternal ancestors moved to NYC in the 1830's from the UK.

My Dad was born in Philadelphia, lived in Atlantic City until 7 and then New Rochelle, my Dad's parents were born in Ukraine (Tsarist Russia), but that Grandfather moved to Philadelphia when 2 and learned English there, while that Grandmother moved from Ukraine to Philadelphia when 14 and learned English there. My father and his parents moved to New Rochelle in 1927, when my father was 7 and my Grandparents were in their 20's.

All in all, the Dialect Quiz was relatviely accurate in my case, at least with the Philadelphia connection. But there is no reason it should connect me with Northern NJ, and should have connected me with the Bronx or Westchester (of which the Bronx was part of until 1898).

I had one issue with the quiz, where I think it got it wrong. The quiz was unable to distinguish that a Parkway in NY and NJ is not the same as an Interstate such as NY's Thruways and Expressways or NJ's Turnpikes. That was a trick question with no clear answer if you lived in our region.

Well it seems to have targeted my area fairly well. It identified New York, Yonkers and Jersey City. I hail from The Bronx, and as much as I like to think it is a unique place all its own, it is New York City. I guess my forty two years living here in New Rochelle explain how Yonkers got into the mix. As for Jersey City, I can only assume many NYC residents have moved there and influenced their dialect.