Humor / The English Teacher / The Social Network

On Surveys and Other Information Spew

What’s your native tongue?

Do you, every once in a great while, succumb to the time suck otherwise known as the webbernets? Find yourself taking inventories and ‘quizzes’ designed to give you information about yourself hitherto unbeknownst to you? Comparative surveys that place you on a space-time continuum relative to those nameless, faceless others who have also succumbed to the time suck known as the webbernets?

Me, too.

In fact, I just finished a survey designed to tell me from whence I collected my ‘dialect.’ I opted for the 25 question version over the 140 item LP. In stunning news, I, having spent the first 22 years of my life on the high plains of the USA and the next 30 years of my life east of the Mississippi in what is called the Midwest but clearly isn’t if one would just LOOK at the map of the 48 contiguous to see that the Ohio River Valley would be better called the MidEAST section of the country, even though of course the Mideast leads one to think of Syria, Israel, Iran, Iraq — nations that never met a state fair, though they are a fair way east of the Mississippi…

If  we could somehow be sucked in to absurdly appropriate scenes from the beloved authors who chronicled the times not our own, we’d presently be smack dab (surely a colloquialism!) in the middle of Mr Antolini’s speech class with Holden Caufield and someone would be shouting “DIGRESSION!”

…Guilty as charged.

As I was saying, in 50+ years of living east of the the Rockies, I share dialectic similarities with those who live west of the Rockies. Hmmm. Still, I suppose ND is far more likely to share colloquialisms and dialectic similarities with those who live ‘out west’ than those who live ‘back East.’  And the color coding of my tendencies (bright yellow to a fiery orange) match the great plains and westward ho! from there quite beautifully. Meanwhile the cool blues and greens showing up on my personalized map’s eastern half reveal another stunner: my vocabulary and pronunciation are LEAST like those who live in the deep south and those who live in the northeast. Having spent absolutely no substantive time in either of those locations, I have managed to pick up nary a verbal habit from those points on the map. Huh! As they say here in the ‘Midwest’ (I still object to the term), ‘go figure!’

Because I call a carbonated beverage a ‘soda’ (my usage here is an anomaly, actually), and because I pronounce the ‘bowie’ in ‘bowie knife’ with a long O sound, and because I don’t call an interstate highway a turnpike, and because I say we should ‘mow the lawn’ rather than ‘cut the grass,’ I have dialectic tendencies that link me to the western half of the USA, if the survey can be trusted. This should come as no shock to me, as I grew up in the western half of the USA; still, I’ve lived more years in the eastern half (I do enjoy EST, you know), and apparently, it’s not rubbing off on me. The colors marking my Indiana home were rather frosty, actually. I suppose it has something to do with my refusal to add an ‘r’ to words like ‘wash’ and ‘squash’ and my insistence that the ‘t’ in ‘often’ should remain silent and the sound the ‘ea’ makes in ‘measure’ is a short ‘e’ and not a long ‘a.’

I’ve been claiming for more years than I care to remember that I’ll never be a Hoosier. Turns out, even my speech patterns support the ruling. And I took a survey for that?



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