We’re all familiar with regional accents in the United States, be it the Southern drawl, the Texas twang, the California surfer bro, or the Broad-A Bostonian.
But beyond these recognizable accents, an extensive study at Yale University has revealed regional grammar and word-use idiosyncrasies as well. By plugging their research into an interactive grammar map, the bright and quite capable academics from Yale have made it possible for even the linguistic layman to access and enjoy the delightful, grammatically odd quirks of people throughout the U.S., reports the Daily Mail.
For instance, you click the Yale interactive grammar map’s icon in Southern California, and you catch a common grammatical habit of using “so,” as in “I’m so thinking of going to that wine tasting with you.” The “so” being used to emphasize an idea or make it more dramatic.
Click around in the Midwest on the Yale interactive grammar map and you’ll also find some great ditties, such as in Iowa, the interactive grammar map reveals Iowans use the word “anymore” pretty liberally, as in, “The only thing anymore about politicians is they’re all crooked.”
The Yale University interactive grammar map was created by researchers who traveled the country, taking note of variations in sentence structure in different regions, and even cities and neighborhoods within those regions. Now with the Yale interactive grammar map, these variations can be quickly accessed, providing a label for the grammatical characteristic, an example of its use, the source, and any information available about the speaker.
“Unlike variation in phonology (or accent) and in the lexicon (different words), variation in grammatical systems within English has for the most part not been systematically investigated,” explained professor of linguistics and philosophy at Yale University, Larry Horn. “This variation may be found among speakers who live in a certain geographical region, or who belong to a certain age group, or to a particular social or ethnic group.”
The Yale interactive grammar map is the result of the Yale Grammatical Diversity Project – English in North America, where project researchers focus on how people speak naturally, not on “what is considered to be correct grammar.”
Some other examples from the Yale interactive grammar map include a 29-year-old African-American gentleman in New York City, saying, “Back in them times, there ain’t no kid around that ain’t-wasn’t even thinkin’ about smokin’ no reefers.”
“You don’t have to know too much of nothing,” said a white 35-year-old female from North Carolina.
And from a woman in Austin, Texas: “You might could keep the cuffs…”
In the end, the Yale University interactive grammar map provides much interesting interactive entertainment, and you mightn’t even up and get learned, too.
[Images via Yale Grammatical Diversity Project and Facebook]