You say "tomato", I say "tomahto"…

Apr 26, 2011 by

It is no surprise than people in different parts of the English-speaking world, or even of the US, say things differently. Claire Bowern, associate professor of Linguistics at Yale University and co-creator of the North American Dialects Survey, studies what those differences are exactly.

The project uses the Internet to collect samples of how people around North America say a list of short English words. Bowern hopes that the results will give a portrait of how English varies with geography, ethnicity and across time.

While it is not the first internet-based dialectal data collection project (check out this “Pop vs. Soda” page), this is perhaps the most encompassing one to date.

If you have grown up speaking English in the US or Canada, you can participate in the project — Prof. Bowern will appreciate your input! And all you need is a computer with a microphone and a sound card (which you definitely have if you’ve made phone calls via Skype or some such program).

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