I had some fun this week with a quiz from The New York Times that claims to uncover one’s ‘personal dialect map.’ Some of the data used in the quiz is based on the Harvard Dialect Survey that began in 2002.
After answering 25 questions (ie: What is the distinction between dinner and supper?How do you say pajamas?What do you call a sweetened carbonated beverage?), the quiz determined that my pattern of dialect most closely resembles that of St. Louisans (how about that?), as well as those from Detroit and Toledo, Ohio. It also showed that I may have a hint of a New York/New England accent, as well as a very faint touch of Southern cadence.
I bring this up because this week’s Travel feature takes us to Bentonville in Northwest Arkansas, where the manner of speaking—among other things—is decidedly Southern. At one breakfast stop, I struggled to envision what I would get if I ordered ‘Freedom Toast.’ Well, apparently, I was the only one. Everyone else at the diner knew that you made Freedom Toast the same way you make French Toast. Silly me.