We talk about other English-speaking countries having different words for things. Our elevator is a lift, and our bathroom is the loo. So I did a little research for this topic and came across many things that are called by different names right here in the United States.
Soda/pop/coke seems to be the most popularly discussed. (My Pennsylvania parents drank soft drinks.) According to Wikipedia, there’s a long list. Things I never even thought about. Growing up in eastern Pennsylvania and then living in several different eastern states over the years, I find that I use some of the names interchangeably.
Here are a few with where they’re used in parentheses. Faucet (north) and spigot (south). In my house, the kitchen and bathroom sinks have faucets. But the outside hose is connected to the spigot. Teeter-totter (widespread) and seesaw (south and midland). I’ve called it both things and never realized it. What about pit (north) and seed (elsewhere)? In my mind, peaches have pits and tomatoes have seeds.
When I lived in Rhode Island, I found that a water fountain/water cooler is called bubbler (pronounced bubbla). In eastern Pennsylvania, we ate hoagies. But when visiting my grandmother in central Pennsylvania, they were called submarine sandwiches (which freaked me out as a young child because I only pictured those old diesel boats in the glimpses of war movies I’d seen). Now I just call those long sandwiches subs.
You can see how fascinating this subject is to me and I hope I’ve peaked your interest, too. Do you have any examples to share? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below. One lucky commenter will win an advanced autographed copy of my upcoming book, a twist on the Cinderella story called Prince Charming Wears a Badge. It’s the first book in my Tales From Whittler’s Creek series. (Ironically, the “creek” that ran through the playground where I grew up will always be the “crick” in my mind!) Rest assured that none of my characters drive on a rotary/traffic circle or go into the cellar/basement.
I'll announce the winner in the comments section on Saturday, September 24. I’m also giving away a signed copy to one of my newsletter subscribers/patrons/supporters, so sign up today at lisadyson.com!