We Americans should all be talking the same by now. Television, chain stores and texting
should surely have expunged from our tongues all those quirky regionalisms.
So why are they still wearing "skips" in parts of Tennessee, "gym shoes" in Chicago and "tennies"
in Southern California, while Long Islanders wear "sneakers"?
How come a "regular coffee" on the West Coast means black but on parts of the East Coast,
notably the Northeast, it comes with cream and sugar?
And something is "wicked good (or bad)" in New England, but "larruping good (or bad)" across a
broad swath of the southern U.S., and either "goodsome" or "badsome" on the island of Ocracoke
off the Carolina coast.
Take a trip this summer around the country and listen to the ways we still talk like we're from here and not there. "Pop" versus "soda" is the classic example, of course.
Here are some more ways that we all still talk the way we talk because we're from somewhere in particular.
Mim Harrison is the author of Wicked Good Words: From Johnnycakes to Jug Handles, a
Roundup of America's Regionalisms (Perigee/ Stonesong Press).