Speaking American got us all talking at Washington Square. How do you say “crayon” or “coupon” or “grocery store”? Do you say pop or soda, scratch paper or scrap paper, takeout or carry-out, drinking fountain or water fountain or bubbler? It probably depends on where you are from in the U.S.
We have had so much fun looking at the maps of where words are used and reading the short entries on the idiosyncracies of certain states or even cities. My wife, from Kansas, hates that I say, “You want to come with?” You can’t end a sentence with a preposition, right? Well, the majority of people in Minnesota and Chicago do. Bingo, I’m from Chicago. My colleagues tested me by asking what I called shoes that you wear for sports. Gym shoes, of course. Well, only in Chicago or Cincinnati. Everyone else says either “tennis shoes” or “sneakers.”
I was also happy to see crayfish-crawfish-crawdad in there. Throughout our marriage, we have jokingly tried to convince our kids that those crustaceans are called crayfish (Chicago) or crawdad (Kansas). When I showed it to my wife it started the debate again and she said, “They aren’t fish.” Then I said, “Well, they aren’t dads either.” After a second more to think, I said, “Well, at least half of them aren’t.”
Also, now I know why my brother who moved to Connecticut started saying tag sale rather than garage sale.
You will love looking through this book, especially if you do it with someone else.