Monday, January 31, 2011

Being a teacher often means being a nerd

So the latest meme seems to be this fun, regional linguistics game. As an English teacher, I am fascinated by linguistics and regional differences. It's one of the things I love about language. It changes. It varies. I love idioms and fairy tales and urban legends. And I love linguistic differences. They fascinate me. So that is my justification for putting this on my blog. I watched 4 this morning, actually, one after another. Bonnie, who went to high school with me and lives not too far. Bethany, who has lived in San Diego twice, but did not grow up here. And Sarah and Lauren, from the UK and Australia, respectively. What a trip! I learned that Lauren calls when the rain falls and it's sunny a sunshower, which is way prettier than what my freak of a family says. I also learned that Bonnie and I have some freakshow things in common, like our pronunciation of "both." It was fascinating to watch them all in a row like that, and really made me want to play along. Just for some slight background, I lived near Salt Lake City, UT until I was 5 or so, then 5 years in Tempe, AZ. Since then, I've been a Cali girl. Mostly San Diego, but I did spend my college years in the Bay Area, and therefore use "random" like it's slang and occasionally (god help me) even say "hella."

Disclaimer: I'm sorry I look like hell. It was a very late night and my body forced me awake too early today. I really do, too, but the video itself isn't too horrible, and I had technical problems that led to me doing this several times, so I shan't be going for beauty this run.

Here are the rules:

The word list: Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil, Theatre, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught

And the questions: 
What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?
What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
What do you call gym shoes?
What do you say to address a group of people?
What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
What do you call your grandparents?
What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
What is the thing you change the TV channel with?

Untitled from summer hellewell on Vimeo.

And here is my video! I know I'm late to the game, but if anyone new wants to play along, or if I missed yours somehow, post it in the comments! I would LOVE to do this with my students. I might show them, just for fun. Maybe as part of an idiom lesson, we'll do something crazy similar with regional expressions. That would be fun!


  1. MIne!

  2. Ah, there's another one for the list: herb!

  3. you mentioned Utah: When I moved here from Colorado I noticed several very strange pronunciations:not sure if they are trying to speak Pirate (arrr, maties)

    horse (pronounced in central Utah= harse as in h-are-se) likewise
    corn (c-are-n) carn, also
    born (barn)
    barn (born)
    someone said to me, "its the only place where you can be barn in a born."

    How about creek? is it crick or creek?
    Where I come from, we pronounced it with a long e
    here it is a crick (maybe that is because crickets live nearby?)

    how do you pronounce apricot? Long a or short a?
    My mom comes from Kansas, they pronounced it with a long a, and that is how I grew up pronouncing it. People around here say it with a short a.

  4. Annie, I say apricot with the long A, but everyone in San Diego mocks me for it. I never know how to say creek, but think I've settled into the long E as I've gotten older. Thanks for sharing!I love your pronunciations of "barn in a born." That's awesome!

  5. I love that you're an overpronouncer like I am. :-)