When I first moved to Tennessee from Ohio, I was quickly, culturally adapted to the referring of a soft drink, and the accent came even faster. It didn’t take long before I learned that in the south, no matter what your preference of beverage, Sprite, Dr. Pepper even Pepsi… it is still a ‘coke’. Meaning, around here, if you ask someone what they would like to drink and they reply with ‘coke’, you must always follow it up with ‘which kind’? About the only drink that is specified, and specified often might I add, is Mountain Dew.
Now that I have educated you in proper beverage ordering, I must share with you a conversation I had with my son.
While grabbing a coke from the fridge (and by coke I mean a Pepsi) I slipped back into my yankee roots for a second and said to my son, “We’re almost out of soda-pop”. He replied with “No! It’s just soda! Do not say ‘pop’!” I laughed and proceeded to ask him why and he says to me, “Pop sounds so… uncivilized”. (WHAT?) And then he continues to tell me about his friend who moved here from Michigan and how he always says pop and how they have this soda vs pop argument routinely. I explained to him how it varies depending on where you are from…and yet, he still insists that it is just soda. So, I of course had to Google it. And I was ecstatic (so ecstatic, which is why you are reading this post) about finding this interactive website, rightfully titled The Pop vs Soda Page [popvssoda.com].
Pop vs Soda (dot com) has this color coded map of the U.S. that shows in which states each title (including ‘coke’, yay!) is used the most. You can enter your name and email, both of which are completely optional, and you select which word you use along with your state. Then, wa-la… you have contributed to this grand data bank of great debate and left your stamp (color) on the world (U.S. map), and proudly made your stance on what a beverage should be called. Victory!
Now, while I must inform you that my color which represents ‘coke’ across the southern states is not predominant on the board, it does however follow closely behind ‘pop’ which hovers over us, lighting up the northern states… and as for my son and soda, he comes in third (haha) so, I am not completely disappointed. Could this be the way that the south will rise again? Influencing a major change in communication? Eh, probably not…but, if you’re here long enough, we’ll get you with our accent! 🙂
So tell me, what do YOU call your drink?