Pop or Soda?

As a Minnesota transplant I’ve noticed a number of terms here that we just simply didn’t use in southern California when I was growing up. If you live in Minnesota you’ll be able to guess some of the more obvious ones like “you bet” or “oof da”, which seems to be losing its popularity amongst the younger crowd, but you get the point. Then, there are the pronunciation differences in words like “roof”. When most Minnesotans say roof it sounds more like the sound a dog makes when it barks than with the long “o” sound that you’d hear in words like choo-choo train. I will admit to having changed my vernacular over the years so that now I have this sort of half Minnesotan/half west coast kind of accent that baffles the best of linguists.

I don’t know when it was that I actually started calling soft drinks pop, but it’s been the term I’ve used for many years now. So much so, that when I visit other parts of the country I’m not really sure what to call it in order to get my point across. If I say, “what kinds of pop do you have?” in the south, I’m afraid they’ll ramble off the different types of guns they sell!

Someone, who apparently feels that what people call soft drinks is a vital issue, actually did a study on it and determined the terms used all over the country. This map has details from each county throughout the United States and how the people in those counties refer to soft drinks.

Click here to see a larger version. The people in Alaska and Nevada seem to have differing opinions throughout the states. How do they manage? Is there a potential for soft drink wars in those states?

The thing that cracks me up the most is the number of states that refer to all soft drinks as Coke. I’m sure the Coca-Cola people are happy, but isn’t that confusing? “Would you like a Coke?” “Sure, bring me a Dr. Pepper.” I’m going to the East Coast next month. Out there it’s soda – besides practicing a Bostonian accent (like I could ever pull that off), I’ll have to remember to call it soda. Maybe I’ll just drink water.

2 comments on “Pop or Soda?

  1. Jackie

    You can really confuse the checkout person here by calling it soda. They’ll ask you where you are from! Believe me, I’ve tried it! :) Enjoy your trip out East!

  2. Anonymous

    I typically say Soda, just b/c I think it sounds more refreshing to say “I’d like a soda please”, instead of “I’d like some POP”.


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