Regional vocabulary differences

Lazar   Thu Oct 06, 2005 8:23 am GMT
This is a thread for discussing regional variations in vocabulary. Let me start off by asking:

Do you call a carbonated beverage "soda", "pop", "coke", or something else?

And do you use the term "drinking fountain", "water fountain", or "bubbler"?

I use "soda" and "bubbler", both of which are predominant in Massachusetts.
Frances   Thu Oct 06, 2005 12:15 pm GMT
1. Soft drink
2. Drinking fountain
Rick Johnson   Thu Oct 06, 2005 12:19 pm GMT
"Pop" or "soft drink" are the generic terms used here

I would say "water fountain"
Miami Vice   Thu Oct 06, 2005 12:29 pm GMT
1. "Bubbled sugar" or "empty caloric guzzler"
2. "Blowing Bub" or "wee-wee spout"
Geoff_One   Thu Oct 06, 2005 1:08 pm GMT
carbonated beverage = soft drink
"drinking fountain", "water fountain", or "bubbler" -> all seem familiar
lollies instead of candy
biscuits instead of cookies
scones instead of biscuits
recruit instead of hire
sack/axe instead of fire
footpath instead of sidewalk
boot (of car) instead of trunk
flat instead of apartment
wait instead of wait up
are you finished instead of are you done
mobile phone instead of cell phone
aeroplane instead of airplane
jumper instead of sweater
woollen skirt instead of jumper
disciplined instead of grounded
Year 4 instead of sophomores
Year 3 instead of freshmen
expressway instead of freeway
fairy floss instead of cotton candy
you people instead of you guys
public service instead of civil service
High School dance instead of Junior-Senior Prom
High School Matriculation instead of High School Graduation
petrol station instead of gas station
solicitor & barrister instead of lawyer
holiday instead of vacation
try instead of touchdown
gridiron instead of American football
HD, D, Cr, Ps, Fail etc instead of A, B, C, D, E
Primary School instead of Elementary School
Autumn instead of Fall
High School Football Team instead of Varsity Football Team
Chemist instead of Drug Store
Damian in Scotland   Thu Oct 06, 2005 2:35 pm GMT
Water fountain by most people in our office complex tho' a few seem to say bubbler - I think. It's either coke or a cola but I usually use the type of soft a sprite or a lilt or whatever.

A lolly..usually on a stick..can be an ice lolly
A biscuit covers all types...sweet or savoury..loads of varieties

Scones....a small circular type of cake...usually but not always with sultanas of current type things....spread with butter and sometimes with jam and whipped cream

Recruit someone to a job. Most recruitment departments are called human resources

Sack for dismissal from a job...sometimes given the push or sent down the road.

Living in a flat will be fun
Walk on the pavement or you will get knocked down
Go to the chemist for prescriptions or pills and stuff
Put all your stuff in the car boot. Lift up the bonnet to find out what's up with your car and fill up with petrol on way home at the petrol/filling station then ring up mum on my mobile to make sure she has my dinner ready
Footpath is a narrow pathway through trees or across a field
Get an earful from a mate on the mobile and then say "are you finished?"
Look forward to your holidays in Ibiza travelling by plane
Now it's autumn the leaves are turning colour
I often exceed the speed limit on the motorway - if a copper books me I will consult a solicitor and in the sheriff's court I'll say "now listen up you guys I was late for work".
I've never had candy floss in my life - it looks minging
The Civil Service - bunch of bureaucrats
I get fed up waiting in a queue
I got bullied even in primary school
High Schcool
Scotland: Standard, Higher and Advanced Higher certificates then university (uni to most people).
A try in Rugby
Mitch   Thu Oct 06, 2005 2:54 pm GMT
From my Chicago days:

"Pop" seems to be universal for soft drink.
"Water fountain" is used--"bubbler" is considered a Milwaukee term.
"Soda" is used for what would be called an "ice cream soda" elsewhere.

There is also something called a "chocolate phosphate," which is quite good, despite its name. In Chicago, it's basically like a New York style "egg cream" without the milk--chocalate syrup and selzer water.

I'm sure that there are also other Chicago terms, but the only other one that comes to mind after so many years away is "gaper's block." It refers to a traffic jam caused by motorists slowing down to look at an accident. (When I was a kid, I thought that it was an actual location in Chicago!) That time of traffic jam seems to be referred to differently everywhere I go.
Travis   Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:23 pm GMT
I myself exclusively use "soda" instead of "pop", and "bubbler" instead of "water fountain", which to me sounds overly formal and a bit unfamiliar in actual usage. And yes, I'm from the Milwaukee area. ;)
Hales   Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:32 pm GMT
I am an Italian med student. My teacher asked me to write a short text about edema. I do not speak English very well. Thus, I ask someone of you to correct my text in grammar and language. The text is at Make your correction and send me an e-mail.
Rick Johnson   Thu Oct 06, 2005 6:07 pm GMT
Baked-goods are usually the most confusing as their name changes not only between different nations, but also within them.

Muffins, buns, teacakes, biscuits can all decribe a variey of different things in different areas. Where I live a teacake is a bread product with currants, but only about 20 miles North in Lancashire (and in other parts of the country) it is the same type of thing but without currants. A friend of mine (from Burnley, Lancs) made the mistake of asking for a chip teacake in Manchester- the woman looked at her strangely the put the hot fried potatoes in a curranted teacake! Incidentally, the correct term in these parts for what she actually wanted is a barmcake or just "barm". Also a teacake can be a chocolate-covered marshmallow such as the Scottish Tunnucks teacake.

A bun in the UK is what would be described as a muffin or cup-cake in the US.

A muffin in the UK is a round bread product much like what I might call a barmcake
Lazar   Thu Oct 06, 2005 8:02 pm GMT

<<I myself exclusively use "soda" instead of "pop", and "bubbler" instead of "water fountain", which to me sounds overly formal and a bit unfamiliar in actual usage. And yes, I'm from the Milwaukee area. ;)>>

I was eager to see your answer, since you're from Wisconsin, which I think is a fascinating state in this regard. This map: shows the distribution of "pop", "soda", and "coke" in the United States. Eastern Wisconsin is an enclave of "soda" surrounded by "pop" areas - "soda" being more associated with the Northeast and California.

This map: and these maps: also indicate that Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island are pretty much the only places where people say "bubbler".

It's interesting how Wisconsin seems to share some regional vocabulary with the Northeast, and in the case of "bubbler", specifically with Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Kirk   Thu Oct 06, 2005 8:54 pm GMT
I still have yet to meet anyone in my life who says "bubbler" for "water/drinking fountain." Before reading about it a few months ago online (probably here) I had no idea "bubbler" existed.
Frances   Thu Oct 06, 2005 9:04 pm GMT
When I hear flat, I think of something that's not above ground floor or something that is dinghy for some reason. Apartment is gaining currency here.

For me, a teacake is a plain cake with no sultanas.

Bun is a bready based product that is either round or oblong in shape. Sweet or savoury. Can have sultanas and other things in it or not.

Muffin is again a bready based product and is most often that not, sweet, and will tend to have more flavours (eg chocolate etc) than what you would have in a bun. They are always circular type things often in a thin paper with ridges and with a raised top.

Biscuits covers anything thats circular, relatively flat and is baked and is hardish.

Scones is what Damian says.

For a druggist (drugstore), we say Chemist or Pharmacist interchangeably.

Everything else is pretty much like what Damian and Geoff_One says. In regard to High School, each state has its own special name. In South Australia, year 12 (final year of high school) is called either "year 12" or "SACE" (S. Aust Certificate of Education). Before it used to be called Matriculation (year 12), Intermediate (year 11) and Leaving (year 10).

In regard to "lawyer", that refers generally to anyone in that profession. A solicitor is where clients go to and the case gets briefed to a barrister if the matter goes to court. The barrister represents the client in court. Most states in Australia will allow a lawyer to practice as both. We don't use "attorney" except for a "patent attorney" (intellectual property).

Lolly is any type confectionary but not chocolate and usually refers to hard boiled sweets or gummy confectionary. Lolly water is a derogatory name for soft drink (or soda or pop for those who use that). An ice lolly would be an ice block in Australia.
Tiffany   Thu Oct 06, 2005 9:23 pm GMT

Soda for the carbonated beverage.

Pop is short for Lollipop, but we used lollipop mostly.

Water fountain for the fountain you drink water out of.

I am unaware of any other terms we use that are unique to Florida, but maybe I'll remember some later.
Rick Johnson   Thu Oct 06, 2005 9:37 pm GMT
Jam, Jelly, preserve, conserve & marmalade are also words that exist in all English speaking countries, but are used differently. Jam is the generic term for all products of this type in the UK. In the US the generic term is jelly, which although the term is used in the UK for a clear jam tends to be more associated with Jello (US). Marmalade I think is used universally for products made from citrus fruits. God only knows what the difference between a conserve, a preserve and a jam is tho'- answers on a postcard please!!