Wednesday, December 25, 2013

My Dialect Map - I Can't Name the Area Between the Sidewalk and the Road

You see that picture? I have no idea what to call the grass between the road and the sidewalk.

You've probably already taken this quiz from the New York Times. It's exploded across the internet faster than knife fight in a phone booth. Likely, it's gone viral because people love to talk about how they talk.

I don't normally take quizzes (online or otherwise) but since I had plenty of time this Christmas Day, I decided to go for it. It actually doesn't take very long and it pegs you pretty close to where you live. (At least it did for me and Mrs. Permanent Press). I can't show you my map because it's not linkable for some reason. Take my word for it, it's pretty accurate for someone who lives in Columbia, has a father from Augusta, GA and went to college in the Shenandoah valley of Virginia.

To me, the most interesting question was "What do you call the grass strip between the sidewalk and the road?". It just blew my mind. It's so common and everyday, but I've never given that a second thought and I don't have a word for it.  It's not like some weird thing that only exists in Norway.

Anyone got a word for that?

Anyway, I used to think that I had no accent at all, but that changed when I went to Northwestern Indiana for law school. Most of my classmates were from the midwest or the upper midwest. I certainly didn't sound like them. I'd be interested to see their maps. Maybe they have a word for what the grass between the sidewalk and the road is.


  1. hampton's redshirtDecember 26, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    Where I grew up we did not have sidewalks.

    This was before Obama.

    Sure wish we had no didewalks now.

  2. I call it the right-of-way. Which was not offered by the quiz, so I had to answer, "other."