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The British-Irish Dialect Quiz (nytimes.com)
74 points by open-source-ux 30 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 48 comments

"How do you refer to your mother?"

I say "mother", why is that not in the list of predefined answers!?!

"Which of these words (if any) would you use for a baby?"

Baby. I say "baby" to describe a baby. How is this also not in the list of common answers!

I say many words for many things, e.g. I also say "sprog" for baby which was one of the predefined answers. What I can't understand is why these predefined answer sets don't contain the question word, do people really use (for example) "baby" less frequently than "sprog" to refer to a baby so it wasn't listed? Seems unlikely to me.

I think that's because those answers don't do anything to place you on the map. If you use "baby" to describe a baby, you could be from anywhere. So it's not a useful choice for this test.

Because they want to know what dialect you speak so it’s sort of pointless to ask about words everyone uses.

But "baby" (in this example) is the most common word I use. That is data too. Perhaps there is a part of the country were "baby" is more commonly used than anywhere else. Perhaps there is a part of the country where only "baby" is used. Maybe there is somewhere were its scarcely used.

Admitedtly I don't have their data set but I do see it as valid data/an answer. For example, they may have found that in one part of the country (because you can submit your location at the end) everyone uses "baby" and "sprog" and no others and that combination is unique to that area.

The "if any" questions mean just that. If you're not there, move on.

They got it bang on for me.

I'm actually quite impressed because I don't have a particularly strong regional accent, people find it hard to place me other than "Northern".

Same for me - people are surprised I'm from Liverpool as I don't have a strong accent but this got it absolutely bang on.

I'm in North America, and one of the questions that struck me was naming a running body of water smaller than a river.

My answer was based on the naming of bodies of water near where I grew up, which originated from English settlers...

I'd be interested in seeing something similar that captures all areas where English is spoken as a first language.

This older quiz from the same source, covering the US, came up in a comment here the other day: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/upshot/dialect-quiz...

The questions are quite different (presumably chosen based on what will segment readers suitably) and I don't recall anything about running bodies of water. So we don't get to compare, and it isn't sufficient to answer what you want - but it's interesting if you haven't seen it already.

To me as a Swede, it was interesting to see so many cognates with Swedish. Often, I could have chosen a downright Swedish word if I wanted to. "beck" for the running body of water smaller than a river for instance.

Creeks and the like are an interesting one. Small valleys too: gully, gulch, arroyo, hollow, etc...


Interesting to see the diversity in Oregon, Washington, and Utah.


>one of the questions that struck me was naming a running body of water smaller than a river.

Interesting. Brook, stream, rivulet are some that come to mind, off the top of my head.

>I'd be interested in seeing something similar that captures all areas where English is spoken as a first language.


Highlighted Belfast and Aberdeen for me, and I'm raised in Belfast; Scots words are present in Hiberno- and Scottish-English so seems fair enough.

Nothing highlighted in the south, which makes sense I only lived in Herts between the ages of 0 and 3. Although In this short time I did learn to pronounce the vowels in words like 'shower' and 'power' with the /aʊ/ vowel, whereas in Belfast it's pronounced with a /ɑː/ vowel, so they sound like "Shar" and "parr".

Pretty impressive to be honest.

This quiz located my Scots coworker to within a few miles of his home.

Located Scots me South of Oxford. So not perfect.

In fairness, it just mentions the most frequently disclosed location for other respondents who answers similar to our own. It doesn't appear to do anything predictive.

Did a reasonably good job of locating this Scot - didn't ask about loons and quines (just bairns) so not hugely specific ;-)

But did you attend Oxford?

this school in particular has a peculiar habit of changing speech as a byproduct of attendance...

They think this Florida boy wasn't raised in Britain or Ireland.

After 25 questions it got it loosely right, but after 99 it was able to pin me down to a very accurate degree around the East Midlands area (I'm from Nottingham)

Also coming from Nottingham, I've always believed the area to have a slightly non-descript dialect. Was surprised just how localised some of my choices were.

I answered questions and regularly got a heatmap that put me in the south/southwest(of London) which was reasonably accurate, but the final result had a heatmap for Devon and Cornwall - and Lincoln? Bizzare.

I spent the first 10 years of my life in Swindon, then moved to Hampshire until late teens - I have a strong Home Counties accent but for some reason the test goes haywire for Cornish inflections.

It didn't do too badly, mostly had me pegged, but some of my parental influences skewed the answers as well. While my accent is about 100% Home Counties, I have a number of phrases and words that I use that come from my Northerner father. There's some more west country specific words from my early childhood that came in, too, like "Daps" for trainers.

Narrowed me down to Yorkshire very accurately.

Aye, me too and our accent isn't noticeably Yorkshire, I suspect "bread cake" would be enough on it's own though.

Good enough for Rotherham/Sheffield (me), but not Barnsley where they call them tea-cakes.

Yeah, never heard of that. It's a barm for me.

What? Surely it's bap?

Nope. It's a barm.

In Barnsley it's a tea-cake, which to me is just wrong because tea-cakes have currants. :-)

Narrowed me down to Yorkshire as well - wrongly, because I come from the north-east. My mother grew up in Derbyshire, so perhaps it split the difference.

Yeah, it got me too, despite that I moved from Yorkshire to New Zealand when I was 12.

Impressive. After 25 questions it identified the city I was born in and where I spent the first eighteen years of my life. Despite having lived elsewhere for over thirty years I obviously still have some of the accent I grew up with.

I was also surprised to see this in a US-based site.

My heat map was red for the UK place I was brought up in AND the city I currently live near (both in the south, about 70 miles apart). It also omitted the northern city where I lived for eight years and never felt that I picked up the accent. Nice.

Utter failure for me - but that’s likely because I have the “non-geographical” RP accent, with a confusing mid-Atlantic twist.

Still, neat, and just learned a whole bunch of new words to play with.

I lived in Cambridge for 5 years in the 1980s. My English must be skewed to the American variety by now, but the result was quite accurate.

Or should I say spot-on?

Pretty fun, round these parts we use a pretty specific word for a 'round piece of bread' which narrowed my area down quite well.

Nice little thing. Got my hometown perfectly!

> Way off! Your answers don't fit here at all.

Which is probably about right, as I know my English is a right mess.

Grew up in Australia, lived in South East England for 13 years, shared a house for five years with a bloke from Yorkshire, socialised through sport with a load of Scots, my best friend lives in Ireland and I now live in Central Europe.

Should I have answered the questions as I now use words or how I did previously? E.g. I used to call the evening meal tea, but now refer to it as dinner.

For sure, I know that I also moderate my language depending on social setting and who is present.

Only 70 miles out. Had me in Blackpool but I grew up and live in Irlam/Eccles of Greater Manchester.

Limerick a boy da kid, perfect match

Highlighted Dublin for me. Spot on!

Narrowed me down perfectly.

I went to school in Oxford and that's what it came up with.

Identified which street I was brought up on!

Yeah, seems like there are some questions that are incredibly specific at localising. For me, it was the name for the metal cover for drains - I answered 'stank' and it guessed Glasgow and immediate surrounding areas, which is exactly right... I guess most areas have this sort of shibboleth - in fact, that's basically what the term means I suppose!

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