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Friday, December 24, 2004
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Take the Yankee or Dixie quiz (it is actually rather interesting).

My score: 56% (Dixie). Barely into the Dixie category.

I wengt back and didn’t change anything whilst taking the test (and changed my caught/cot to “don’t know”) and got: 78% (Dixie). That is a pretty strong Southern score!

I question the “pillbug” classification. I grew up in Texas and learned the name of the things from my mother, who was born in Alabama and raised in Alabama and Texas. (Update: Mom informs me that she grew up calling them “roly-polies” so “Pillbug” was clearly some kid of Yankee infiltration into the family vocab).

Also: I take issue with the caught/cot question–as I am not sure how much a of diffrence in pronunciation qualifies as a true difference for the quiz. What they need is a question on the pronunciation of pin/pen (if you are from Texas or the Southeast, you almost certainly pronounce them in identical fashion, hence people ’round here saying things like: “ink pen” and ‘’stick pin” so that folks will know what you’re talking about).

Some other indicators:

  • If you pronounce “boil” and “bowl” (or “bohl”) the same way, then you are from the deep South–also you say “oil” like “ohl.” This one took a while for even my Texas-trained ear to digest–when I first heard a local advertisement for a “crawfish boil” I thought the guy said “crawfish bowl”–like it was a football game or something.
  • Do you pronounce Kerry and Carey differently? According to a friend from Boston, the folks up north do, while the folks down here, not so much.
  • How do you pronounce “roof”?
  • How do you pronounce the first syllable of “syrup”? If you say “sur” you are probably from the South–it has been my observation that the more northern types say it like “sear”.
  • And, of course, as Jeff Foxworthy has noted:
    we have words in the south they don’t have in other parts of the country. We goin to the mall, yu’nt to?

    […]

    I like this word alot…aight. That’s a word in Texas…aight. Round lunch time every day, you’ll hear somebody say, “hey jeet yet, naw, dju? Yu’nt to? Aight.”

    If you can translate that last sentence, and it makes perfect sense to you, then you, too, must’ve lived in Texas or the South.

Feel free to add your own.

Hat tip: OTB.

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20 Comments

  1. The “aunt” question bothered me, because the way I say it rhymes with none of the three choices.

    Over my shoulder Deb notes that I don’t have the same accent as most people up here do. Which is why depending on my answers I score either barely yankee or barely dixie.

    Comment by Jay — Friday, December 24, 2004 @ 5:37 pm

  2. Yankee or Dixie?
    One criticism I have is that the quiz doesn’t include the word “greasy” which is pronounced dramatically different in the South than in the North.

    Trackback by Interested-Participant — Friday, December 24, 2004 @ 8:37 pm

  3. There was no question about leaving off the “g” in words like “golfing”.. I personally have said and most likely will say again… “Dr. Taylor, are you goin golfin?”

    On that note, the fact that I have spent most of my life in Texas and now living in Alabama (spent 3 years in Ca, where everyone made fun of my “Can I help ya’ll” shows through…
    “I scored 85% (Dixie). Did you have any Confederate ancestors?”

    Being a true Texan, I must say the survey is wrong because I think of myself as Texan. I have NEVER thought of myself from the south and get offend when someone says I am.

    Comment by lisa — Friday, December 24, 2004 @ 9:09 pm

  4. I got a disappointing 51% Dixie because I was having too much fun checking out where all the answer choices came from.

    Then I read the warning that changing your anwswer could affect the score, took it again and came out with a much more satisfying 78% Dixie.

    I’m a fifth generation Texan, but I don’t have any pronounced accent and I’m an urbanite, so I could hardly expect a higher score.

    I was also surprised by a few ‘Yankee’ terms that were common to my grandmother & mother.

    Wherever did they pick those up?

    Comment by Renee — Saturday, December 25, 2004 @ 10:18 am

  5. The use of “Coke” for carbonated liquid is a dead giveaway for a Texan.

    But we also pronounce oil more like “awl.”

    And when I was growing up, we ate “chicken fried steak.” Here in SC, it’s called “country fried steak.”

    And don’t even get me started on mustard based barbecue.

    Comment by bryan — Saturday, December 25, 2004 @ 7:57 pm

  6. […] the blogosphere lately, and Steven Taylor has added a few phrases to the pile at his site: PoliBlog: Politics is the Master Science � The Yankee or Dixie quiz I would just note that Texas i […]

    Pingback by Arguing with signposts... » Yankee or Dixie? — Sunday, December 26, 2004 @ 1:59 am

  7. I’d like to note the anti-Houston bias. It says I’m more Yankee because I’m from Houston.

    The question about the road alongside a freeway…in Houston, it’s a feeder (as noted by the quiz) or maybe even an access road (rest of the South like the quiz notes). Well, you gain about 8% Yankee by saying feeder.

    Anti-Houston discrimination!

    Comment by austin mls — Sunday, December 26, 2004 @ 5:48 am

  8. I got 83% Dixie which is no surprise, but my husband got 66% Dixie and he’s from southern New Jersey (still technically below the Mason-Dixon line).
    He had to explain to me that pen and pin are actually pronounced differently though.

    Lisa,
    Why would Texas not be part of the South? It was a Confederate State, a slave state and below the Mason-Dixon line.

    Comment by Jan — Sunday, December 26, 2004 @ 2:16 pm

  9. Jan,

    Most folks ’round here don’t count Texas as truly Southern, athough I will grant that in the most generic of senses it is part of the South.

    However, the truth of the matter is: Texas is just Texas. It has serious Southern influence, but it isn’t Southern in the same way that Alabama is–although East Texas is pretty Southern.

    Comment by Steven Taylor — Sunday, December 26, 2004 @ 2:37 pm

  10. I have to update my results on the quiz. I too had changed some of my answers to see where the other answers were from. When I retook it without changing any answers I got 96% Dixie and it asked me if General Lee was my father. LOL!

    Comment by Jan — Sunday, December 26, 2004 @ 2:49 pm

  11. Apparently most of us don’t actually read the directions FIRST. LOL!

    Comment by Jan — Sunday, December 26, 2004 @ 3:05 pm

  12. Nope.

    Comment by Steven Taylor — Sunday, December 26, 2004 @ 3:10 pm

  13. Born, raised, and lived in Mass. for 22 years and quiz barely calls me a Yankee.
    The pop, soda, Coke question is totally
    wrong for New England where the correct
    response is “tonic”

    And I agree, there is a slight difference in pronounciation between
    Kerry and Carey.

    So, my southern brethern, don’t start
    calling yourself “damn Yankees” as a
    result of the quiz.

    Comment by Loran Smith — Monday, December 27, 2004 @ 2:05 pm

  14. Jan,

    Texas is not considered part of the South primarily because of the way it became a part of the U.S., through a war of independence with Mexico, then 10 years as an independent nation before becoming part of the union. That and the fact that we Texans tend to be a little bit more big-headed about ourselves means that Texans don’t count themselves as part of the south.

    You could also consider the fact that although Texas was a slave-owning state and part of the confederacy, it was much more “west” than most parts of the south, with less reliance on cotton as a crop, less of a plantation history, and less of that old southern aristocracy crap that causes so many problems these days with the stars and bars.

    Comment by bryan — Tuesday, December 28, 2004 @ 4:13 pm

  15. Ciao amici miei! sono http://www.blog-buster.net

    Comment by http://www.blog-buster.net — Sunday, January 16, 2005 @ 9:12 am

  16. I am from Louisiana. This is definitely a southern state. I think Texas is for sure a southern state. (Don’t y’all?)…..Well I hate Yankees and the South will rise again!

    Comment by Jamie-Lynn — Thursday, January 20, 2005 @ 4:12 pm

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    Trackback by payday loan — Sunday, March 27, 2005 @ 6:43 am

  18. I was doing a bit of that ol’ net-surfin’ and came across this discussion. Quite interesting…and although it appears from the dates on the posts that the topic has faded out months ago, I nonetheless wanted to give my two-cents worth (which is likely all it IS worth! ~L~) on the subject of Texas being a Southern state.

    I am a fourth generation Texan and have always considered myself a Southerner as well. As well as Texas being a Southern state…although certainly not a TYPICAL Southern state. As someone noted above, Texas is really Texas more than anything else.

    I notice that some of my fellow Texans have excluded the state from the South to varying degrees. Now, that is fine, but it should also be mentioned that this doesnt necessarily make it a truth. What it DOES say is that these particular Texans have an opinion on the matter. Which leads to the crux of that enduring question: Is Texas a Southern state?

    East Texas is truly the Deep South…its western most extension. Trans-Pecos Texas (out around El Paso) is probably not culturally even part of Texas, much less the South. But what about in between?

    With all due respect to the poster who dismissed the influence of the cotton culture, I must say it is just flat wrong. Cotton has always been king in Texas. It was the leading crop before, during, and after the War Between the States. By virtue of those old western movies (which were actually filmed in southern California and Arizona..and give a lot of people a false image of the state) the cattle and cowboy icon took hold, but in reality, it was cotton that made up the bulk of agricultural and rural pursuits in Texas.

    I’d make a standing bet with anyone that, gather up 100 Texas men and women over the age of 65 and 90% of them will remember tenant farming and cotton chopping as being a staple of their youth.

    Anyway, this subject could be one of a full-length book, but let me just end it by saying that all the things that make Texas Texas are basically Southern in origin. The dialect, the folkways and customs, the Confederacy, the religion (the Southern Baptist church is easily the largest in the state), the food (black-eyed peas on New Years Day),and etc.

    Ok…I have spoken my piece! LOL And if anyone would like to discuss/argue/agree with me, feel free to drop an e-mail!

    Comment by Randy — Monday, May 9, 2005 @ 9:50 am

  19. That was an original.
    According to that, I’m 96% Dixie, don’t know what tripped me up since I should be 100%.

    On the question of Texas being “Southern” or not…I’m from Georgia, and I don’t really consider Texas to be Southern. Texas is Texas and sure they helped out when the North started the violence but Texas is in a league of it’s own. The true South is not based on a line anyway; it’s culture, cuisine, certain manners, priorities and philosophy. While Texas shares some aspects with us, especially the important ones, the subtle differences make Texas something else.

    Comment by eric k. — Tuesday, July 5, 2005 @ 9:43 am

  20. Eric’s comments were interesting, and not really far out of line with my own observations. I maintain that Texas is part of the South, although certainly not a typical member of the family. As Eric noted, there ARE some subtle differences with her former Confederate sisters that make Texas unique. A few that come to mind are the hispanic influence, the “cowboy” tradition (although it is important to note that the original Texas cowboys are the direct decendant of the Old South “cattle drovers.”), the topography of the state (with the exception of East Texas, and certain timbered parts of north and central Texas, a lot plains and prarie), and the influence of the oil industry and concerns.
    However, again, most of the things that make Texas Texas are Southern in origin.

    Comment by Randy — Saturday, August 20, 2005 @ 10:01 am

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