Soda or Pop?


Photo courtesy of Pixabay, photo credits to mrrobenalt

Is it soda, pop, or coke? Dialect is one of the many differences that divide the northern and southern regions (Photo courtesy of Pixabay, photo credits to mrrobenalt).

The United States is a vast and distinct country with dozens of climates and ecosystems. While the physical differences divide the country, the cultural differences certainly divide the country even more. With multiple races, religions, and ethnicities, the U.S. has developed into a diverse nation with millions of unique characteristics. However, the North and South proved to be the most differentiating regions of the country.

“The way of life is the more differentiating quality. The south seems to be more religiously focused, and the way people talk is completely different,” said sophomore Eva Giguere.

Obviously, the weather is a significant agent in their differences, and it influences more than one factor. During the summer in both regions, it’s hot. However, in the South, it’s humid and stormy from May to September. In the North, it’s warm, but there’s hardly any humidity. During the winter, especially in the north, there are constant freezing temperatures and snow. In the South, there are rarely any cases of snow and freezing temperatures.

“The weather can be an alluring quality to either region. It’s where you live every day, so it plays a role in your mood, and the activities available to you,” said Giguere.

A lot of the time, the weather contributes to a population’s attitude. It is a known stereotype that people in the South tend to be more welcoming to strangers; whereas, in the North, people tend to be more closed off. This could be from the shorter and longer seasons of warm weather. In southern cities especially, such as Charleston, hospitality is expected, but in northern cities, not so much.

“I think the difference in attitude has to do with the weather. Since the weather is warmer here, people seem to be more friendly and in a better mood,” said sophomore Natalie DeRosa.

A region’s attitude can be demonstrated by their dialect and slang. In the South, words are drawn out with multiple contractions that aren’t used in the rest of the country. In the North, words are “shorter” or not drawn out as much, and common southern contractions, such as “y’all” or “ain’t” aren’t heard as frequently. Common words are also referred to differently in the two regions. In the North, soda is commonly referred to as “pop”, while in the South, it is known as “coke” or “soda”. “Fixin’” has a different meaning in both regions. In the South, it can mean that one is about to do something or a term talking about food. In the North, however, it simply means one is fixing something. Another phrase that has a different meaning in both regions is, “Bless your heart.” The phrase in the North is a way to show sincerity and care; however, in the South, it’s a sweet way of saying, “You’re an idiot.”

Just like dialect, restaurants also vary in these parts of the country, usually because it’s based off typical cuisine. Chick-fil-a is one of the most common restaurants in the South but is not seen constantly north of Kentucky. This is due to the fact that fried chicken and sweet tea aren’t usually made in the northern states. In the North, people are looking for a coffee and a quick bite to eat. Places like Tim Hortons and Einstein Bros are commonly seen in the North. Bagels are significantly more common; whereas, here in the South, they are hardly seen. Not just in chains, but also in family-owned places, the food served represents the region. The South’s restaurants host some of the most classic southern cuisine, such as shrimp & grits, fried green tomatoes, collard greens, fried okra, and plenty of fried chicken and biscuits. The North houses a collection of northern fish and a blend of American immigrant food, such as Italian, Chinese, Irish, and an abundance of other cultures, mixed with the classic American style.

“Friendly’s and Ashley’s were my favorite chain restaurants in Connecticut, but they don’t have them here,” said DeRosa.

Although the North and the South have extreme differences from one another, they share similarities that bind them together. The regions are filled with Americans who share equivalent views on certain subjects, who share a sense of patriotism, and pride towards being an American. So even though the cultural differences are dense, we are all the same underneath.