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Coke, pop, or soda (merged)

Discussion in 'Open Discussion (Work-safe)' started by buckeyefool, Jan 27, 2005.


Soda or Pop?

  1. Soda

    23 vote(s)
  2. Pop

    34 vote(s)
  1. buckeyefool

    buckeyefool He's back and better than ever!

    I think We have discussed this all in the past. I think Cincinnati must be on the fringe because I grew up calling everything coke.

    Pop, anyone? Soda? Generic term for drinks is regional
    <!-- IMAGE -->January 27, 2005 9:36 AM EST
    ATLANTA _ A Coke is a Coke. Except when it isn't.

    And if it isn't, you're probably somewhere in the South.

    In a seemingly homogenous place like the United States, there's still nothing standard about what people in different parts of the country call soft drinks.

    In the South, it's Coke _ or coke, to be generic _ even if you're really asking for a Pepsi. In Minnesota, it's pop. In Arizona, it's soda.

    Confused? For those who study linguistics, the whole thing is nothing short of fascinating. Academicians have studied soft drink terminology for decades, using nationwide surveys and, in recent years, questionnaires on the Internet. What they've found might surprise you.

    "Contrary to the popular opinion that regional diversity is disappearing, it's being maintained and strengthened," said Bert Vaux, who is a linguistics professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Vaux said the differing usage of soda vs. pop vs. coke breaks down so cleanly that it's one of the best ways to tell where someone grew up.

    "It has the clearest regional difference," Vaux said. "It's more useful than 'y'all.' "

    To most Southerners, of course, "coke" is well-known as a generic term for soft drinks, as in, "What kind of cokes do y'all want?"

    Coca-Cola _ the drink, that is _ originated in 1886, while "coke" started to become a generic term in the early 1900s.

    Coca-Cola didn't much like it. But by 1941, company leaders gave in and started using the term themselves. In 1945, "Coke" became an official trademark of Coca-Cola.

    ``You don't want consumers to be asking for `coke' and get something that's less than a Coke,'' said Coca-Cola archivist Phil Mooney.

    "Coke" actually is the least-used of the big three generic terms, but it sounds right to people like Georgia Tech student David Thompson. When the Conyers native hears people use "pop" or "soda," he corrects them.

    "I tell 'em to say it right," he said.

    Alan McConchie took a different approach. As a student at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena in the mid-1990s, he decided to ask people why they said "soda," because he was accustomed to "pop" from his younger days in Washington state.

    In 1995, when the Internet was still just a curiosity for most, McConchie crafted a pop vs. soda vs. coke survey for the Web.

    The results arrived steadily before jumping in 2002, when news reports about his odd project rippled through the nation's media.

    Today, McConchie lives in New York, and his old site is still at it. As of Wednesday, it had counted about 174,000 responses.

    The numbers aren't exactly scientific, but Vaux, who spent much of his career at Harvard before moving to UW-Milwaukee, notes that McConchie's results have proven to be a reliable indicator of trends.

    Bear in mind a few caveats, however. Bill Kretzschmar, a professor of English and linguistics at the University of Georgia, notes that regional differences _ like the use of "coke" throughout the South _ aren't nearly as pronounced in places with a large number of newcomers like Atlanta.

    "It also tends to get watered down among highly educated people," said Kretzschmar, who serves as vice president of the American Dialectic Society.

    Those with more education tend to move around the country, he said, picking up new terms or just adopting benign ones like "soft drink."

    Damon Weisser, born in Southern California, used "soda" until he moved to Montana as a kid, where the local word was "pop." Once back in San Diego to attend college, he adjusted.

    Now? "Everything's soda," he said.

    The only place where there's no debate is in the industry itself. Bubbly products like Coke Classic and Pepsi-Cola are universally known as "soft drinks."

    Just don't expect to see an ad that uses such a term _ it's all about promoting the brand.

    "We really have shied from classifying it any way that could be generic," Mooney said.


    It would be simplest to say "soft drink," but Americans have a host of terms for beverages like Coke and Pepsi, linguists have found. Some highlights:

    -- "Coke" country: Virtually all of the South, including Texas and a bit of New Mexico.

    -- "Pop" territory: Most of the Midwest, Great Plains and Pacific Northwest.

    -- "Soda" usage: The Northeast, parts of the Midwest and all of California.

    -- Regional oddities: There are two huge pockets of "soda" users in "pop" country _ in and around St. Louis and in eastern Wisconsin, notably Milwaukee. In Miami, people use "soda" instead of "coke."

    -- Oldest terms: "Soda" and "pop" are both older than "coke."

    -- Fading terms: "Dope" is falling out of use in the Carolinas. "Tonic" is less common than it once was in Boston.

    -- What about Canada? Exclusively "pop."

    -- Want to cast your vote? Go to
  2. BuckeyeNation27

    BuckeyeNation27 Goal Goal USA! Staff Member


    the douche that thinks "the right way" is coke is just a fucking moron. people called it coke cuz they were too stupid to realize that coke was a brand name of a type of soda. congratulations on being an idiot.
  3. Crump's brother

    Crump's brother Moxahala Park Carnie/ Rehoboth Strangler


    People from New England usually say anything from "soda" to "soder". I have heard "tonic" used, but only by people who drink Moxie...
  4. gbearbuck

    gbearbuck Herbie for President

  5. buckeyegrad

    buckeyegrad Don't Immanentize the Eschaton Staff Member

    To be fair, have you ever asked for a Kleenex? In reality, they are tissues. Kleenex is just a brand name of tissues though a lot of people say they need a Kleenex.

    One regional term I find humorous is that in Wisconsin, water fountains are often called "bubblers".

    And what is with NE Ohio calling the grass between the sidewalk and the road "Devil Strips". I didn't even know that area of grass had a name until I started dating someone from Akron.
  6. BuckeyeNation27

    BuckeyeNation27 Goal Goal USA! Staff Member

    well, i call them tissues......but the kleenex thing happened because there is really only one brand of tissues out there that people recognize.

    soda is different. its like calling all cars fords. and when somebody calls it a car you "tell them to say it right". fucking pompus ass.
  7. Crump's brother

    Crump's brother Moxahala Park Carnie/ Rehoboth Strangler

    Here in Massachusetts, water fountains are bubblers.
  8. strohs

    strohs Go Bucks!

  9. buckeyefool

    buckeyefool He's back and better than ever!

    Have you ever been you atlanta? There they beleive that coke is the only kind. I give yo uan idea I use to work for Max and Erma's, We had a contract that We carried pepsi in all of out stores. We had to start carring coke in cans in the stores there because people were so outraged and refused to eat there because we didn't have coke
  10. MililaniBuckeye

    MililaniBuckeye The satanic soulless freight train that is Ohio St Staff Member Tech Admin

    In Youngstown in the last '60 and early '70s, we used both "pop" and "Coke" for soft drinks. "Pop" would be for anything carbonated soft drink (Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, 7-Up, Squirt, etc.), whereas "Coke" would usually be used only for caramel-colored soft drinks...wouldn't refer to 7-Up as a Coke.
  11. BuckStocksHere

    BuckStocksHere Semper Fi!


    and I was born in Milwaukee... yep that is what we called it...bubbler. Never heard of devil strips. Never heard people call soda coke either...what the hell do you do if you want a pepsi?!?!?
  12. Hubbard

    Hubbard Administrator's Staff Member Bookie

    Pop, defintely
  13. MolGenBuckeye

    MolGenBuckeye Senior

    Never heard that one, and I grew up between Cleveland and Akron.

    Oh, and it's pop.
  14. BuckeyeNation27

    BuckeyeNation27 Goal Goal USA! Staff Member

    thats because people in atlanta are fucking stupid.

    oh well....better shut down my apple (you know, my dell laptop) and hop in my ford (my toyota celica ford that is). when i get home ill watch some magnavox (on my sony TV) and maybe order a dominoes (from pizza hut).
  15. DEBuckeye

    DEBuckeye It ain't easy, bein' cheesy.

    It's POP. Out here they call it soda, and they look at me like I'm from another planet when I say pop.

    My Dad grew up in Wisconsin- he always called them bubblers. Also, popsicles were "coolers".

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