Date: Mon, 14 Oct 1996 13:59:22 -0400


Subject: Re: Student Q: pop/soda/coke/cola

I should have added my results on POP/SODA/SOFT DRINK a few months

ago, when it was being bruited about generally. So here's a 2nd

chance. The Dialect Topography of the Golden Horseshoe is a survey of

1,015 people around the western tip of Lake Ontario, from Oshawa to

Buffalo, including Scarborough, Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville,

Burlington, Hamilton, St. Catharines, Welland and Niagara Falls. Over

5m people, more than one-sixth of Canada's pop, live in this 250km

strip and more than a million more live on the U.S. side of Niagara.

The survey includes 935 Canadians and 80 Americans. They were asked,

"What do you call a carbonated soft drink?" The wording of the

question was intended to discourage their use of "soft drink" as an

answer, since it seems like the kind of bloodless generic we might use

to avoid the more homely words we really use. In fact, 2% answered

"soft drink"--all were Cdn rather than Amn. Otherwise, the responses

came out like this:

Cdns NYers

pop 85.7% 54.4%

soda 6.4 40.5

coke 2.0 1.3

sftdrk 2.0 --

Other brand names besides coke came up: 1 Cdn & 1 NY said "pepsi",

8 Cdns said "cola" (0.7%), 4 said "ginger ale", and 1 each said diet

coke, 7-Up, soda water, club soda. 1 said he called a soft drink the

"brand name on label".

There were a couple of miscellaneous answers: ade, ale, box drink,

fizzy, effervescent drink. (Oh sure, "May I please have 3 effervescent

drinks?") And one person said "milk".

This is the only response in the survey that shows the NYers divided

in their usage when the Cdns are not. The NY responses may be regional:

Americans right at the Niagara border tend to say "pop" (86%) and

those further away (Syracuse, Oswego, etc.) tend to say "soda"

(67%). Typically, in other questions,the Cdns offer more variants than

NYers, and often offer several where NYers have only one.

Jack Chambers