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Of soda, pop, and "coke"

Posted by Christopher Shea  July 10, 2009 10:53 AM

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An awesome map: "Generic Names for Soft Drinks by County."

Why, I wonder, is Boston a partial holdout from the near-universal New England preference for "soda"? Simple demographic diversity?

(I don't get the "coke" thing at all.)

Click to enlarge

(Via Matthew Yglesias)

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5 comments so far...
  1. The generic use of "coke" in the South (especially the Southeast) is a regional artifact caused by the dominance of Coca-Cola, based in Atlanta. So it's like Xerox, Dumpster, etc., identification of a dominant brand with the whole marketplace.

    Posted by Tim July 10, 09 11:29 AM
  1. I wonder if Boston's lower score on the use of "soda" is not due to our diverse population but rather to the holdouts who still say "tonic." Being a native of the area, I grew up with "tonic" and thought I was switching to the American norm when I began saying "soda" instead. But according to the map, I was still being parochial. "Pop" is unthinkable to me, but it seems the most pop-ular nationwide.

    Posted by Robert David Sullivan July 10, 09 12:27 PM
  1. In regard to the Boston question: maybe because of that great underdog, "tonic"? Without over thinking it, I'm pretty sure I and my (Boston-bred, South Shore-living) relatives use that term fairly often. I think...

    Posted by emmj July 10, 09 02:37 PM
  1. I've frequently heard soda called "soder" in Italian American neighborhoods (where I'm from) in New England. Where does that come from?

    Posted by Stephanie July 12, 09 01:58 PM
  1. We called them "soft drinks" where I grew up in the south, in a county that shows very strong for "Coke" in that map. Or as we pronounced it, "soft drank". Strange. I couldn't believe my ears when I went to New York for college and heard the term "soda"--to me that was what you called "soda water." "Tonic" is a charming local term that I almost never hear anymore in the Boston area.

    Posted by Charlotte K July 13, 09 04:24 PM
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