Friday February 17, 2006


What do you call that fizzy drink? Is it "Pop"? Or "Soda"? Or do you say "I'll have a Coke" even when the beverage in question is colorless?

Did you know that there are distinct geographical differences in how people refer to carbonated soft drinks?

I grew up in Central Pennsylvania where we mostly said "sodapop" or "soda", but recognized the other terms equally well. We knew that people from Pittsburgh (the western end of the state) said "pop" and folks from Philly (to the east) said "soda".

We were beverage-name agnostic because my hometown was also home to Penn State University. When you have people from all over the state living, talking, and ordering drinks, in the same place, the dialects start to merge.

A friend recently pointed me at a web-based graphical survey on the topic, The Great Pop vs. Soda Controversy. The live map at the top of the page is particularly cool.

There's also an excellent US map of results tallied by county. This map shows clearly that, as I always knew, Pennsylvania is split right down the middle.


Now, for the next question, about that sandwich you're eating with your sodapop. Is that a hoagie, sub, submarine, Dagwood, or grinder?

Sodapop ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Fri, 17 Feb, 01:05 Pacific | «e»


Back in 1975, I stayed at a boarding house in Billerica, Massachusetts. The elderly lady who ran the house used "tonic" as a generic term for any carbonated beverage.

I grew up in the mid-west and we called it "Soda" or "Sodapop". But family an hour north called it simply "Pop". Friends in Ohio refered to everything back then as "Coke" - regardless of what it was, clear, orange, etc... nearly twenty years ago I moved out east to the Boston area and they definitely called it "tonic" ... in recent years this has been changing - most likely due to the influx of other cultures. Anyway, one day while I was looking for a clown name, my son asked me for a SodaPop... and fond old memories nudged me and I knew it in that moment that SodaPop the Clown was born- not Pop, not Soda, not tonic, and not coke... just SodaPop... Have a fantastic day!