March 30th, 2010

Survey says

Well, as usual, y’all are fascinating. I had about 16 people answer these questions, so let us remember that these findings are in no way scientific, especially since some of the answers don’t add up since people gave more than one response (both equally valid if they say them both, says I!) But fascinating, absolutely. I’ll run through the answers and in doing so give you mine–I think then you’ll see why I’m asking these questions in the first place.

1) You have a car, your friend does not, you are both going to the same place, and you would like to be helpful–what do you say to him/her?

13 people offered some variation on “Would you like a ride?” while only 3 mentioned what I usually say, which is “Would you like a lift?” (actually, what I really say is, “Could you give me a lift?” since I don’t have a car). I always felt I’d gotten the lift thing wrong, because what’s common in my little town is “Would you like a drive?” I thought maybe it was a rural thing, but in the survey, the lone respondent who used it was an urban Maritimer, so who knows?

2) What is that piece of terry you use to clean yourself in the shower/bath called? (although if Salinger can’t solve this one, maybe I can’t either)

Washcloth got 10 votes, beating out facecloth, which got only 6. I am thrilled–I am a washclother who thought she was outnumbered, but I was wrong! I am disappointed not to see washrag appearing in the survey at all; my suspicions that JD Salinger made it up are probably sadly justified.

3) What do you call a number of houses all designed, built and sold by the same company, on a set of streets where only such houses exist?

Housing development got 6 votes, subdivision got 8, and cookie-cutter homes got 2. Seriously? I didn’t know about these until I went to high school in the suburbs, where these are everywhere and people call them surveys–I assumed the surbanites know of which they speak and have called them that ever since. Although it didn’t occur to me until right now that that word must have something to do with the work of a surveyor in laying out the land plots. Interesting! Also interesting to hear from August that these sorts of uniform residental/commerical villages don’t exist where he comes from. I thought the concept, if not the term, was universal!

4) You have left something at your place of employment–express this in a sentence.

Landslide: 14 votes for variations on “I left it at work,” only one for “I left it at the office,” and none at all for my hometown locution, “I left it at my work.” No idea where that possessive comes from, but since “at work” isn’t really grammatical either, I’m not willing to disown it.

5) Long thin beans that you can eat in the pod–what are the green ones called? What are the yellow ones called?

The green ones are relatively straightforward–13 votes for green beans,1 for beans, and 1 for snow peas (which is a different vegetable entirely where I come from).

Some confusion here with the yellow ones, including several people who declined to vote because they hadn’t heard of them or simply refused to discuss them. From those who participated, 2 votes for yellow green beans (which RR dislikes), another single vote for beans, 5 votes for yellow beans (fine), and only one other vote for what the Rosenblum family calls them, which is wax beans. I have no idea why we call them that, and the other vote is from a Franco-Manitoban, who says its definitely not a French thing. So really we’re no further along than we were before. But you sort of knew this survey was a waste of time before we started, now, didn’t you? Really.

6) What do you call the nipple-shaped plastic thing you put in a baby’s mouth to stop him or her from crying?

Pacifier (what I call it) got 6 votes, soother got 10 (and I do think this is more common in Canada). There were also a couple votes for family/nonsense variations, which are sweet.

7) What are your geographical origins that might impact your diction?

People answered from all over, which made me happy just because it was interesting for me! Thanks for participating in my reindeer games!

This survery brought up a few bonus questions in the comment section and in conversations. If you aren’t bored with this project yet, feel free to discuss:

1) What do you call the evening meal? The midday meal? Does that ever change? For what reason?

2) What do you call the garment you wear between the shower and getting dressed?

3) What do you knocking on the door then running away (as a joke, not a failure of nerve)?

4) What do you call catching a ride while on roller skates/blades by hanging onto the back of someone’s car/truck?

RR

16 Responses to “Survey says”

  • August says:

    Snow peas are the same as sugar peas, and they are an entirely different vegetable from green/yellow beans. String beans of both the green and yellow variety are often sold in grocery stores as 'wax' beans, because they have a waxy texture on the vine (there was many a home garden in my youth), so calling them that seems reasonable to me.

    1) dinner or less often, supper

    2) housecoat

    3) knock knock ginger

    4) stupid (remind me to tell you the story of how I was once dragged by a truck doing 70km/hr for six blocks sans wheels of any kind… it's actually kind of hilarious)

    5) bonus! what do you all the large bit of fabric you use to dry the dishes after washing them? "tea towel"


  • Andrew S says:

    1) The evening meal started out as dinner, but when I lived in the UK it was supper, so now I call it supper.

    2) My client declines to answer. These questions are becoming entirely too personal, and I suspect you really don't want to know.

    3) Nicky-nicky-nine-doors.

    4) bumper-hitching

    Re housing developments, "subdivision" is also derived from surveying. The document the developer submits to City Hall when proposing to develop a site within a planning block is a "plan of subdivision"; it is a plan to subdivide the planning block. Or something like that.


  • Rosalynn says:

    Rebecca, thanks for this tally – I find this stuff totally interesting too, so I'll keep playing:
    1)either dinner or supper – I think supper sounds more casual, not sure why, but I only apply it in more casual situations…

    2)I call it housecoat but for the record, I do not wear it in the situation you described :)

    3) nicky nicky nine doors

    4) I didn't know that people do this, so I don't call it anything! Sounds dangerous.


  • Kerry and Stu says:

    1) Kerry: Evening meal is dinner or supper, midday is lunch.
    Stuart: For most of his life, evening meal was tea and lunch was dinner

    2) Kerry: Bathrobe (though I called it a "housecoat" growing up).
    Stuart: Dressing gown

    3) Kerry: Nicky nicky nine doors
    Stuart: Knock a door run

    4) Neither of us have a name for it, but Marty McFly did it awesome in Back to the Future


  • Amy says:

    This is so cool that you're doing this, Rebecca…

    1. Dinner and/or supper. Interestingly, here in Thunder Bay, "brunch" refers exclusively to a buffet – if you're not eating at a buffet, it's just breakfast. Maybe August can back me up on this (or maybe it's just a weird family thing…)

    2. Bathrobe.

    3. Kick Door Run Fast (I suspect this might be something we got from my French teacher, who was Scottish and would frequently tell us stories about growing up in Glasgow. Cory says "Knock Knock Ginger."

    4. Skitching! Am I seriously the only one?

    Bonus – I've noticed here in Thunder Bay people have "shags," which seems to basically refer to a party you have in order to raise money for your wedding. We don't have anything like this back east, but apparently people in other parts of Ontario have something similar, but with a different name? The whole thing seems really weird to me… also, they refer to snowmobiles as "snow machines," which always makes me think they're referring to the stuff that makes snow on the ski hill… it's really like a whole other world up here.


  • August says:

    Ooops, forgot the midday meal, which is lunch. Brunch is usually held roughly at lunch time, but generally features a buffet of breakfast foods, often on the heavy side

    Amy: in Dryden those are called 'Wedding Socials'.

    'Snow machine' is their right and true name, don't let anybody tell you different.

    Here's a great one. In Dryden and Sioux Lookout (and as far as I can tell, only in those two communities), the old OACs (grade thirteen, generally pronounced "oh-eh-see") was traditionally pronounced "oh-ack".


  • Andrew S says:

    Wedding social?

    Stag and doe.


  • Kerry says:

    When I lived in Nottingham, I learned about Fuddles, which are pot-lucky parties that only exist in Nottingham. I even went to one once. It wasn't very good.


  • August says:

    Andrew: stag and doe is something different here; it's just a celebratory pre-wedding party for the bride and groom. You sell tickets to a wedding social specifically to help raise money to pay for the wedding.


  • Rebecca Rosenblum says:

    Oh, man, this might be the hottest Rose-coloured topic yet!

    1) Lunch at midday, unless it's Thanksgiving, Sunday at my parents', etc., in which case it's dinner. Supper in the evenings, unless I'm going out or having guests or doing something otherwise fancy, which calls for calling it dinner.

    2) Bathrobe or robe. The originator of this question says dressing gown, which is so cute and Victorian that I might adopt it.

    3) Until this conversation, I had no idea people did this regularly enough enough to have a name for it. It wouldn't have occurred to do as a kid, both because it's sorta mean, and I'm not a fast runner.

    4) Again, wouldn't have occurred to me, and no one else I knew did it. Or, perhaps, I just wasn't cool enough to be told about it.

    5) I guess I dry the dishes with a dish towel, but to be honest that is an annonymous item at my house. It's not like it ever goes anywhere, so you never have to ask, "Where's the dishtowel?" It's just…there.

    6) The wedding fundraiser is a hot topic these days! A stag and doe is a wedding fundraiser where I come from, but among my Thunder Bay friends (I have some!) I have heard the term shag. In the city, people just call them tacky, and the way they seem to be done in Toronto, I would certainly agree!


  • Anonymous says:

    skidoo! I know, it's like kleenex, but we call our cloth hankies kleenexes, too.
    1. supper
    2. housecoat
    3. nicky nine doors
    4. bumper hitching
    5. tea towel (especially if it has the castles of England or Austen quotes on it because it's my mum's)

    I will admit that snowmachine is popular in northern BC but it's said by real 'riders' – those who know their gear (kit?), those who 'rip it up'!
    so, gear, kit, or stuff?
    (I love kick door run fast!)
    Gillian


  • Andrew S says:

    August: round here, a stag & doe is usually a fundraiser.

    Rebecca, my (English) mother called it a dressing gown.

    It's a tea towel at my parent's place, and a dish towel at home.

    And everybody talks about nicky-nicky-nine-doors, but nobody ever seems to do it. Kids round here don't do it; instead, they break into my house, steal my car, and squirt ketchup in my eye.


  • Kerry says:

    I once played Nicky Nicky Nine Doors in Spadina Circle when I was drunk, around the turn of the century. Though I don't think I got all the way to nine doors– maybe three?


  • Rebecca Rosenblum says:

    Hey, sorry, I forgot about the snowmobile/snow machine thing. In my town, we call them the first, but that "we" is pretty loose, as certainly no one has ever let me ride theirs, and with good reason.


  • Kerry says:

    Have I told you that Stuart calls bathing suits "swimming costumes"? Now I have.


  • Katherine says:

    1.) The evening meal is dinner. The midday meal is lunch. (This only changes when someone from western Nebraska insists that supper is dinner and dinner is lunch, or some nonsense like that. I just nod and insist we eat soon.)

    2.) Bathrobe.

    3.) I don't have a term for that.

    4.) Umm…car surfing? (I seem to lack the vocabulary for mild delinquency.)

    5.) Dish towel. I was under the impression that tea towels were a type of dish towel.

    6.) I'd never heard of wedding fundraisers.


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