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Re: CHAT: Soda vs. Pop, was Re: Dialect and register

From:John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Date:Monday, December 30, 2002, 6:18
Morgan Palaeo Associates scripsit:

> According to this, "soda" - the term I expect an American to use, is > slightly _less_ common than "pop" - a term I have never heard at all! > This surprises me.
Note, however, that frequencies are not to be relied on, due to self-selection and other biases. The interesting evidence is the distribution; note that "coke" is practically confined to the southern part of the country. Similarly, on the Harvard survey, almost 50% of the respondents interpreted "the city" (unqualified) to mean New York City, but although this usage could be found sporadically throughout the country, the concentration is around NYC, just as you'd expect.
> I _am_ aware of the conjunct "soda-pop", but I've always assumed that > it's what an American might say to a very young child, perhaps as one > might say "sheepy-baa" instead of "sheep" - it would sound out of > place between adults.
"Soda-pop" seems rural or old-fashioned to me, but not childish as such. Historically it is the original term, of which both "soda" and "pop" are clipped forms: "soda pop" arose when sweet flavoring was added to "soda water", a dilute solution of sodium carbonate ("washing soda").
> However, I'm sure > that I've heard Americans use "soft drink" to mean any non-alcoholic > drink, including fruit juice, so presumably that usage is more common.
I would say that the prototypical soft drink is carbonated and sweet. Milk, which is neither, would hardly be called a soft drink. -- I suggest you call for help, John Cowan or learn the difficult art of mud-breathing. --Great-Souled Sam


Padraic Brown <elemtilas@...>