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Soda or pop? Coo-pon or cyu-pon? Maps reveal how America speaks

"Beyond 'Soda, Pop, or Coke,'" a research project from Joshua Katz, a doctoral candidate at North Carolina State University, is trending on Google after Katz composed a map showing how people in various regions of the U.S. pronounce such words as "mayonnaise" and "aunt."

Is it soda or pop? PEE-can or pick-AHN? Coo-pon or cyu-pon? You likely have opinions on each of these questions -- very strong opinions, opinions you would fight to the death to defend! 

Joshua Katz, a Ph.D student in the Department of Statistics at NC State University, understands. He's just published a fascinating set of maps that show the different ways Americans pronounce these much-debated words and phrases, taken from data collected by Bert Vaux of Cambridge University.

"I've always found regional variations in dialect really fascinating," Katz told NBCNews.com in an email. "Language says so much about who a person is. To me, dialect is a badge of pride -- it's something that says, 'This is who I am; this is where I come from.' So, just to take one example, being from South Jersey, what everyone else calls a sub will for me always be a hoagie."

Katz, for what it's worth, calls it a soda. And while this data set didn't investigate the gif/jif divide, Katz is a peacemaker: "It might be best to stick to spelling it out G-I-F and just skip the whole issue entirely." This will never happen, but OK.

Aside from the great gif debate, we may never all agree on the "correct" way to say any of these words and phrases, but we can at least try to understand each other. Check out a few of the maps below, and head over to Katz's website to see all 122 (!)

Coke, soda, pop or soft drink? 

Joshua Katz

Car-ml or carra-mel?

Joshua Katz

Coopon or cyoopon?

Joshua Katz

Loyer or law-yer?

Pee-can or pick-AN?

Joshua Katz

May-uh-naze or man-aze?

Joshua Katz

 

Roof, room, broom, root: Do these words rhyme with "food" or "foot"?

Joshua Katz