The NYTimes 25-question American Language Guess-Where-You're-From map/algorithm

The NYTimes 25-question Guess-Where-You’re-From-Test

The Graphics Editor got the sole credit, which is unprofessional. No name of linguistics data specialists. Any ideas, or comments on the make-up of this particular one? I’ve seen some others, but not so detailed, and w/o the graphics, so this is a good one, I think.

Also, how did it do with you or your SO?

Me, on the nose. It said it nailed me on the tri-fecta of “sneakers.”

ETA: Brits and other Anglos could have a spin also. Hell, all 'ferners. See what turns up.

I grew up in two towns, 100 miles apart. It nailed both of them.

While I’m guessing this isn’t GQ, I’m pretty amazed how well it tagged me. I grew up smack dab in the middle of the three cities. My wife on the other hand was not so good…one city was somewhat close to where we currently live. Other two were way off base.

I took it last night, and it said Alabama.
Today, correctly Little Rock, AR but again two additional choices in Alabama.
My paternal grandfather is from Alabama, my Mother and family from Tennessee.

Eh. Ran it a couple times, which asked me some different questions. It gives me a map with a generally red area and a generally blue area separated by a fairly sharp diagonal extending from about El Paso up into Western New York state. It utterly can’t make up its mind within that area - Cleveland, Madison, Milwaukee, Omaha, Modesto, Stockton …

Actually I grew up in rural NW Pa south of Erie. I do note that the diagonal I mentioned gives a little red band along the Great Lakes in Ohio and Pa while fading to blue down by Pittsburgh. I’ve lived for many decades in the west, though - Mt, Co and Ca. I suspect that some of the pronunciation questions tag me as Northeast, but I’ve picked up enough usages like “frontage road” to confuse it. Actually, I find that one surprising - it claims “frontage road” is a Rocky Mountain states usage, plus the Dakotas. At any rate, I’m definitely NOT midwest.

Me too.

NE Arkansas but tagged 3 cities in Alabama.

Right state, wrong area. Born in LA area, live in SJ area. Not Modesto at all. But close!

Moderator Action

This seems like more of an MPSIMS thing than a factual question.

Moving thread from General Questions to Mundane Pointless Stuff I Must Share.

I was born and raised in Sacramento. When I took the test last night, it didn’t pin me down exactly, but gave me three cities within 100 miles or so in the Central Valley. I’d say that’s pretty close. I tried again today and got different questions, resulting in two of the same cities, plus Santa Rosa (north of San Francisco).

It thinks I’m either from Kentucky or Georgia. There’s a red band of “most similar” that runs through Kentucky and up though West Virginia, and another splotch in Georgia. I’m actually from northern West Virginia (and now live in southern PA) so I’m at least in the northern similarity band.

ETA: For actual cities, it named Louisville and Lexington in Kentucky, and Columbus, Georgia.

It gave me Northern Virginia as the first choice, which is pretty darned close (I’m from the MD suburbs of DC, not the VA ones). The other two were Springfield, MO and Indianapolis, and I’ve never been near either place nor do I have relatives there, so not sure where that came from.


I lived in Teaneck, NJ from age 1-3 and then in Manhattan from age 3-6. After that, all my English comes from my parents, TV and books. My dad’s from NYC and Teaneck, and my mom’s from Atlantic City.

I got New York City and Yonkers. Not bad.

Incidentally, it seems as though the tri-state area is the only place in the country where people pronounce Mary, merry and marry each in a different way. I wonder why that is.

Pretty spot-on for me.

Unless they changed it before I did it, the study authors are credited at the bottom of the results page (Bert Vaux and Scott Golder). I would’ve like to give multiple answers on some of these but I guess it’s difficult.

It got my birth city (grew up next to it), one city in the same county, and another a count or two away (depending on if water is a border). Oakland, Fremont, Santa Rosa. But, the “These maps show your most distinctive answer for each of these cities” part is bizarre Oakland = WTF they have drive-thru liquor stores? And the other two = firefly. The thing is, I have never noticed the former anywhere in the Bay Area (or the west, unless I’m mistaken), and the nearest state I can tell that has fireflies is 4 (big) states away. I guess fewer people from far off move to Santa Rosa.

Salt Lake City!!! Fresno! Anchorage I can understand, sorta, having been born and reared in Winnipeg.

But Salt Lake City? Well, I, for one, am shocked and appalled. But I, for one, was shocked and appalled at the same result in another test like it that I took a while ago, thanks to a Dope poster linking to it, so I guess I’m not quite as shocked and appalled as I was then.

Who’da thunk Salt Lake City and Winnipeg could be alike in anything, unless the test is a few lines of latitude short of a full globe.

Hah…I’m an Aussie, and the three cities cited were Yonkers, New York and Ft Lauderdale.


I did it 3 times and got a slightly different set of questions each time. However, it correctly called me for Cleveland all 3 times. (The other 2 guesses were all different ones each time, though.) There was no way it could miss. “Tree lawn” is pure Cleveland and noplace else.

It sure nailed my location.

I think “Bubbler” gave it away, though…

We have no fireflys and no drive thru liquor stores, but Oakland has plenty of “drive-by’s” so…

The drive-through liquor store question may be the tie in the test between Winnipeg and Salt Lake City (I assume Salt Lake City doesn’t have them). I doubt there are any in Canada.