From “here’s you a piece of pizza” to “this glass needs washed,” every state has its own set of phrases that can seem bizarre to the rest of the English-speaking world.
Now researchers at Yale University have revealed these patterns by documenting the subtle differences in sentence structure across the US.
Their interactive map allows you to click on a location and see what common phrases users have submitted for their area as part of the project.
“Unlike variation in phonology (often referred to as accent) and in the lexicon (different words), variation in grammatical systems within English has for the most part not been systematically investigated,” says Larry Horn, professor of linguistics and philosophy at Yale University.
“This variation may be found among speakers who live in a certain geographical region, or who belong to a certain age group, or to a particular social or ethnic group,” notes Horn.
The researchers were not interested in what is considered to be correct – or prescriptive – grammar, but in what people do naturally.
During the past year members of the project have been conducting nationwide surveys using an online crowdsourcing platform asking for people’s judgment on sentences.
The team have also created a comprehensive guide that lists the different types of sentence structures used.
Yale Grammatical Diversity Project – http://microsyntax.sites.yale.edu