It’s Geographical!


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.


There was a lot of confusion for students from Pennsylvania who came to  Minnesota to go to college.  They thought a soda was a soft drink.  We knew, however, that pop was a soft drink.  A soda was a soft drink with ice cream in it. Preferably root beer with vanilla ice cream, also known as a root beer float or a black cow.

THIS is a float/ice cream soda/root beer float:

Refreshing Root Beer Float with Vanilla Ice Cream

And THIS is pop/soda pop/soft drink:


However, if you head anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon Line and order a Coke, the waitress is going to stand with her pen poised above her order pad and look at you with a question in her eyes.  Why?  Well, because she’s waiting for you to tell her what KIND of Coke. For Miss Southern Belle, Coke is a generic name for all the kinds of soft drinks that ever existed. So if you just want a Coke, you have to say, “I’ll have a Coca Cola, please.” If you don’t, the poor girl is going to feel called upon to recite the list of soft drinks available at that restaurant.

Now that I’ve lived in Pennsylvania for many years, I still think “pop,” but I’m learning to say “soda.” In Minnesota, if I order a soda the waitress is going to ask me what kind of ice cream I’d like in my soda.  See?

I could spend some time on all the other usages of the word float, but I don’t think I will.

Gotta love the English language.

6 thoughts on “It’s Geographical!

  1. the minute the picture popped up I actually salivated! Root beer floats were such a huge part of my teen years. My mind went wandering backwards to age 16 and many memories I thought I had lost immediately came back. So thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m with you on the “float/pop” version. Soda is what you put in cakes. Or soda water.

    As for Penn pronunciations, did I tell you I was standing at a food booth in central PA waiting to order and the lady ahead of me asked for “a cake. ” K-ay-k. I was curious, as I didn’t see such a thing on the menu. The server handed her a Coke. (Like, k-oh-k) that was my first intro to Penn Oh’s being Ay’s. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well now, that’s something I don’t think I’ve heard, either.I wonder how much Pennsylvania Dutch was influencing that lady’s speech. The true PA Dutch (Deutsch) do have a unique sound to their vowels. Interesting. Something I remember from the first year or two we were here is children asking each other for a particular color of “crown.” Took me a while to figure out they were saying “crayon.”


      1. I can’t say anything about this stranger, but the folks we were going to visit were former Amish. I remember the one hymn in church: “Ayoh how Ah luv Jesus.” And then being asked at lunch if we’d like some chili — then being handed a dish of jam.

        Actually all English vowels except ‘uh’ have a slide — the “long” ones anyway: A-y, E-y, I-y O-w Yoo-w. We have to overcome that when we try to learn another language.

        Liked by 1 person

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