Pop vs. Soda

Pop vs. Soda – a color-coded map of the United States. I feel sorry for my sister, having left the cozy “pop” confines of Indiana for the crazy “soda” land of California. Unfortunately I myself have lost the “pop” habit a bit (since nobody in the UK or Australia understands it). I still say “pop machine” and “case of pop” though.


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  1. Wow–look at all of that “pop” territory. You yankees are everywhere! Now, who wants a Coke? 🙂

  2. Great link Kris. This language stuff is fascinating! I had no idea so many people in the States use ‘Coke’ as a generic word?! You learn something every year.

    A lot of Aussies (myself included) seem to use ‘lemonade’ as their generic word. I didn’t realise how weird I was until a London waiter just stared at me when I asked for ‘orange lemonade’. Heh 🙂

  3. Ah, but to an American, Claire, both the British and the Aussies mis-use the term “lemonade”. To us, lemonade is a non-fizzy drink made from lemons, sugar, and water (or from a powdered mix). In the UK it was often used for any non-cola fizzy drink offered in a pub. Every time I asked for lemonade there I was given a big glass of clear, bubbly Sprite (or something very like it). I can see where asking for an “orange lemonade” would get you into trouble though… 🙂

  4. i made the mistake of taking change from everyone in the office this very last week while we were spring cleaning, and i kept saying, “anybody want a pop? i’m goin’ to get some pop!” to lots and lots of snickers and comments of “you’re such a hillbilly!” it doesn’t help that everyone here is generally either from southern california OR the EAST COAST. i stand alone in my pop drinkage. screw those soda-chowda-prada lovin’ bastards.

  5. I prefer sparkling beverage. And I can’t tell you how many bartenders I have confused by ordering a rum & cola.

  6. I grew up having “fizzy drink” or “soft drink” on special occasions… Got a very confused look when I asked for a “soft drink” on holidays in LA (almost as good as when I offered an American backpacker a “chewy”)

  7. That is impressive. My move to, er.. “yankee country” has not affected my Coke-snobbery, thank gods.

  8. i have always called it soda, although my entire region is clear pop-land. ah well… just another sign of my freakiness!

  9. I’ve grown up with the generic term for anything non-alcoholic being a “soft drink” but I think I normally vary what I called em depending on what country i’m in.

    Very interesting to see the map and the large areas where the terms exist though.

    re the lemonade question, I’d call homemade lemonade the non fizzy type but lemonade would normally mean the fizzy kind.

  10. no one understands pop in the uk? i’ve always used it! maybe it’s more kid orientated though and adults say ‘soft drink’ or ‘fizzy drink’ more. though i’d say ‘soft drink’ is more general – anything non-alcoholic not just carbonated stuff.

    i expect soda to be fizzy water, not any old fizzy stuff. and i expect coke to be coca-cola, not any old fizzy stuff.

    lemonade gets you into trouble the other way cross the atlantic too – asking for a ‘jack daniels and lemonade’ in the us is a big mistake! is there a us generic word that means ‘sprite or 7up or somthing like that’? i’d say ‘homemade lemonade’ for stuff made from actual lemons but i don’t think i’ve ever seen it sold only made it at home so asking for it’s never come up.

  11. you know, i TRIED to tell Lovey’s family that all throughout the south, we call any soda “Coke” – no matter what it is. But oooooooh noooooooo, I “had to be imagining it because that doesn’t make any sense.” Although in some restaurants here, you can order “Yeah, just a coke” and the wait staff ask “Oh – is pepsi ok?” *pause* Um…. yeeeeeeeeeees? *sigh* You can always tell who moved to texas and who was born here, just by asking the coke question.

    Oh yeah, and as for the sprite/7 up thing…. for the most part, we use those words as the generic word. You can ask for “sprite” or “7up” and they’ll bring you what they have – either sprite or 7up – for some reason they aren’t specific.

  12. wow, that’s amazing!

  13. Very cool link, Kris. I’m a coke talker in a pop region myself. You can take the girl out of the south…

    I remember going to Canada when I was in high school and asking for soda and getting soda water, no sugar, no flavor.

    I was laughing at the “other” category. What’s other? (“Cola” I suppose, but that’s too specific to brown, caffinated, carbonated beverages).

  14. There are some weird regional “others”, I think. Like apparently the real Southies from Boston say “tonic”. Back me up here, Reen…

  15. yes, “tonic” is the real bostonian term for soda. but only the old fogies use it these days.

  16. Um. We do call it pop in the uk, well in Wales we did/do anyway.

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