Sunday, June 23, 2013

Q: What marks the "Heartland"? A: Attitudes toward pantyhose substitutes

NC State has a very interesting interactive site called Dialect Survey Maps, based on data from the 122-question survey conducted by Bert Vaux, Department of Linguistics, University of Cambridge. The web interface was coded with Shiny and deployed using the hosting service provided by RStudio.

Maps for most questions show regional differences in terminology and idioms -- e.g. in most of the US, "tennis shoes" is generic name for soft/athletic shoes, except in New England where the term "sneakers" is preferred.

But the map that caught my eye was for this statement:
  • 56. "Pantyhose are so expensive anymore that I just try to get a good suntan and forget about it."
Here's the map.  What I like is that agreeing with this statement is marks "The Heartland"  (excluding the Old South), a.k.a. "North-Middle America".  (Color code:  Blue is "acceptable" and red is "unacceptable".  Click to see larger version in a new window.)

It's interesting to see how this separates Iowa from Minnesota, Wisconsin from Illinois, North Dakota from South Dakota, and New York from Pennsylvania.

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