Speaking American by Josh Katz

I happened to see this book while browsing the new book selection at my local library. It’s full of fun maps and I knew Mr. Curiosity would love it as much as I did. In fact, he could barely make it out of the library, he was so busy flipping through it.

Subtitle: How Y’all, Youse, and You Guys Talk: A Visual Guide

Published: 2016

Genre: nonfiction linguistics

Length: 203 pages

Setting: the U.S.

Summary: The book is full of maps showing regional variations in pronunciation or names of things. It also has guides to sounding like someone from a specific state or city. It is broken up into five sections – how we live, what we eat, how we sound, where we go, and things we see. Each map gets an introduction, and some get broken down into detailed maps, with a discussion of the source of the different terms.

Final thoughts: This is an awesome book to flip through. I must admit, I haven’t read the sections on how to pretend you’re from [place], because I’m too busy pouring over the maps. I’ve seen some of these maps before, most notably the pop vs. soda vs. Coke map (follow that link and you can add your data to the map). Here’s some examples from the book:

What do you call that big road?

What do you call that big road?

How do you say "pecan"?

How do you say “pecan”?

How do you call a group of people?

How do you call a group of people?

There’s probably 50 different maps in the book, and I find them all absolutely fascinating. Of course, for several, I had to think very hard about where I fit on the map (which pronunciation for pecan is the one I use? Do I call them lightning bugs or fireflies? Now I can’t remember!!). That’s part of what makes this such a fun book! This would make a great book to just put on your coffee table for people to pick up and glance through when they sit down.

Title comes from: the topic from the book, and one of the maps (shown above)

Reading challenges fulfilled: none, since I haven’t actually read all the text, just flipped through the book looking at the maps.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or subtitle to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!


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