Monday, June 16, 2008

You Say Soda, I Say Pop

While I was growing up in Michigan, the only word we used to describe a carbonated soft drink was "pop". When my older brother married a girl from the St. Louis area, I heard her refer to it as "soda", engendering funny looks. Both of these terms come from the older word, "soda pop". Later, as an adult, I briefly lived in the portion of Wisconsin where nearly everyone said "soda" (but then, they don't drink from a "water fountain"... they drink from a "bubbler"... go figure). Here in Ohio, it is mostly, "pop". Strangely enough, many folks in the South just say "coke"... even if they mean orange soda pop, or 7-Up... it doesn't matter. It's all "coke" or "co-cola" to them.

The Great Pop vs. Soda Controversy website is an attempt to map the geography of the generic word for carbonated soft drinks:

Based on an unscientific survey, the blueish areas say "pop", the yellow-greenish areas say "soda" and the redish areas say "coke". The data is gathered from participants who stop by the website and indicate their term of preference, and their "hometown".

This is similar to the method used by Common Census Map Project to map the location of fans of professional sports teams.

See United Countries of Football.

Nowadays, I find I use the term "soda" more often then "pop". I'm not sure why. Perhaps it just sounds a bit more dignified.




At Monday, June 16, 2008 , Blogger jesssse said...

i'm originally from utah, which is "pop" country. now i live in brooklyn, where everyone says "soda." i say "soda" now because i get weird looks and self-conscious when i say "pop."

At Monday, June 16, 2008 , Blogger Citizen Grim said...

One should ask what the people in the carbonated-beverage industry refer to their own product as. I've seen cans that say "carbonated beverage" on the side, but I'm pretty sure I've seen the word "soda" on the packaging as well. (On Sprite bottles/cans I think?)

At Monday, June 16, 2008 , Blogger Spudart said...

I agree with this map that most Chicagoans say "pop," even though I like to say "soda."

At Monday, June 16, 2008 , Anonymous boo said...

I'm in pop country Ohio too and have said soda as well. Not sure why either. "Soft drink" became the most used during waitressing years though.

At Wednesday, June 18, 2008 , Blogger me said...

Thanks for a great blog!

I just posted the soda map on my blog..
Is that ok?

At Wednesday, December 17, 2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up in one of the counties in NY state where "soda" was very prevalent and attended college in a county in Western NY* where "pop" was king. Someone in the cafeteria made the mistake of putting a sign near the soft drink machine with the word pop on it in reach of the students in line. It soon became covered with writing: pop crossed out for soda crossed out for pop, etc.

One pop proponent tried to use the argument, "so what do you call an ice cream soda?" I said, "think about that for a minute. Notice it's not called an ice cream POP!" Those on the soda side also liked to say "Pop is your grandfather." Funny to stumble across your blog post and remember all that! :)

*What do you want, they're Bills fans, haha! I'm a Giants fan, myself...well maybe I should get into the football on the football map comments

At Wednesday, December 17, 2008 , Blogger Cartophiliac said...


Great story. Thanks for sharing it.


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