Carbonated beverages

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Mon Sep 2 21:40:21 UTC 2002

So limited (Chicago) is Mike's experience that he believes that "soft
drink" is only a written form (or an "explanatory" one for non-native

If he would get in his old VW Peace bus and drive south of
Indianapolis (where he could even find that Bar-B-Que is not a
synonym for "cookout" or "grill"), he would discover otherwise.


>I filled out your Web survey on the great "Soda versus Pop" debate.
>Like all normal human beings, I say "pop".  (I am aware, however, that
>there exist a few pockets where environmental deprivation has led to
>linguistic degradation. I have even heard that in the Greater East Coast
>Megalopolis there are a few sociopaths who still use "soda" as a generic
>for such beverages, but I prefer to believe this to be an urban legend.)
>I was born and raised primarily in Chicago, and speak Leonard
>Bloomfield's S.A.M.E. (That's Standard Average Midwestern English, a
>highly endangered language no longer taught in schools. There seem to be
>no native speakers of S.A.M.E. who were born after World War II.)
>I cam't resist additional comment.
>1.  God invented English so Moses would cite the 10 Commandments in a
>form King James would find suitable for publication.  God considered
>adding an 11th commandment, but he'd already established the decimal
>system by giving Adam ten fingers.  The proposed text of the 11th
>Commandment was "Thou shalt not call a beverage a 'soda' unless it
>contains ice cream."
>What a pity that Adam, as First Man, couldn't have received the mutant
>gene for twelve fingers.  That would have given us the Duodecimal Do's
>and Dont's, leaving room for soda on the side -- AND a Commandment that
>any Chicagoan can tell you is as important as the Ten Moses got on Mount
>"Thou shalt not put catsup on thy hotdog."
>(Those who speak heathen non-Chicagoan may need to substitute such
>barbarisms as "ketchup", "weiner", and the like to come to a full and
>proper understanding of this commandment, which also applies to kilbasa
>and its relatives. The Bratwurst Rule is so widely understood that no
>sane person would think of contaminating a brat with anything but beer.
>Sauerkraut optional.)
>2.  Your list of alternatives is too short.  It's a shame to reduce it
>to pop, soda, coke, and "other". The residual category makes it
>impossible to note the individuality of the following, inter alia:
>TONIC  Boston localism. (This creates the necessity for stodgier members
>of the MIT and Harvard faculties to find a non-ambiguous term for the
>beverage often used to dilute gin. Frequent substitute: "it".)
>PHOSPHATE   An unbottled carbonated beverage that must be freshly mixed
>at a "soda fountain" (q.v.).
>SELTZER  Originally N.Y., but widely diffused as a traditional
>accompaniment to Passover seders. Seltzer comes in many flavors.
>Unflavored seltzer may also be called "soda water".  (Also see "two
>cents plain".)
>DR. PEPPER  Attested from Shannon County in the Missouri Ozarks, but may
>have wider distribution.  (Note that "Dr. Pepper" formerly might have
>been offered as an alternative to Greazy Dick beer.)
>SODA POP  Used only by ad-writers and other non-native speakers of
>American English.
>SOFT DRINKS  (usu. plural) Although much used in written communications
>such as menus and signs on lunchwagons, this phrase is only spoken aloud
>when dealing with non-native speakers.
>3. I don't object categorically to your "other" classification. There
>are several terms (e.g., "fizzwater") that are so statistically
>insignificant that they would entirely disappear from your data reports
>unless combined into a residual "other" category.
>Congratulations on your choice of a research project. It surely deserves
>the highest support.
>-- mike salovesh    <m-salovesh-9 at>      PEACE !!!

Dennis R. Preston
Professor of Linguistics
Department of Linguistics and Languages
740 Wells Hall A
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1027 USA
Office - (517) 353-0740
Fax - (517) 432-2736

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