three questions to find out where someone is from

Grant Barrett grantbarrett at GMAIL.COM
Wed Oct 24 01:21:42 UTC 2012

It's a stunt we've seen in books, movies, and television (usually by British actors), but I've got a radio show listener who wants to know if it really can be done.

In a casual, non-fieldwork situation -- a party, a bar, public transportation, etc. -- what would you say or ask in order to get someone to reveal their particular dialect, and, therefore, their likely point of origin -- without them being aware of what you're up to? Limit it to just three questions/conversation starters, if you can.

I have a few ideas what might work, at least in the US, but I'll hold back pending responses.

Grant Barrett
grantbarrett at

The American Dialect Society -

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