The Great Pop vs. Soda Controversy

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue May 22 19:49:56 UTC 2007

At 3:04 PM -0400 5/22/07, Laurence Horn wrote:
>At 2:36 PM -0400 5/22/07, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>>I'll have to experiment in the Boston metro area:  "What flavors of
>>tonic do you have?"  Or, if there are still soda fountains these
>>days, "Can you make a cherry tonic for me?"  The respondents will all
>>undoubtedly be under 21.  Especially during the summer.
>I remember posting some years ago of my delight in noticing that the
>large refreshment stand in the middle of South Station in Boston
>listed its soft drinks under the generic category label
>I fear that that sign and very possibly the refreshment stand itself
>are no longer extant.

after some delving, I turned up that prior post--it's older than I thought:

Date:         Wed, 6 Dec 1995 09:41:01 EST
Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at UGA.CC.UGA.EDU>
From:         Larry Horn <LHORN at YaleVM.CIS.Yale.Edu>
Subject:      Re: pop and soda

Rudy Troike worries,

>         Virginia Clark's report on the demise of "tonic" is a devastating
>blow (especially when coupled with the loss of "Chesterfield") to the
>linguistic lore of all our American English courses. Can anybody else in
>the Boston area confirm this? Say it ain't so!

I can't help with chesterfields, but I can reassure Rudy and anyone
else concerned that the reports of the demise of superordinate
"tonic" are at least somewhat exaggerated.  South Station in Boston
has a large menu board over its main snack bar at which it lists
"coffee", "iced tea", "milk", and "tonics" (I seem to recall an
itemized sublist under the last, featuring the usual colas and root
beers and the like).

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