America’s a huge country, with countless regional differences, by city and state and region. This is clear in our food, politics, music, holiday movies, and, perhaps most prominently, in our language—just try saying “yins” outside of Pennsylvania for proof. An interesting project on Quartz accumulates data from billions of tweets to compile a list of the 100,000 most popular words in English, and, thanks to an interactive map, lets you figure out exactly where people use words like “shithead” and “fucking” and “goddamn” the most.
For example, along with “yins,” a sort of regional variant on “y’all,” the word “dickhead” is immensely popular in Pennsylvania.
“Fuck” is popular throughout California, southern Arizona, and New Mexico, whereas “fucked” and “shit” are more popular in the swath from eastern Texas up through the coast.
“Hell” is popular through the deep south; “goddamn” is much more northern.
Strangely, “motherfucking” is smoking hot in eastern Montana, but not the corresponding “motherfucker,” which has much more scattered usage.
One could, theoretically, use this vast set of data and its corresponding map to investigate something besides swear words, which is vaguely suggested by the map itself, which offers thought-starters for foods, meals, and dialects by region, but fuck that. The definitive epithet of 2016—“cuck”—does not appear on the map, but that is only because the data is taken from 2014’s tweets. Data from 2016 would, presumably, be much different.
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