2372: Dialect Quiz
Title text: Do you make a distinction between shallots, scallops, and scallions? If you use all three words, do they all have different meanings, all the same, or are two the same and one different?
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This comic is a parody of the many online quizzes that offer to determine the dialect of American English that the user speaks. These quizzes generally contain questions about word usage, names for certain objects, and pronunciations that vary between different regions of the US. There are also quizzes about broader English dialects, but this comic focuses on commonly cited differences between American dialects.
|1||How do you address a group of two or more people?||
||Reference to a usual dialect quiz question: "How do you address a group of two or more people?" (with options often including "you all", "you guys", "y'all", etc.). Option C references the significant decrease in human interaction and social contact during the COVID-19 pandemic.|
|2||How do you pronounce "Penelope"?||
||Both the options for this are wrong, making it the first of many quiz questions it is impossible to answer correctly. Neither Option A's "PEN-e-lohp" and Option B's "pe-NELL-up" are a typical pronunciation of this name beyond mispronunciations. In English, the only correct way to pronounce this name is "pe-NELL-o-pee," which is not listed.|
|3||What do you call the scientific field that studies the stars?||
||The actual answer is Astronomy, which is not listed. Astrology is the pseudo-scientific study that includes horoscopes (often confused with Astronomy due to its similar name), Agronomy is scientific but instead studies agriculture, and Cosmetology is the study of cosmetics and makeup (with a name close to Cosmology, a branch of Astronomy).|
|4||How do you pronounce "genre"?||
|| Reference to a usual dialect quiz question: "How do you pronounce genre? ZHAHN-ruh, or JAHN-ruh?"
A majority of English speakers pronounce "genre" as either "ZHAHN-ruh" (beginning with the "zh" sound found in "treasure") or "JAHN-ruh" (beginning with the "j" sound in "justice"). Neither of these are listed, and none of the quiz's pronunciation options are common. However, they are close to other, unrelated words: Juh-neer is the way the second and third syllables of engineer are are pronounced, and Jen-er-uh is similar to generic.
|5||You pronounce "Google" with a high-pitched yelp on the...||
||Reference to general questions regarding differences in pronunciation of words. "Google" is not generally pronounced with a high-pitched yelp on either syllable.|
|6||What do you call the thing on the wall at school that you drink water from?||
||Reference to a usual dialect quiz question: "What do you call the thing you drink water out of at school? Drinking fountain, water fountain, or bubbler?" However, this question implies that schoolchildren (or at least the quizmaker) drink out of gutter pipes or drain pipes, which are used to collect rainwater and should not be drank from.|
|7||How do you pronounce the name for a short silent video file?||
||Reference to the "Gif" pronunciation debate, with people split between pronouncing it "gif" (with the hard G sound in "girl") or "jif" (with the soft G sound in "giraffe").|
|8||What do you call the baseball-sized garden bugs that, when poked, glow brightly and emit a warbling scream?||
||Reference to a usual dialect quiz question: "What do you call those small bugs that curl themselves up in a ball if you poke them?" (options including "roly-poly", "pill-bug", "potato bug", "doodle bug", etc.). However, there are no common "baseball-sized garden bugs". May also be a reference to what "potato bug" means to people in the eastern part of the United States and what it means to people in the western part of the United States.|
|9||What do you call the misleading lines painted by disgruntled highway workers to trick cars into driving off the road?||
|| Reference to the fact that many quiz questions ask about road features, such as "verge/berm/parking strip/curb strip" and "roundabout/traffic circle". However, these particular road lines, if they have ever been made, aren't common enough to warrant different names.
This also may just be a dig at Delaware.
Misleading lines on the road were also mentioned in 1958: Self-Driving Issues.
|10||What do you call the blue-green planet in the outer Solar System?||
||This question references the two common pronunciations of Uranus: "UR-ah-nus" and "Ur-AY-nus" (which sounds like the phrase "Your anus", a favorite joke of little kids). It also references the fact that Uranus and Neptune are both blue-ish colored planets in the outer solar system and are often confused by people who don't know much about them. Neither Uranus nor Neptune are green, however.|
|11|| What do you call this tool?
(image of a claw hammer)
|| The only name most people would ever call this tool is a "hammer".
The last two options reference common dialect quiz answer options of "I'm familiar with this thing but have no specific word for it" and "I am not familiar with this thing." These may appear as options to questions that ask about something that might not exist everywhere, or something which many may not have a word for (for example, some areas of the United States have a name for "sunshowers," while most don't). However, it's a bit absurd for these options to be present for this question (and this question alone), as most users would be expected to know what a hammer is.
|12||What do you call a long sandwich with meats and lettuce and stuff?||
|| Reference to a usual dialect quiz question: "What do you call a long sandwich?" with options typically including "sub", "hoagie", "hero", etc.
The hot dog answer could refer to the common online discussion: "Is a hot dog a sandwich?"
|13||What do you call the scaly many-legged animal often found in attics?||
|| Another reference to the frequent appearance of quiz questions asking what users call various creepy crawlies.
This question may be referencing the fact that spiders often live in attics, but Randall's creature doesn't seem to be quite the same as a normal spider since they usually aren't scaly and don't eat lightbulbs.
|14||What do you say when someone around you sneezes?||
|| Reference to a usual dialect question on which of several words/phrases you say in response to a sneeze, with usual answers including "bless you", "God bless you", and "Gesundheit" (from the German word for 'health').
This question may also be referencing the COVID-19 pandemic in answer C (and possibly answer B). Sneezing isn't a primary symptom of COVID-19, but most people are hyper-aware of possibly contracting the disease from the people around them so sneezes are treated with suspicion and it's seen as rude to sneeze openly.
It is also possible that a person who has been able to catch a sneeze-producing condition has also caught COVID-19 and, while the sneeze itself isn't caused by it, the air and various airway fluids so forcefully projected are a possible infective vector with that little extra frisson of concern, given the current situation.
|Title Text||Do you make a distinction between shallots, scallops, and scallions? If you use all three words, do they all have different meanings, all the same, or are two the same and one different?|| Phrased similarly to common questions like "Do you pronounce the words 'marry', 'merry', and 'Mary' differently?" (options including "all the same", "all different", or "two are the same and one is different").
Shallots and scallions are both types of onions (the former somewhat resembling garlic cloves, the latter being long green/white stalks also called spring onions). Scallops (either pronounced skollops or skallops) are invertebrate marine animals similar to oysters and clams, frequently harvested for food (also what potato fritters are called in some regions of the UK and Australia). The three sound somewhat similar, but are quite different.
[Box with title at the top]
- Dialect Quiz
[Smaller subtitle underneath]
- Compare answers with your friends!
[Quiz is divided into two columns. Answers to questions are indicated by a letter followed by a closed parentheses, such as A). These letters are greyed out]
How do you address a group of two or more people?
- A) You
- B) Y'all
- C) I have not been around two or more people for so long that I can't remember
How do you pronounce "Penelope"?
- A) Rhymes with "Antelope"
- B) Rhymes with "Develop"
What do you call the scientific field that studies the stars?
- A) Astrology
- B) Agronomy
- C) Cosmetology
How do you pronounce "genre"?
- A) Gone-ra
- B) Juh-neer
- C) Jen-er-uh
You pronounce "Google" with a high-pitched yelp on the...
- A) First syllable
- B) Second syllable
What do you call the thing on the wall at school that you drink water from?
- A) Gutter pipe
- B) Drainpipe
How do you pronounce the name for a short silent video file?
- A) Animated give
- B) Animated gift
What do you call the baseball-sized garden bugs that, when poked, glow brightly and emit a warbling scream?
- A) What?
- B) Lawn buddies
What do you call the misleading lines painted by disgruntled highway workers to trick cars into driving off the road?
- A) Prank lines
- B) Devil's Marks
- C) Fool-me lines
- D) Fauxguides
- E) Delaware lines
What do you call the blue-green planet in the outer Solar System?
- A) Uranus
- B) Neptune
What do you call this tool?
[Image of a claw hammer]
- A) Banger
- B) Nail axe
- C) Wood mage wand
- D) I'm familiar with this tool but have no specific word for it
- E) I have never seen it before
What do you call a long sandwich with meats and lettuce and stuff?
- A) A long sandwich with meats and lettuce and stuff
- B) A longwich
- C) A salad hot dog
What do you call the scaly many-legged animal often found in attics?
- A) Lightbulb eater
- B) I have no special name for them
- C) I've never looked in my attic
What do you say when someone around you sneezes?
- A) "What was that?"
- B) "Oh, wow."
- C) [Quietly] "Yikes."
- The xkcd Twitter account posted a series of Twitter polls asking the questions in this comic.
- Shallots, scallops, and scallions ran against each other in 1529: Bracket
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