Are German-American relations in a critical state? If public opinion surveys are anything to go by, perhaps so – at least according to Germans. While Americans generally still hold on to a positive image of Germany, the same cannot be said for the way most Germans view the United States. A jointly conducted poll by the Pew Research Center and the Körber-Stiftung revealed late last year that while “three-quarters of Americans see relations with Germany as good,” nearly “two-thirds of Germans (64%) see relations as bad.” More alarmingly, the New York Magazine quotes a survey conducted by YouGov revealing that Germans view President Trump as “a greater threat to world peace than any other head of state” – a noteworthy distinction, especially in light of the existence of other controversial leaders, such as the likes of Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin.
Now that the national holidays of both Canada (July 1) and the United States (July 4) are upon us, it’s time to check how well you, our readers, know both countries. In my seminar, “Introducing North American Studies,” I’m always pleased with how much my students know about the States and, at the same time, shocked at how little they know about Canada. Let’s see if you fare better….
We know that not all American English is the same: Southerners love to talk about sipping ‘coke’ while drinking a sprite; New Yorkers talk about their pie while eating at a pizzeria; and Bostonians love talking about plenty, but no one has understood them since the 1800s.
Even though these dialects might not be as distinct as those of the British Isles, American English still has plenty of differences that are – as with almost every language – increasing. In fact, these variations are not always noticeable right away. An Iowan might not realize that newscasters are from somewhere else until they keep referring to ‘law-yers’ and not ‘loy-yers’.
So how do Americans really talk? In 2002, Professors Bert Vaux and Scott Golder set out to answer this question and developed a survey of over 120 questions in order to determine who pronounces what, how, and where.
But why just read about it? Take The New York Times’ dialect challenge yourself.