Weirdly Accurate New York Times Language Quiz Can Tell What Part Of Ireland & The UK You're From

Weirdly Accurate New York Times Language Quiz Can Tell What Part Of Ireland & The UK You're From

Words, beautiful words. Their mellifluousness, their sonority has beguiled us through the ages. To some, words are but a function, a necessary tool for communication; but for those who revel in them, their sounds, their shapes, their subtle nuances are an art unto themselves. There is tremendous beauty to be found in their plurality, the manifold ways in which a simple, single word can be morphed and sculpted, by region, by dialect, and by the individual.

It is innate truism of humanity that any long-standing community, or group, will eventually develop their own linguistic idiosyncrasies, be it through quirks in pronunciation, malapropisms that somehow stick, or in the development of unique vocabularIES. Languages shapes us and we are its sculptors, a symbiosis. The symbol of the Ouroboros springs to mind, the snake eating its own tail. A system that is both self-contained, self-defining and constantly shape-shifting.

Within every country, there will be distinctions between regions in language. Within these regions, there will be distinctions between towns and villages. Though this is not to say that this variety of expression is to always prove a boon. Indeed, I once heard tell of a small village in Laois where, through some quirk lost to time, everyone who lived there came to refer to their genitals as 'Colonel Regis Matterson'. "I need to wash Colonel Regis Matterson," they'd say, or, "Take me to a hospital, the dog has bitten Colonel Regis Matterson." Naturally enough, this caused the village to be slowly ostracised. People from neighbouring villages refused to marry its inhabitants and eventually the village died out due to an inevitable crisis of familial inter-marrying. Tragic.

Well, these quirks of dialect and pronounciation serve as indelible tags, as indicators of our history, where we are from, and where we grew up. The New York Times has released a British and Irish dialect quiz that, through a series of 25 questions will attempt to ascertain what part of the British Isles you are from. Given that it features the word 'gowl', it is surprisingly in depth, accurate and well-researched. You can take the quiz on their website. At the moment it gives a broad brushstroke assessment of what regions you could be from, but seems as if it will grow in specificity the more people take the quiz and then say where they're actually from at the end.


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Rory McNab

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