Talking about how we talk …

… and where we came from …

… I ran across this intriguing website today …

… the North Carolina State University Dialect Survey Maps

… the self-description of which says, “Dialect maps by Joshua Katz based on data from the Harvard Dialect Survey conducted by Bert Vaux, Department of Linguistics, University of Cambridge.

The site contains a quiz which you can take to see what how you talk … your dialect … says about where you live … or came from …

… the quiz is here … …

… and can be taken in about ten minutes.

I took it today … and found that how I talk really does say a lot about where I came from …

… as shown in the correlation map produced by my responses to the test questions:



Apparently, at least in my case, where I grew up had a much greater impact on how I talk than where I have lived for the 46 years since I graduated from college …

… and moved away from New York.

As you can see in the map, my “most similar” range of dialect locations is a very narrow band of locations in New York and New Jersey

… and the four “most similar cities” are within a relatively short distance of where I spent most of my childhood …

… in Lindenhurst, New York, on Long Island.


And, somewhat oddly, my “less similar” range of dialect locations covers all of California


… where I have lived since 1969!


For the website of Joshua Katz, which contains a lot of information about regional dialects and his “Beyond ‘Soda, Pop or Coke'”, see:

“In the Meets” — Lindenhurst High School Track & Field


Early June is a busy time of the year for personal remembrances and I’m a tad behind here, so going to catch up with a few of them today.

June 2nd was a time for reliving high school glory days … lol … it was the 51st anniversary of the day on which I ran a Lindenhurst High School record 2:05.7 for the 880 yard run. I was a junior at the time and missed most of my senior track season due to an ankle injury, so it was the highlight of my high school outdoor track career. My record lasted just one year, as my friend and teammate Dan Meehan broke it during the 1963 track season. Unfortunately, I have no photos of myself running track in high school, but do have a picture of the track record board that was published in the 1963 Bulldog, our yearbook. And one of myself and two of my teammates, Dave Polland and Jim Clark, who was my best friend in high school, also from the yearbook (check out the skinny tie!).

Lindenhurst Track Records 1963

Lindenhurst High School Bulldog 1963 Yearbook with Dave Polland

Actually, as I think about it now, it may have been Dave Polland’s record that I broke.  As I recall, the record was broken at least three times that season — once by Dave and once by Paul Busick, who was a senior that year.  Since I did it in the last meet of the season (the State Qualifiers meet), my name and time went on the record board.

My high school track and cross country coach, Carl Greenhut, was one of the most influential people in my life. Two of the primary lessons I learned from him: “Never Give Up” and “In the Meets”, his way of saying do your best when it counts the most. “The Hut”, as we called him, was also largely responsible for my going to West Point. I had given that possibility no thought whatsoever until after we ran in an invitational cross-country meet my senior year at which the then West Point plebe track and cross-county coach was the honorary starter. While we were running, Coach Greenhut spoke with him about me and set in motion the process by which I ultimately received my appointment to the academy.

Lindenhurst High School Track & Field and Cross Country Coach Carl Greenhut (early 1960's)

Lindenhurst High School Track & Field and Cross Country Coach Carl Greenhut (early 1960’s)

In 2011, Coach Greenhut was inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame of Northern California.  His entry on their website reads:

Carl Greenhut – 2011 — Our most senior inductee to date, Carl Greenhut is 88 years young. His life in sports reads like a how to make a contribution text. From Stanford and Navy baseball in the 1940’s to migrating to the east coast, where he coached high school teams in football, basketball, track and field, cross country to local and state championships. Carl served as head coach at State University at Farmingdale before returning to the west coast to begin a coaching career at Northern California’s Foothill, De Anza, Diablo Valley and Granada Colleges where his instruction to over 3,000 adult students earned him the title of Bay Area’s best golf instructor. Carl is author of numerous articles on fitness and golf. Carl received the Johnny Walker International Hole in One Award on the 175 yard 18th hole.

There is also a video of an interview with him on the Hall of Fame site here: