Speaking American

Did you know that your answers to just a handful of questions can reveal where you grew up? In December 2013, Josh Katz released an interactive dialect quiz in the New York Times that became the most viewed page in the paper's history. Now a graphics editor, Katz harnessed the overwhelming response to that quiz to create Speaking American (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016), an extraordinary and beautiful tour through the American vernacular.

How do you pronounce “pecan”? What do you call a long sandwich with varieties of meats and cheeses? Do you cut the grass or mow the lawn?

The answers to these questions — and the distinctions they reveal about who says what and where they say it — are not just the ultimate in cocktail party fodder; they are also windows into the history of our nation, our regions, and our language. On page after page, readers will be fascinated and charmed by these stunning maps of how Americans speak as they gain new insights into our language and ourselves.

For fans of Eats, Shoots and Leaves and How the States Got Their Shapes, Speaking American is an irresistible feast of American regional speech.

Buy it from Amazon or your local independent bookstore.