NAME GAMES

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The age-old debate over what to call a soft drink appears to be, well, a pop-up. Thirty-eight percent of Americans refer to effervescent beverages as “soda� and another 38 percent call it “pop,� according to an informal Internet poll of more than 100,000 individuals. There is also a sizable minority (19 percent) who refer to carbonated beverages merely as “Coke� — even when it's a Pepsi. The ongoing survey, which began eight years ago as a college project by students enrolled at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, and at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore., asks visitors to the site (www.ugcs.caltech.edu/~almccon/pop_soda/) to enter the ZIP code for the town they grew up in and the term they use for soft drinks. Respondents' votes are then placed on a map as colored dots. Researchers have found wide linguistic variation by region. For instance, “Coke� is most often used in the South, “pop� in the Midwest and “soda� in the Northeast and Southwest. Interestingly, Missouri and Wisconsin (the St. Louis and Milwaukee areas, in particular) are islands of “soda� afloat in a sea of Midwestern “pop.�

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