Pop, Soda Or Coke? It's A Vernacular Battle

Do you call it pop, soda or coke? Melissa Block and Robert Siegel have more on the regional battle over soft drink terminology.

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Well, now, Melissa, we've been calling it soda here, which may have some of you in other places yelling at us, it's not soda. It's pop. Or if you're from the South, you may call it Coke. You may use that to describe any carbonated beverage.


well, Robert, you know that I am from New York like you are, and it tastes like soda to me.

SIEGEL: Me, too, but this divides America like few other questions. Just ask Luanne von Schneidemesser, senior editor at the Dictionary of American Regional English at the University of Wisconsin.

LOUANNE VON SCHNEIDEMESSER: They call more about that question than any other.


BLOCK: Yeah, von Schneidemesser says the divide is often clearly regional. Soda in the Northeast, pop in the Upper Midwest. But there are exceptions. Eastern Wisconsin bucks the Great Lakes trend, Robert, and goes with soda.

SIEGEL: Way to go, Milwaukee.

BLOCK: Right. But the soft drink battle lines are never static. Von Schneidemesser says the term Coke appears to be migrating northward.

SIEGEL: Really? In New York, we won't hear about a soda ban, but a Coke ban?

SCHNEIDEMESSER: Oh, it will probably be a couple of decades, but you might.

BLOCK: Well, just make sure you buy it in a 16-ounce cup or smaller.

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