Dialect Topography

About Dialect Topography

Dialect Topography

Dialect Topography is a research project that investigates what English words people use in Canada, as well as regions of the United States that border Canada. The project is directed by Professor Jack Chambers of the Department of Linguistics at the University of Toronto. The databases are hosted by CHASS (Computing in the Humanities and Social Sciences). For more information, visit the links below. (Use the Back button on your browser to return here.)

How to use this site

This website is the on-line resource for the Dialect Topography project. When publishing on the basis of these data, cite the Dialect Topography project as the source, and include the address of this website.
  • First-time users will find the Orientation unit a good introduction to the website.


  • Visitors will find the following basic functions most useful:
    • Questionnaire is a master version of the questions;
    • View Results (Gold):
      • Question by Region displays (and graphs) all responses for a single survey question in a chosen project region;
      • Regional Maps is a function that displays (and maps) the percentage of people in specific subregions who say a certain word or phrase.
      • Regional Report is a function that shows a tally of all responses in a chosen project region;

    Go to Basic Tutorial for a training session in the use of these functions.


  • Researchers interested in working with the data in more depth may find the following advanced functions useful:
    • Request Data is a function that lets you download the databases in spreadsheet form;
    • View Results (Silver):
      • Individual Records by Index allows a single survey (selected by a unique ID) to be displayed;
      • By Subregion displays all responses for a single survey question in a chosen project subregion.

    Go to Intermediate Tutorial for a training session in the use of these functions.


On-Line articles on Dialect Topography

(Use the Back button on your browser to return here.)

Current Status

This site currently uses PHP3 and MySQL. Please address all coding and database questions to Dr. Tony Pi.

As of January 5, 2006, the following databases are complete:

  • Golden Horseshoe 1991 [1015 records (Canada = 935, New York = 80)]
  • Montreal [589 records] (updated December 30, 2002)
  • Ottawa Valley [681 records]
  • Quebec City [307 records]
  • Greater Vancouver [533 records] (updated January 5, 2006)*
  • Western Washington [189 records] (updated October 31, 2005)*
  • Eastern Townships [404 Canadian records, 146 Vermont records] (updated May 6, 2003)
  • Golden Horseshoe 2000 (Canada) [825 records] (updated May 6, 2003)
  • Golden Horseshoe 2000 (New York) [394 records] (updated May 6, 2003)
  • New Brunswick [758 Canadian records, 107 US border region records] (updated October 8, 2003)
Researchers interested in adding further databases in other geographical regions are welcome to contact Professor Jack Chambers.

Update (Aug 3, 2004)

Update (May 11, 2004)

  • Updated website to access new US/Canada features

Update (April 28, 2004)

  • Added new Eastern Townships data
  • Corrected Montreal data format to remove quotation marks
  • Separated US data from ET and NB databases

Update (February 21, 2004)

Update (October 8, 2003)

  • Added new New Brunswick data

Update (May 6, 2003)

  • Added new New Brunswick and Eastern Townships data
  • Removed data from Golden Horseshoe 2000 (Canada and New York) from respondents over age 29, to conform with research methodology. For information on these extra respondents, please contact the Director.