Dialect Topography


Using the on-line Dialect Topography databases, you can find out what people say in different parts of Canada. Below are some specific examples of what you can do.
  • Please note that some examples take time to load.
  • Each example has a difficulty rating that suggests an appropriate Tutorial. [Advanced] ratings require skills beyond those that are currently covered by the tutorials.

You can request summaries and breakdowns of what people say in tabular form.
Bar Graphs
You can request bar graphs that show what people say, according to their social characteristics.
Apparent-Time Graphing
You can create line graphs that show what people say, according to their age group.
You can generate maps that show what people say in the Golden Horseshoe and Ottawa Valley.

Tables (Examples)

Regional Report for Ottawa Valley
You can request an overview of how people answered the questionnaire in any project region. In this example, every response for every question from the Ottawa Valley database is shown, as well as the breakdown by social characteristics. [Basic]

Individual Record #1515
You can view individual questionnaires, and all the responses given by a specific person. This example is the record for #1515: a woman from Scarborough, Ontario, age 20-29, from the Golden Horseshoe 1991 database. [Intermediate]

Pronunciation of lever in Quebec City, by Education (Including Null Reponses)
You can request specific questions from specific databases, and also include breakdowns by social characteristics like age, sex, social class, etc. This example shows how people in the Quebec City sample pronounced the word lever, as well as the breakdown by educational level. You can see that 9 people did not give an answer to this question. (Ignore the Regional Comparison functions in the purple box at the end of the page, for now.) [Basic, Intermediate]

word for someone who studies too much, by Social Class (excluding Null Reponses) in the Eastern Townships
You can request tables that recalculate percentages by omitting people who did not give a response for the given question. This Eastern Townships example shows a breakdown by social class for the question, What do you call someone who studies "too much" and tries very hard to impress the teacher? You will see that the first table shows that 44 people did not answer this question. The second table shows the percent calculation without the null responses. [Basic]

word for exercise shoes, by Age (including Null Reponses) in Toronto
You can request tables that target specific subregions. For example, Toronto is a subregion of the Golden Horseshoe. This example calculates all the results from the subset of respondents from Toronto (Golden Horseshoe 1991) with a breakdown by age, for the word they use to describe exercise shoes. [Intermediate]

Bar Graphs (Examples)

Past tense of dive (Q34) in Golden Horseshoe 2000 (Canada), by Occupational Mobility Index (Including Null Reponses)
You can graph the top response for a question, with breakdown by an independent variable. This Golden Horseshoe 2000 (Canada) example shows a breakdown by Occupational Mobility Index, and graphs the top responses for the past tense of the verb dive (Q34). [Basic]

Preposition used with different ____ (Q1) in Golden Horseshoe 1991 (New York), by Sex (Including Null Reponses)
Or, you can graph the top two response for a question. This Golden Horseshoe 1991 (New York) example shows a breakdown by Sex, and graphs the top two responses for the question, Our house is very different _____ yours (Q1). [Basic]

soft drink in Quebec City and Eastern Townships by Regionality Index
This example shows Regionality Index, where 1 indicates indigenes and 7 indicates interlopers. (These terms are explained in detail elsewhere; you can ignore them for now.) This bar graph shows that the term soft drink is used most by people indigenous to Quebec City and Eastern Townships, with interlopers having a lesser preference for the same term. [Intermediate]

Apparent-Time Graphing (Examples)

Pronunciation of Tomato in Montreal
You can graph the different responses people gave for a single question in a single region, according to their age group. In this example, the pronunciation of the word tomato in Montreal shows that the younger respondents prefer to pronounce AT in tomato like [eight]. [Intermediate]

Cross-Regional comparison of Q19 - [supper]
You can determine what percentage of people say a given word in different project regions, by age. In this example, the word supper in six different parts of Canada is graphed, and the graph shows that in all regions except Ottawa Valley, the younger generations seem to have a preference for using the word supper as compared to the older generations. Note that the statistical significance of these results must be independently calculated. [Intermediate]

Six Changes in Progress in Ottawa Valley English
You can graph up to six different variables by age for a given project region. In this example, one lexical and five pronunciation variants have been plotted for Ottawa Valley. [Intermediate]

Six Changes in Progress in New Brunswick English
As above, this example shows the same six variables plotted for New Brunswick (using the current results from the database still in progress). This graph can be compared to the Ottawa Valley graph. It appears that pronunciations in New Brunswick are more uniform across the age groups than Ottawa Valley. This and other observations can then be investigated in more depth. [Intermediate]

Mapping (Examples)

Gradient Map of Wedgie in the Golden Horseshoe (JPEG)
You can request maps of what people say in the Golden Horseshoe and Ottawa Valley. This example shows a gradient map, where higher percentages of respondents who say wedgie are shown in a darker shade of red. [Basic]

Colour Map of Calm like [Sam] in Ottawa Valley (JPEG)
You can request colour maps as well. In this Ottawa Valley example, the proportion of people who pronounce calm to rhyme with [Sam] is shown by different colours like a topographical map. [Basic]

Gradient Map of Couch in the Golden Horseshoe by Age (animated GIF)
You can also request maps that are broken down into age groups. With some extra effort, these JPEG files can be converted into an animated GIF, as in this example. Or, you can incorporate each picture into a PowerPoint presentation or slideshow. [Advanced]